To put it bluntly, this film was a mess.
I don’t quite know what I was expecting when deciding to watch this film. It’s the story of a farmer, Ty Ty (Robert Ryan) who has been digging for gold on his land. The personal lives of his children coupled with this adds to the fraught tensions within the film. I was also vaguely aware that there was a novel of the same name, and judging by the novel’s plot is certainly wouldn’t have passed the Hays Code! Within the film, it shows this particularly.
Just to be pre-emptive, I’m sure there are people out there who adore this film for what it has to say about the changing American South etc. However, perhaps because I am a Brit (living in the south of England, not the American South) I can’t comprehend the enormity of the story and the societal effect of the changing South. However, the plot was all over the place which really let it down.
All of the characters involved are very flawed, and yet seem to represent a Georgia south which is wholly dependent on Southern stereotypes for its comedic purpose. The women of the story are all highly sexed and the film isn’t very subtle about it. I suppose that happens when adapting a very shocking (for its time) book into a film where the film clearly wants to show but can’t tell. The song in the opening credits of the film was good though.
MY RATING: ** / *****