This film is as close as you will come to the real way things were during the ‘Mine Wars. He first broke into the film industry as a scriptwriter, working on cheap Hollywood productions such as Piranha , The Lady in Red and Alligator among others. It is a remarkably simple morality play, but Sayles does indeed envelop it entirely. Overly stylized “folk wisdom” pours from some of the characters’ mouths. As the union recruited so the mine companies responded with sackings and evictions. It is highly appropriate, dealing as it does with a cab drivers’ strike. Once the scene is set, we are introduced to the film’s main protagonist, Joe Kenehan, a union organiser on his way to Matewan by train.

I’m not sure how to describe this, but I lived in Utah for a year, and recognize it anywhere. The attempt to break into the non-union fields produced bloody conflicts in both Colorado and West Virginia. Sign in to vote. The coal companies and most of the political machinery that fed on them and even the UMW hierarchy denied even the existence of black lung disease and refused any compensation for it. Matewan makes its point bluntly and would be an outstanding introduction of labour history for teenagersif they’re willing to pay attention. They did a fine job with the DVD

His film was not a documentary but is best regarded as a powerful fictional celebration of working class struggle and solidarity that made dramatic use of the historic Matewan mateqan. It now returned with a vengeance. The villains–including two great sneering gun thugs, Hickey and Griggs, played by Kevin Tighe and Gordon Clapp–have souls blacker than the coal.

While Sayles makes violence the issue around which the film is structured, the actual events in West Virginia reveal a different lesson. This was a disaster. On 8 November the court ordered the union to secure a return to work. Mitchell told a reporter that if the UMW army did not disperse, ‘We’d drop teargas all over the place This is the stuff of oral legend-deliberately naive and calculatedly two- dimensional. This film is as close as you will come to the real way things were during the ‘Mine Wars.


The music which accompanies the action contains authentic vernacular songs, in perfect keeping with what is in essence a true story.

The feel for both period and place is created with loving sensitivity. A large scale confrontation took place at Merrimac in May.

The marchers, who included some 2, ex-soldiers, were analhsis into disciplined units, many of them commanded by former officers from a variety of armies. Brier makes some useful points but taken as a whole he seems to be criticising Sayles for the film that he did not make rather than the one that he did.

Its locale is poetically enough a union hall.

Matewan: film and working class struggle

National action by the UMW and solidarity action from other unions analysus still have won the day. National action by the UMW and solidarity action from other unions could still have won the day.

Hillier, The New Hollywood Londonp.

My dad owned a bar there called the Silver Dollar, and he worked in the mines at one time, as did my mother and grandfather. Equally bloody was the conflict in West Virginia. I can’t help mayewan wonder if James Earl Jones was thinking “Why the hell are we making a movie about this place?? Post was not sent – check your email addresses!

By the end of they claimed a union membership of 22, out of a mine workforce of , uniting black and white, native and immigrant, in the face of the most brutal repression.

I use it in my US History classes goconnor 26 November Lewis fought off all rank and file challenges to his leadership by a strategy of red baiting, corruption, ballot rigging and gangsterism.

The tale is narrated by Davey, the boy preacher whose sheer humanity draws him into the workers’ fold. They are ambitious and every bit as lovely as this. A great history lesson! The battle lasted three days and left at least 20 men dead. For three decades now he has been making intelligent and eminently watchable movies, turning down Hollywood’s money in order to preserve his artistic independence.


It’s not a bad thing, but it is distinctive – consider the very toothy smile of the Osmond family, and the fact that “Oldham” is a fairly common Mormon name, and there you have it.

The UMW came close to defeating the mine companies and forcing union recognition on them. When Hatfield was buried in Matewan 2, mourners followed his coffin. Overly stylized “folk wisdom” pours from some of the rilm mouths. The Coal Company tried to break anapysis formation of a Union by infecting it with racism and violence.


To facilitate the ending of strike action the US government established the Bituminous Coal Commission which ordered an immediate 14 percent pay increase. I wouldn’t pee on him if his heart was on fire. Also on the train are black miners being brought in as strikebreakers and Kenehan watches as they are physically attacked by the strikers.

No one could better exemplify the ability of the union bureaucrat to face left in order to remain at the head of the movement. The stories would be about their grandfathers and uncles and fathers and mothers, and analyxis older men would tell their own stories from when they were young.

Matewan () – Matewan () – User Reviews – IMDb

However, the great dramas of human life – birth, mourning, and the never-ending struggle to matean their families – draw the women together. What of the threat of the non-union fields? He has a special skill in visual narrative continuity. Previous attempts at union organisation had ended in often bloody defeat, but in July the UMW with only 10, members called a strike in the bituminous or soft coal mines across America that brought outamalysis.

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