God's Little Acre | Chicago Reader

God's Little Acre

Erskine Caldwell's steamy 1933 novel had to wait a quarter century to be filmed and even then came out under the aegis of an independent production company. Anthony Mann's 1958 adaptation preserves the sex but adds an interesting contrast of tones: the film ranges from hillbilly slapstick (with Buddy Hackett) to a serious, detailed examination (with Aldo Ray) of the limits to happiness imposed by a small southern town. Robert Ryan contributes a memorable performance as the cracked patriarch Ty Ty, giving an Old Testament grandeur to his madness; this eccentric, dangerously open actor has seldom been used to better effect. With Jack Lord, Tina Louise, Vic Morrow, and Michael Landon.

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