Salt of the earth (Biberman;1954), successfully attempts to integrate the struggles of women, an ethnic minority and workers to such a degree it guaranteed its suppression”8278666751
Salt of the Earth is an American drama film which was written by Michael Wilson in 1954. This film was directed by Herbert J. Biberman, and produced by Paul Jarrico. It was the first movie to advance the feminist social and political point of view. The main focus of this movie is on the long and difficult strike which was based on the 1951 strikes against the Empire Zinc Company in Grant County, New Mexico. The running time of movie is 92 minutes and the movie was released in 1954 at New York City. Salt of the earth is one of the controversial movies of all time which is based on the real time incident surrounding the 1951 strike (Apercu, 2010).
The company was recognized as "Delaware Zinc," in the film and the setting of movie was held in Zinc town, New Mexico. The film defined the impact of strikes on the miners, company and the police reaction and during that time what action had been made (Hodeghatta, 2013). The neorealist style had been adapted by this movie in which the real miners and their families were shown in the film by the producers and director. It has been found that this film was blacklisted in the USA for 11 years and not shown until 1965- it has been reflected that the group of Hispanic Miners were living in the New Mexico for a long period. Esperanza Quintero and her husband and their three children were working in the company where they were provided poor sanitation facilities. The working style of the Zinc Company was very careless in which Ramon- Esperanza Quintero’s husband was working. The company was not concern about the men’s safety. After a mining accident, the miners had decided to go on strike for demanding a safety at least. Their protest protected scabs from replacing them but after 6 months of protesting, the company had attained the order successfully to remove the protesting miners from the company. At that stage, women took step in and replaced them; this action leaded many to jail before leading them to conquest (Eyben. et. al., 2013).
As per the details of the movie, there are various things to be said about the movie of Salt of the Earth. The focus will be made on the retaliation between its ideology and its structure. The issues of “sectoral” struggles are reliant on the nationalism, ethicality and feminism which have become the reason of debate for the political movements. The title of the movie “SALT OF THE EARTH” is considered as the art. The story of the film reflects the struggles of the women. In the film, these struggles were against racism, sexism and the unevaluated power of the decision class. In the film, they conflict with one another and became the issue of separate against themselves. It has been found that the major thrust of the film is towards the unified class identity (Mirosa, Wooliscroft and Lawson, 2011). But it cannot be said that “SALT OF THE EARTH” is a revolutionary film. It does not clearly support workers to take control in the context of production. If it is done, it would have been politically impossible and inaccurate as per historically. Argue could be made for the strong and democratic union capable of forcing effective condition of working from those people who knows the meaning of production adequately. It shows that the winning the single strike is not considered as the triumph for all (Hornborg, 2008). It has been researched that in the context of class struggle, SALT OF THE EARTH’s feminism, though invasive, prevents short of the radical. In the movie, Ramon comes to know about the importance of household task at the time of Esperanza’s three days in jail. But it has not been found in the film about the criticism of the nuclear family itself along with the fundamental distinguishes of labor along the line of traditional sex roles. But it is appreciated that film presents the household works child care and the sanitation along with the political issues. The film is not only shown the growth and heroism central of Esperanza. The reaction of filmgoer is dependent on the interpretive voice of him. The feminism in the film was sufficient to provoke male unionists ranging in the international union of mine (Shindler, 2014).
The structure of the film was picturized systematically but the struggle against racism is in some zone was less dynamic due to produce less conflict between the protagonists and there were a less suspense as it was expected. As it is described in the film that the role of Ramon Quintero as “Ray” and “Pancho,” was not effective, they were taunting of Ramon in the care of police and the statements were made like child mentality which was not expected. Along with the ideology defines that the film was not only depicted the “evils of racism” that is the verbal abuse and the cruel discrimination in the conditions of living and working. It also depicted the economic usefulness of racism (McCallum, 2012). Racism serves the higher authority of the company by distinguishing the workers and settled down the policy against one another (Rosenfelt, 1979). Lastly, it dynamically emphasizes the importance of tradition and the history which was varied from the culture of Anglo (Belmonte, 2013). In the entire film, the Mexican American cultures are weaved like the Spanish language. A fighting song was also picturized in the film. The film were criticized by many of people as UCLA’s Bob Rosen points out that the movie was not perfect and it had lack of dialectic common. The picture was not picturized as per traditions of an ethic or national group as both elements are considered as the strength. In the movie even the church reflects as generous, although it had been warned the women back into their shelters lest they sin. It has been found that where ethnicity is concerned, self criticism was shown in the entire film (Shaw and Youngblood, 2014). Usually, the film was made on the reliable in its interpretation about the lifestyle of the Mexican America, observing a clear pleasure in the culture without patronizing it.
The film is the example of the political issues which was correct in the point of view of some of them but ideologically it was heavy handed and uninteresting movie. Movie was made up to take different techniques such as combined approach of suspense and action. Bibremen interconnected the various aspects of daily routine life of the community of mining that was able to elaborate the hard life of the miners and the impact of it on their family. The working conditions of miners had been depicted in effective manner. Collective decision making approach had taken by the directors of the film to make difference not only the preparation of the script but all elements of the production of the film that marking an unexpected change in the context of the hierarchal collaboration that defined the feature of the Hollywood filmmaking (Biberman, et. al., 2011). There were so many roles in the film that was filled by the miners involving the male lead Ramon, rolled by unionist Juan Chacon. A highly famed superstar was appeared in the movie in the role of female lead. Her involvement in the film led to her expulsion from the US which ended the film career of her. The production of movie was effected by continuous harassment from political as well as industrial leaders. Various union personnel were disallowed to participate in the union crew. There were so many issues arise due to accomplishment of the movie. However, there were many conflicts regarding this film but it was accepted by people. The clear concepts regarding the mining workers and their families had been shown in the movie. There were dual focus given by the film which makes the Salt of the Earth a captivating and prevailing (Yin, 2009). There were not shown only running against the politics of America of the time, extensive with uncertainties of the things which is unclear socialist, but it is also connecting with the concern of the rights of women and the equality of the female, that exactly had not been recognized in film prior.
Apercu, 2010. Film Review:- Salt of the Earth (1954). Accessed on 19th December, 2017, from: https://berryapercu.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/film-review-salt-of-the-earth-1954/.
Belmonte, L.A., 2013. Selling the American Way: US Propaganda and the Cold War. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Biberman, H., Revueltas, R., Chacón, J. and Geer, W., 2011. Salt of the Earth. Independent Prod./Internat. Union of Mine, Mill & Smelter Workers.
Eyben, F., Weninger, F., Squartini, S. and Schuller, B., 2013, May. Real-life voice activity detection with lstm recurrent neural networks and an application to hollywood movies. In Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), 2013 IEEE International Conference on (pp. 483-487). IEEE.
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Yin, L., 2009. On the translation of English movie titles. Asian social science, 5(3), p.17