As part of Orem Reads this year, we are exploring the setting of Sharyn McCrumb’s novel The Ballad of Frankie Silver. The mountains and people of Appalachia have proven to be a cinematic gold mine. Learn about the people, land, and culture of this American treasure by taking a tour through the Orem Library’s selected films set in Appalachia. Here are a few of our favorites.
Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People provides a terrific overview to all things Appalachia. From the geological origins and first peoples to European settlers, environmental threats from mining and logging to a celebration of the music, art, and literature of the region. This series is not to be missed.
Loretta Young’s story of grinding poverty, hard work, determination, and talent to achieve her dream is portrayed by Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner’s Daughter. Young’s story could be the tale of many famous early country singers. This film is an example of biographical storytelling at its best. Spacek garnered an Oscar for her performance.
A film list about Appalachia wouldn’t be complete without The Molly McGuires. Sean Connery stars as an undercover operator hired by a large mining company. He is hoping to infiltrate a secret organization of miners fighting to improve their wretched working conditions. When he sees firsthand what the miners are struggling against, his loyalties become divided.
We wrap this list up with Songcatcher, a beautifully filmed story of a musicologist who makes the discovery of a lifetime while visiting her sister who teaches in a one room schoolhouse in Appalachia. She finds a treasure trove of ancient Scots-Irish ballads, handed down from generation to generation, preserved intact by the seclusion and isolation of the mountain people. As she travels to the remote areas of the region she develops a love not only for the music but also for the courage and endurance of the local people.
Written by Lori, Librarian