'Salt Of The Earth: Restored Classics'
(Rosaura Revueltas, Will Geer, David Wolfe, Juan Chacón, Mervin Williams, et al / Blu ray / NR / (1954) 2015 / Film Detective)
Overview: 'Salt of the Earth' centers on a long, difficult workers strike against a mining company in New Mexico. Ramon Quintero (Juan Chacon) fights for equity of wages as well as health and safety issues, but at home he mistreats his wife, Esperanza. When the men are forced to end their picketing, Esperanza joins the other women who demand to play a role in the strike, against their husbands wishes.
Blu ray Verdict: 'Salt Of The Earth' has a rare and beautiful honest quality seldom seen to this magnitude in pictures. Made during the height of McCarthyism in the 1950's it was produced completely by a blacklisted crew and professional cast. The film itself was banned in the U.S.A. by congress until the late 1960s.
The picture is based on a true story of Mexican-American mine workers on strike in New Mexico. It deals with the wives of the miners having to to step up and work the picket lines in place of their husbands who were legally banned from picketing. Many of the cast members were actual participants in the original strike and the leading lady was actually deported before the film was even finished.
What is remarkable about the film, which is essentially a plea for help, is how politically sophisticated it is. It would have been perfectly understandable for the filmmakers to simplify their message in the current political climate, but they hearteningly refuse to do so. Although the fascist mine-owners and lawmen are clearly villains, the film explores the tensions within the very patriarchal New-Mexican community itself. The union links workers' rights with racial equality, but the men do not extend this to women. But this is the story of a woman, a meek housewife who is transformed into an active worker, a full woman, someone with a voice and a very powerful role in society.
The story of the struggle to make this film would actually make a good film. Ironically the film is very patriotic and shows what truly makes America great; it's people. A strong man and woman's picture with a genuinely beautiful fighting human spirit. 'Salt Of The Earth' is, truly, without a shadow of a doubt, a one of a kind movie experience. This is a Full Screen, Black & White Presentation (1:33.1) restored and enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
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