Ever since his grandpa's death fifteen years ago, Ty Ty and his two sons, Buck and Shaw, have been digging holes on their farm in search for gold. A cotton farmer originally, Ty Ty Walden believes his grandfather buried a cache of gold on the family farm. Doing all of this in the name of god, Ty Ty gets rather lenient with what is his property, deeming it God's Little Acre with anything that comes from the ground going towards God's work. While Ty Ty Walden digs around for gold, his daughters and son's clash among themselves with an affair between his son-in-law Bill and daughter-in-law Griselda being the highlight. Anthony Mann's God's Little Acre is a thematically dense piece of storytelling that touches on the south's crumbling way of life, isolation, bigotry, materialism, and lust among others. Ty Ty Walden is a man who is blinded by his beliefs, searcing endlessly for this buried gold, unable to except the truth. His family has become incredibly poor due to his long search, but instead of resorting to his craft of cotton picking he follows his blind beliefs, as they constantly shift to fit his own needs. He is a shining example of human frailty, constantly convincing himself that he is getting close to the fortune no matter how many dead ends arise. The film also seems to want to capture the plight of the South's economic means. The dilapidated country lifestyle where industry and money have long since vanished is another major aspect of the film. The town around them feels barren and empty and there is a small but important subplot showing Bill's desperate attempts to seize control of and reopen the textile mill on which the entire local economy depends. The family dynamics of Warden's family are unstable to say the least, with Ty Ty single-handedly raising three hot headed sons and a daughter. No one in this group feels truly stable but the relevant relationship is between Bill and Griselda, a woman who appears irresistible to every man she encounters. The sexual entanglements and betrayals ultimately lead to tragedy and the destruction of the family entirely. Anthony Mann's God's Little Acre is a thematically sprawling tale touching on many issues, and while I can't say I fully grasped everything he was trying to say, this is a film that deserves a lot more credit and respect then it gets.
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