Thursday, December 11, 2008

No pretensions.

Given my past pretensions galore as a movie aficionado it feels good to stumble upon a non-pretensions black-and-white movie with straight forward story-telling and no fancy camera work now and again. That's where TCM is so good for my soul, mates. Yesterday morning, I happened to find there the clunkily and portentously titled Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945). It has that wonderfully versatile Romanian-American actor, Edward G Robinson, playing the part of a Norwegian farmer in Wisconsin during World War II. Martinus Jacobson is kind and considerate, very fond of his seven-year old daughter, Selma (Margaret O'Brien. He does not believe in spoiling her, though, and even makes her give away her skates, a birthday gift, to her 5-year-old best friend and constant companion, Arnold, because of her failure to share then with him. The simple story moves at a placid place and ends with Selma giving away her calf to a neighbour whose barn has burned down and thereby triggering off a flood of gifts from other members of the community. For a reason I could not fathom, this movie caught my attention and fancy and I could not stop myself from watching it till the end. An additional bonus was Agnes Moorehead in the role of Selma's mother and a simple housewife, so different from the many cynical and acerbic roles elsewhere I have always admired her for.