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As the Earth Turns

(1934 b 73')

En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the novel by Gladys Hasty Carroll, Maine farmers struggle to survive or are lured to the city.

The Polish Janowski family moves into an old barn during a winter storm. Ed visits Margaret (Emily Lowry) after she teaches school. George (Arthur Hohl) has to shoot a cow after she breaks her leg. His father Mark Shaw (David Landau) blames George for not having hay in winter. He has to give Cora's cow to George so that George's family can survive. Cora objects because that means her daughter Doris (Dorothy Appleby) won't be able to go off to school. Ed weds Margaret, and they go to Boston. Ollie (William Janney) tells Jen (Jean Muir) he may give up college. The new neighbor Stan Janowski (Donald Woods) invites Ollie, Jen, and Bunny to a birthday party. He plays the violin. During summer Jen cooks fruit in the heat and treats Ollie's blisters. Jen and Stan talk about the difference between love and being in love. George got married and had to stay on the farm. His wife Mil (Dorothy Peterson) tells Jen she is unhappy and is thinking of leaving him. Jen warns George to be nice to Mil. Jen tells Stan that doing for others is doing for oneself, and Stan tells Jen that he loves her. Doris tries to seduce Ollie; but Jen has Ollie tell Doris he does not love her. Stan's father collapses in the heat, and his mother blames Stan for bringing them to the farm.

In the autumn Stan's father gets a job as a tailor, but Stan stays on the farm alone. Little Bunny tells Jen he stayed because he loves Jen. Jen's father Mark tells Jen that Stan can live with them; but Jen wants to be sure that Stan wants to stay on the farm. Jen tells Stan that she can't marry him then. He gets angry and stops seeing her. Seductive Doris asks Stan to take her dancing. On Halloween he plays the violin at a dance, while lightning burns down the barn he was using for a house. Doris wants to go away with Stan; he agrees to take her but tells her he loves Jen. Yet Doris tells Jen that she and Stan are going to marry. At Christmas Jen learns from Ed that Stan is making money playing the violin, but he refused to sell his farmland. In the spring Stan returns; he and Jen kiss.

This is a realistic portrait of rural life during the depression in New England. Many from farming families are lured away from that hard life by the excitement and opportunities in the cities. The altruistic Jen is careful that Stan really wants to be a farmer before she commits herself to him in order to avoid the unhappiness experienced by George and Mil.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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