23 November 2020 | Falconeer
Lushly Filmed Epic of the Deep South
Those expecting an exploitative trash film might be surprised to find a competently made, beautifully filmed, serious look at the time of slavery in the South. Shot with a large budget, in "scope," and telling several interconnecting stories that come together in the end, Al Adamson has created quite an epic here. At the film's center is the fascinating love/hate relationship between slave trader Simon Legree and the beautiful slave Cassy, who Legree takes ownership of after buying her brother and having him run away. What I mean by love/hate is that Legree loved Cassy (in his own peculiar way) while Casey hated Legree, to the point of trying to take his life. Uncle Tom of the title is played to startling authenticity by John Kitzmuller, who gives an endearing and strong performance as the man that everyone loved and respected. There is a side story concerning the slave Napoleon, who flees from Legree and is rescued by a lovely white Southern girl, who nurses him back to health before they have a love affair. This film possesses a real feeling of authenticity, in the sets, the clothes and the songs of the time. Not really an exploitation film, with only a few moments of sexuality and nudity on screen, though some might be put off by the violence afflicted on the slaves, some of which is difficult to watch. Of course if it was an easy watch it wouldn't be very realistic, as there are some things that shouldn't be whitewashed. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was impossible to find until recently, when a bluray became available that features a stunning, widescreen, although somewhat washed out print of this rarely seen, utterly fascinating historical document.