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GONE TO EARTH

UK, 1950 (MIFF 1986, An Introduction to Michael Powell)

Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Hazel Woodus a Shropshire primitive living with her wild father (a harpist and coffin maker) at the end of the last century is more devoted to her pet fox than she is to human society. She is pursued by a lascivious local squire Jack Reddin of Undern, and although she resists his advances. Jack's image continues to haunt her as the embodiment of unrealised pleasures She marries an ineffectual clergyman, who loves her for her soul and makes no demands upon her body. Hazel meets Jack in the woods, where he seduces her and takes her back to his country mansion When the clergyman comes to reclaim her Hazel returns to married life, principally because jack is mistreating her pet fox Although married bliss now seems possible. Hazel has to rescue the fox from a hunt led by lack, and goes to earth down a disused mineshaft.

This unjustly neglected adaptation of Mary Webbs Victorian rural melodrama was cut by American co-producer David O. Selznick who had mounted the project as a vehicle for his wife Jennifer Jones (This truncated version called THE WILD HEART is still screened on Australian television.) This major restoration was assembled by the British National Film Archive from the Technicolor negative.

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