1992 Labor Film Series
All films shown at the Eastman House Dryden Theatre, 900 East Avenue
Friday, October 9
AMERICAN DREAM (Barbara Kopple, US 1990, 100 min.) This controversial film documents the Hormel Company meat-packing strike in Austin, Minnesota, which turned brother against brother and left gaping wounds when it ended unsuccessfully. Shown at the New York Festival in 1990 and an Academy Award winner for best documentary in 1991, the film has led to heated debates about the role of labor unions and the relationship of union leaders to the rank and file.
Friday, October 16
BOUND FOR GLORY (Hal Ashby, US 1978, 140 min.) This epic film depicts folksinger Woody Guthrie’s legendary journey across Depression-ridden America. Beautifully photographed by Haskell Wexler, the film presents Guthrie as a politically committed singer, fighting for the rights of working people, who resists all efforts to commercialize his music. With David Carradine, Ronny Cox, Randy Quaid.
Friday, October 23
THE MOLLY MAGUIRES (Martin Ritt, US 1970, 124 min.) The Molly Maguires were members of a secret union organization in the Eastern Pennsylvania coal fields around 1876, which conducted a violent struggle against the mine owners. This film tells the story of how the Pinkerton Agency busted the union. With Sean Connery, Richard Harris, Samantha Eggar.
Friday, October 30
THE WOBBLIES (Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer, US 1979, 89 min.) “Wobblies” was the popular name given to trade unionists organized in the Industrial Workers of the World, around the turn of the century — a union with syndicalist and anarchist sympathies. The U.S. government, Pinkertons and private business used any means necessary, including murder, to suppress the union. This documentary uses found footage and interviews to illustrate the history of the Wobblies.
Friday, November 6
JOE HILL (Bo Widerberg, Sweden 1972, 114 min. English) This fictionalized biography follows Joe Hill from his native Sweden to America, where he becomes an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, a writer of songs about labor struggles, and a martyr for the cause. This rare film has completely disappeared from distribution, possibly because it is very much a product of the 1960s. With Thommy Bergen, Anja Schmidt, Kelvin Malave.
Friday, November 13
THE GARMENT JUNGLE (Vincent Sherman and Robert Aldrich, US 1957, 88 min.)
A Korean war veteran learns that his father is involved in a union-busting syndicate and tries to dissuade him without success. This fictionalized expose of the garment industry is possibly one
of the few films Hollywood ever made where the heroes are union men. With Lee J. Cobb, Richard Boone, Robert Loggia.
Friday, November 20
TROUBLE ON FASHION AVENUE (Claude Beller and Stefan Moore, US 1982, 60 min.) This hard-hitting investigative video documentary examines the current economic problems of the New York City garment industry and its ramifications for millions of people in a variety of related industries throughout the US. Merging the past and present, the documentary also offers a history of the garment industry through rare archival footage and interviews with old trade unionists.