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  • I initially watched this telefilm as a fan of Lindsay Wagner. She's faded somewhat in the public's consciousness lately, but in the late 70s and early 80s she was a big star, especially on the strength of her series The Bionic Woman. She was appealing to all as both a strong, self-sufficient woman and a haunting beauty. Meg Laurel was a perfect role for her, kind of an early Dr. Quinn. The central relationship to the film (and what makes it so special) is that between Dr. Meg Laurel, the modern, fully-trained doctor, and Granny Arrowroot (Jane Wyman), the local folk healer, who was initially resistant to the doctor's science. Excellent performances from both ensured that the film was believable and entertaining. I wish it would show up again on television.
  • I caught this movie late one night on one of the movie channels. Really, one of the best films ever. The cinematography isn't the best, but until I read about it here, I didn't know that it was a TV movie. The story is one that hasn't really been told in a movie a 100 times before; namely, a big city doctor goes to the country to school the people in the ways of big city medicine. The acting is fantastic! The character of Granny in particular is fantastic. Coming from a country setting where what we would call "holistic" medicine is practiced, I know that her character of wily old lady who fights to keep her "backwoods" ways against a flood of new ideas is spot on. Lindsey Wagner is also great. Her sense of outrage at the fact that these people won't understand how stupid and backwards their superstitious ways are is very cogent in today's overly religiously sensitive times.
  • In 1932, in Boston, the tough Harvard graduated Dr. Meg Laurel (Lindsay Wagner) lashes out at the corrupt and powerful Judge Adamson (Andrew Duggan). Her husband Dr. Thom Laurel (John Reilly) is worried with the damage that the judge may cause in his career and Meg decides to leave him in Boston and return to the orphanage where she was raised to visit her friend Effie Webb (Dorothy McGuire. She learns that the orphanage is closed and Effie has returned to her hometown Eagle's Nest in the mountain. When Dr. Laurel arrives at Effie's home, she finds that her friend is on her deathbed under the care of the healer Granny Arrowroot (Miss Jane Wyman). Dr. Laurel is unsuccessful in her attempt to save Effie that asks her to stay to help her people with her medical knowledge. Soon Dr. Laurel finds an illiterate and backward people that appraises traditions and belief more than the modern medical techniques. Further, she goes against Granny and is not accepted by the community. But both Meg and Granny discover that they have much to learn with each other.

    'The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel" is a wonderful film from the late 70's released only on VHS in Brazil. The story of intolerance is perfectly developed, showing Dr. Meg Lauren as a stubborn idealist young woman that learns that even backward people have lessons to teach her. Her intention to help people is noble and praiseworthy. But the performances are top-notch, and it is difficult to highlight individual performance. Lindsay Wagner in one of her best performances and Jane Wyman are magnificent and John Woods is unrecognizable in the role of the Sin Eater. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "A Incrível Jornada da Dra. Meg Laurel" ("The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel")
  • Synopsis: In the 1920s-30s, Dr. Meg Laurel, a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, goes to Boston and becomes a doctor. To make a long story short, she returns to the mountains, thinking to be of service to the natives. She clashes with, learns from, and teaches a few things to the local Granny woman who provides what little medical care the people of the community receive until Dr. Meg arrives. The people of the mountains fear her and her "brought-on" medical treatments and medicines. They call her "evil" and "wicked" and threaten her repeatedly with "hayullfar" (hellfire, that is). Lots of shotguns are bandied about. It's a mighty struggle for all involved.

    Opinion: The story is intriguing. Do not, however, watch this movie if you are truly interested in Appalachian culture. It would have been about 10x more intriguing if the mountain people had been - with the exception of the Granny woman, played excellently by Jane Wyman, and delightful child actress playing a girl named Gloria - even slightly more believable or complex. The accents come in three varieties - close, caricature, and no attempt made. The language and customs likewise. There is a ridiculous amount of behavior on the part of the mountain people predicated upon superstitions. While mountain people of the time were undoubtedly superstitious, the movie goes a little over the top with this conceit, including a bizarre portrayal of a "sin eater" (portrayed by a bearded and altogether scary James Woods, no less, who must have based his take on this role on interviews with Richard Manuel in "The Last Waltz"), one of those mythic creatures not unlike the unicorn or Bigfoot about which many theories and little evidence, at least in mountain culture, anyway, exist.

    And if you, like another sadly mistaken reviewer stated, are watching this film for scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you will not find any. Aside from a few stock horizon shots, the terrain in the movie is most definitely not that of the Blue Ridge or any other Appalachian Mountains. In fact, most of the outdoor shots bear a striking resemblance to those in the TV show "Bonanza."

    However, Lindsay Wagner is grave and honorable and lovely, and she has a gorgeous horse. Jane Wyman is steely and smart and even gets the accent right most of the time. So it's not altogether a waste of time.

    And in the essence of full-disclosure, I myself am a mountain girl!
  • What begins as what seems to be a fish out of water story becomes a tale of tolerance for others and the acceptance of that which we cannot change.

    Dr. Meg Laurel (portrayed by Lindsey Wagner) was once one of them, an Appalachian mountains resident (my mother being of the same heritage was never a hillbilly so I resent calling them that) who suffered at the hands of a "healer" while a small child.

    Fast forward to Dr. Meg as a medical doctor now living in Boston suffering nightmares of her mistreatment so long ago. Following a discussion with her husband, the decision is made to "exorcise" her demons in the form of returning to the Appalachians in order to render modern medical care to those she thought she had left behind so long ago.

    Following a rough beginning, losing much of her possessions over the edge of a ridge, Dr. Meg attempts to incorporate herself into the society that by its very nature refuses to accept her. She is given constant reminders of the life that could have been hers but for the grace of God. She attempts to care for a man who should have died but was somehow saved by Granny (portrayed by Jane Wyman) and has a greater time of convincing these people her knowledge and skill as a medical practitioner is really the best way to go.

    Dr. Meg is also witness to a wedding between a middle-aged man to a child who is now responsible for raising children not much younger than herself. The fear and concern she shows of this arrangement is never more evident than when the child tells her that at the tender age of about twelve or thirteen she was becoming concerned she would be an "old maid".

    She eventually develops a "friendship" of sorts with Granny who she trusts enough to care for her when she develops a cough. To be sure, the treatments Granny utilizes have always been viable for someone with an understanding of nature and even acupuncture, but as a doctor, Dr. Meg has a difficult time accepting this. However, Granny is witness to some miracles of "modern" science as well and comes to see that her way isn't always the best way either.

    So as not to give away any ending, the synopsis should stop here but to say this is definitely a movie worth seeing, if for no other reason than to see the beautiful scenery that is so like the Appalachian Mountains. The best reason to watch it is because it gives a wonderful look inside a society that refuses to change, unless it's kicking and screaming, and refuses to allow outsiders in, unless there's a good reason to allow it.

    If you like this movie, watch "Songcatcher" with Aiden Quinn and Janet McTeer. Though the premise is different, the basic lessons are the same.
  • The way I remember it, Meg Laurel was born in the Appalachians and suffered medical mistreatment from the local backwoods doctor. Later she became a successful woman doctor in the city. But she has nightmares of being mistreated in the Appalachians and figures she has no choice but to make a journey back to the Appalachians to provide modern medical care and make amends with the past that is haunting her. It seems that on the wagon trip up the mountains from the railroad, some of her stuff falls out of the wagon and down a cliff. She doesn't get along well with Granny Arrowroot. Most local people don't have anything to do with her, either. Eventually she and the hillbillies come to terms. She becomes ill herself and needs something that went over the cliff.