God’s Little Acre (1958)

God’s Little Acre (1958) Based on Erskine Caldwell’s 1933 novel of the same name, the film tells the story of a dysfunctional 50’s era farming family in the backwoods of Georgia obsessed with sex and wealth. The head of the family, Ty Ty Walden (Robert Ryan), obsessively searches for a cache of gold his deceased grandfather supposedly buried on their land. Meanwhile, his farm suffers from years of neglect.

In it’s day, the film was as controversial as the novel, as both book and film are laced throughout with racy sexual innuendo and extramarital activity. When the film was first released, audiences under eighteen years of age were prohibited from viewing the film because of what was perceived to be salacious material. Philip Yordan was officially given credit for the screenplay, but it was actually by Ben Maddow. Since Maddow was blacklisted for his suspected, but unproven, Communist activities during the 1950’s Red Scare, working without credit was the only way he could successfully submit screenplays.

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