And So They Live. This 1940 documentary shows us the lives of the poor mountain people in rural Kentucky. It focuses mainly on one poverty-stricken family that lives in a log cabin, farms corn on depleted soil, and eats a diet consisting mainly of biscuits, cornbread, fat pork, potatoes, wild berries, and little else. Their lives are shown with little narration, and the visuals tell the story. What narration there is focuses on how the curriculum taught in the one-room schoolhouse the children go to has little relevance for them, and how necessary subjects that could improve their lives, such as improving the soil through crop rotation, or milking the goats that they keep, are not even mentioned. The most striking scene, though, is at the end of the film, when the father of the family gets out his banjo and plays a ditty. One of his young sons, who couldn’t be more than 6 years old, dances a jig to the music. His father is so pleased with his son’s dance that he rewards him with a cigarette, which the boy promptly lights and smokes like an experienced smoker. The striking images of poverty and rural life in this film are unforgettable, and give the film lots of historical interest. Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *** (mostly for the child smoking scene; otherwise it would get an N/A). Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

Popular posts from this blog