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This is an extremely dumb movie. The acting is good, but the entire movie is terrible. It simply cries out "reading assignment" for school. I was never assigned this book but I still don't like the idea that young students are forced to read these tragedies. This, for some reason, was presented in an art class. Perhaps it is because the woman (played by Jane Fonda) makes wooden dolls for a living.
This is about as relevant to art class as showing CSI in science class.
This film is about a large family, one of which at the very beginning of this film that needed to be Trached...was choking and the mother cut in the child's throat and stuck a straw inside. The Dollmaker is set in The Great Depression where some hillbillies from Kentucky move to find work. The husband gets a job with the auto union. Things are just as bad living in "The City" because they are living in a factory shack by a large amount of railroads. The guy ends up going on strike, being laid off, etc. One of the woman's ways to cope is to carve out of a chunk of wood. And then a girl dies due to being run over by a train that is connecting a freight box car. The death is actually a slow and painful one. During the mother's grieving process she focuses only on carving from the wood, until she finished her carving of Jesus.
And then she begins making dolls to return home for whatever reason. She runs out of wood. Instead of Looking for MORE wood... walking around, finding a giant tree branch that has fallen, or perhaps... she uses the axe that she has, and cuts down a tree branch or perhaps an entire tree?! but no... instead, she attacks her masterpiece of Jesus wooden statue and destroys it. quite CHEERFULLY. I am surprised that this film is not banned by religious groups. This is a serious plot hole. If she had the axe to chop her statue, then why not just cut down a TREE?!
and then they return to Kentucky and continue to live unhappily ever after. She probably made a living being a famous dollmaker, but why did she not do this years ago?!
This is a dumb film and I am surprised that this was on ABC during the Star Tunnel era.