Coal Miner (downloaded from Google Video). [Category: Industrial]

This late-70s film, made by Bethlehem Steel, gives a profile of coal mining as a career. It shows a particular coal miner at home, at work, and in the community, letting him speak in his own voice about how he feels about his job, and about being a coal miner. Mostly, it’s very positive feelings about following in his father’s footsteps, making a good living and providing for his family. Later in the film, his fellow miners also talk about their experiences with mining, and again, it’s mostly very positive. Unions are not mentioned, risks are downplayed, and miners are shown living comfortably with their families in nice houses, implying good wages. Of course, this is what you’d expect by a film made by the Company. Still, the miners speak in their own words, and you get a feeling of sincerity from them, which makes the film at least somewhat believable and very interesting to watch. Most surprising is a scene of the miners cleaning up after work in a gang shower and engaging in very mild horseplay. The whole film seems pretty sanitized, yet enough sincerity comes through to make it an interesting portrayal of the life of coal miners during the late 70s.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

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