Fwd: Re: Feature films on coal mining/mining

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Wed, 9 Oct 2002 08:55:47 -0700 (PDT)

For documentaries, I'd make a beeline (what the hell is a beeline?) to
Appalshop: http://www.appalshop.org

here are a few features...

Harlan County U.S.A.
Directed by Barbara Kopple. Documents the 1973 Kentucky
coal miner's
strike against the operators of the Brookside mine and
the Duke Power
Company which resulted from the company's refusal to
honor the union's
national contract with the United Mine Workers of America.

The Molly Maguires (1970)
Directed by Martin Ritt; featuring Richard Harris, Sean
Connery, Samantha
Eggar, Frank Finlay, Anthony Zerbe, Bethel Leslie, Art
Lund. The Molly
Maguires was a secret society of militant coal miners
who battled their
exploitation by mine owners with violence,
intimidation, and sometimes
murder. Based on actual events, this gripping story is
a sympathetic and
accurate account of the Irish-American miners'
struggle. Richard Harris
plays a detective on undercover assignment for the
owners, fighting to win
the workers' trust, and finally, fighting his own
conscience. Sean Connery is
the tough and suspicious leader of the Mollies who
repeatedly tests the
newcomer's loyalty.c1998. 123 min

Directed by John Sayles. The story of a bitter clash
between union and coal
company in West Virginia in the 1920's. 100 min.

Germinal (1993)
Directed by Claude Berri. Cast: Miou-Miou, Renaud, Jean
Carmet, Judith
Henry, Jean-Roger Milo, Gerard Depardieu. Recreates the
poverty and intense struggles of striking French
coal-miners in 1884 at the
Voreux mines through the bitter toils of Maheu and his
family and Etienne, an
organizer for the miner's new union. As conditions in
the mines worsen,
Etienne convinces Maheu to organize a a miner's strike
but when the miners
finally do strike the owners send in armed soldiers to
defend the mines. 166

How Green Was My Valley (1941) Directed by John Ford
At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the
Morgans (he stern, she gentle) raise coal-mining sons
and hope their youngest will find a better life. Lots of
atmosphere, very sentimental view of pre-union miners'

The Littlest Horse Thieves (1977)
When the owner of a Yorkshire coal-mine decides to
mechanize to increase profits, the mine's pit
ponies are
scheduled to be destroyed. So, three children plan to
steal them to keep them safe. But when they're
it's up to the mine owners and the miners
themselves to
decide what's right.

Seishun no mon (1975) (may not be avail on video)
Mainly the story of Shinsuke and his stepmother, ranging
from Shinsuke's infanthood to his mid-teens. Coal
workers and the mines dominate nearly every aspect of
the life of the characters. Shinsuke's father
dies while
bravely using dynamite to rescue a group of trapped
Korean miners. Several older men attempt to help he
and his mother cope, including a kind Korean and a
Harley-riding yakuza.

The Stars Look Down (1939) Directed by Carol Reed (amazon.uk?)
Davey Fenwick leaves his mining village on a university
scholarship intent on returning to better support the
miners against the owners. But he falls in love
with Jenny
who gets him to marry her and return home as local
schoolteacher before finishing his degree. Davey
finds he
is ill-at-ease in his role, the more so when he
Jenny still loves her former boyfriend. When he
finds that
his father and the other miners are going to have to
continue working on a possibly deadly coal seam he
decides to act.

Brassed Off (1996)
In existence for a hundred years, Grimley Colliery Brass
band is as old as the mine. But the miners are now
deciding whether to fight to keep the pit open,
and the
future for town and band looks bleak. Although the
arrival of flugelhorn player Gloria injects some
life into
the players, and bandleader Danny continues to exhort
them to continue in the national competition,
frictions and
pressures are all too evident. And who's side is
actually on?

October Sky (1999)
Based on fact, this is the story of a teenager named Homer Hickam, growing
up in a
coal town in West Virginia where a boy's usual
destiny was to "end up in the mines."
But Homer had his eye on the sky and a love for
flying rockets... to the dismay of his
mine-foreman father, and the consternation of the
townsfolk generally. A misfit for sure,
he and three of his equally outcast buddies begin
making rockets, which they fly from a
patch of barren land eight miles out of town.
Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley