February 21, 2008

The Molly Maguires (Ritt, 1970)

Ritt's bleak portrait of working class immigrants chasing liberty and the American dream belongs to the golden age of American cinema that began with Bonnie & Clyde, and is far more intelligent and artfully crafted than it is given credit for. James Wong Howe's incredible scope photography of the coal mines and Tambi Larsen & Darrell Silvera's Oscar nominated art direction lend the film a sooty authenticity, and the wordless nearly 15-minute long opening sequence immediately calls to mind P.T. Anderson's There Will Be Blood. As in his best work, Ritt doesn't allow his fondness for tackling social problems to overpower the narrative. A film in serious need of critical reappraisal. IMDb listing.

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