Monday, June 30, 2008
All Mine To Give (1957)
I work in a production/media company as a proof-reader of subtitles/close captions for DVD's. American studios outsource a lot of the DVD subtitling work overseas, our offices is one of those places where they give their films for subtitling. We work on mostly American TV series and old movies. Some of them real classics both famous and rather obscure. Some of them I liked, some of them I could barely stand watching, some of them I loved. I usually don't review any of them on-line. But this particular one I'll make an exception since it is so exceptional.
All Mine to Give (Allan Reisner, 1957) is a drama said to be based on a true story about an immigrant couple (Glynis Johns and Cameron Mitchell) who set out to make a life for themselves in 1850's America. They managed to build a home and have six children. They were happy. For a while. Then tragedy strikes the family and the eldest child, a barely 12 year old boy, is taken to task to carry a heartwrenching burden.
This film is a major tearjerker. Unlike other major tearjerkers, however, the film never felt phony or overly manipulative. The story and the emotions involved all feel genuine thanks in large part to the great performances of the leads: Glynis Johns as the matriarch of the family, Cameron Mitchell as her husband and Rex Thompson, as the eldest child who gives one of the best on-screen child performances.
I would personally rank this alongside Grave of the Fireflies and Bicycle Thieves as among cinema's greatest tearjerker drama. In fact, it would be sort of accurate to describe this as an American Grave of the Fireflies. The opening scene of the boy pushing his baby sister in the snow in a sled strongly reminded me of Isao Takahata's anime masterpiece.
Apart from a few airings at Turner Classic Movies, All Mine to Give is woefully underseen. It's a good thing they'll be releasing this gem on DVD so that more people would have access to see it and discover what a classic film it really is.