Saturday, December 4, 2010

All Mine to Give

I briefly mentioned the movie All Mine to Give back in January, 2010. It wasn't on the schedule then, being a Christmas movie. It's coming up now, though; tomorrow morning at 8:30 AM ET on TCM.

Cameron Mitchell and Glynis Johns star as a Scottish couple who emigrate to Wisconsin in the 1850s. They clear a place in the woods for themselves, but some of the townsfolk don't like their slightly odd ways (evidenced by putting the hand-operated well pump inside the house -- what will they think of next?). Still, the couple has six kids together. And then, the youngest of those kids gets diphtheria. Father takes the other kids away so they won't catch the highly contagious disease, but unfortunately, he's already gotten it, and he's the only one who gets killed. Mother carries on trying to raise six children, but unfortunately, she gets typhoid, and eventually she'll die from it, leaving six orphans. The kids aren't old enough to take care of themselves, so Mother makes the oldest son promise her something: that he'll find good homes for all of the kids.

If that's maudlin enough, it gets better, or worse as the case may be. That busybody portion of the townsfolk that didn't like the immigrants in the first place decide that they should be the ones to place the children, because they're busybodies and naturally know better than the rest of us. Worse, the oldest son has to give the kids away on Christmas Eve!

It sounds highly manipulative, but All Mine to Give is actually better than that. Sure it's a sad story, but the kids here are no obnoxious Margaret O'Briens or Virginia Weidlers. As such, the story winds up more touching, when most such stories would end up in the area of being unintentionally funny. And if you don't mind making your kids cry, this is more than appropriate for the whole family.

All Mine to Give hsa been released to DVD, both individually and as part of a Christmas box set.

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