8 March 2007 | movingpicturegal
Hard Times, Good Earth
Beautifully shot, absorbing film about the close-knit Tucker clan - Sam (Zachary Scott), the handsome dad who loves being a farmer, Nona (Betty Field), a good wife and mother who always seems to look well-groomed in spite of her hard work, two really cute kids, and then there's ornery old Granny (Beulah Bondi), she of the sharp tongue and stubborn will. In a gorgeously photographed scene where they are working for hire in the bright, sunlit fields picking cotton - the couple watches as their Uncle dies in the fields saying in his last breath "Grow your own crops", and they decide to do just that. Soon they have rented a property where they can raise cotton and be their own masters, so to speak - well, the house turns out to be nothing but a broken-down, ramshackle shack, the whole place needs loads and loads of work - but one good thing" it has "good earth". Troubles ensue - trouble with the neighbors, trouble getting food, sickness troubles, weather troubles, oh brother!
Well, this is an excellent, heartfelt, and well photographed film done in an unusual, distinctive style. The actors who play the Tucker family do a good job in making this actually seem like a real family and make you want to root for them - but it is Beulah Bondi as cantankerous Granny who really steals this film for me - I really enjoyed her scenes and thought they added a little spice to this! The hardships this clan has to go through can be hard to watch sometimes, but the story is involving and the film is quite memorable.