Thursday, January 8, 2015
This is the best movie no one has ever seen. I know you've heard such talk before, but trust me on this.
It's a tale of early 20th century homesteaders in the northern Wyoming prairie. A poem of taciturn people and silence -- wide open spaces, and finding sentiment and humor in hard and tough circumstance. A world where every word said, counts.
I was one of the five people who saw this film in 1980, riveted by Rip Torn and Conchata Ferrell, most particularly. You know, Rip Torn is one of my favorite character actors. Of all actors, I most admire character actors. I even like character actors who are always the same character -- Jason Robards, for example. But Rip Torn, that's a whole different animal. He jumped into other skins every film, completely unrecognizable from one to the next.
But watching the movie recently for the second time, I couldn't get enough of Lilia Skala.
I looked her up, of course. She was 80 years or better when they shot Heartland. Among her real-life accomplishments: the first female architect in Austria, and helped her Jewish husband escape the Nazis. She and her two children made it to America some time later. Skala almost reached the century mark -- died in 1994 at the age of 98.
Heartland is available on order at Netflix, also free on Youtube. The Youtube isn't all that great because it doesn't seem to work on a computer wide-screen, and you really should get the prairie scope. But it's better than nothing. For a taste and to meet Lilia, try this -- slide to 4 minutes. On second thought, watch the whole eight minutes. It's worth your time.