Released in 1958, Anthony Mann's God's Little Acre caused a scandal in theaters and was even banned in many places. Now 50 years later, the DVD format lets viewers see what they may have missed. In 1930s rural Georgia, Ty Ty Walden and his family live on a farm, barely scraping by. Ty Ty was told by his great grandfather there's gold buried on the farm, and he's convinced it's still there. Helped out by his sons, he's been digging for 15 years without luck. The gold story serves as a jumping off point for the rest of the story, the relationships and dynamics of Ty Ty's family. Directed by Anthony Mann, this is a beautifully shot movie, in more ways than one, as the story of the Walden family develops. The relationships are real, the love and hot believable as Ty Ty tries to find the gold while also continuing to be able to live. It's not a well-known movie, but it's an enjoyable movie, if for nothing else than to see what all the scandal was about. It seems tame compared to movies now, but you can see why it caused a stir.
In what's really an ensemble cast, Robert Ryan gives one of his best performances as Ty Ty Walden, the family patriarch trying to keep his family together, all the while searching for his great grandfather's gold. Ryan pulls off the dramatic and comedic scenes equally well throughout, especially the scenes with the cross on his farm's God's little acre. Aldo Ray plays Will Thompson, Ty's son-in-law who's been out of a job for six months since a mill closed. Will married Ty's daughter Rosamund (Helen Westcott) but really loves Griselda, married to Ty's son Buck. They have a history together, and it's their scenes together that caused a stir upon the movie's release. Tina Louise of Gilligan's Island fame shows off what a good actress she is in her first movie role as Griselda, the beautiful wife of Buck who still has feelings for Will. Mann puts Louise on display throughout, and she looks more beautiful here than any of her Ginger Grant days. Jack Lord and Vic Morrow are very good as Ty's sons, Buck, the jealous husband who worries his wife doesn't love him, and Shaw, the younger son still growing up. Buddy Hackett has a funny part as Pluto Swint, a local man running for sheriff who's fallen in love with Ty's youngest daughter, Darling Jill (Fay Spain). Also worth mentioning is Michael Landon as Dave Dawson, an albino who Ty is convinced will lead them to the gold.
The DVD doesn't have any special features, but the movie looks great in a widescreen presentation, Ernest Haller's cinematography never looked better. This isn't a great movie, but it's positives heavily outweight the negatives. So for a good story with great performances from Robert Ryan and Tina Louise, check out God's Little Acre!