The Hired Hand
The script is a grateful construction on the Œdipus theme, the roving bachelor dies in the foot-pierced husband, who in turn perishes to liberate the captive title character.
Never have so many ideally fatuous remarks been exercised on a movie, chiefest among which is Stanley Kaufmann’s (cited by Halliwell), “When a film begins with a ‘lyrical’ shot, your heart has a right to sink.”
Hathaway’s True Grit has the precedence in period evocation, here the dialogue serves another function in the farmer’s wife as the poetic voice of a tintype. The primary effort controls the visual field as a determination of the new and the absolute way back when.
The spectator will ultimately recognize the basis of the work as Rod Serling’s “The Rip Van Winkle Caper” (The Twilight Zone, dir. Justus Addiss), where the significance is even more explicitly akin to Robert Browning’s poem, “Gold Hair”, while Matthiesen and Fonda rather affirm more closely an understanding of Kafka’s “The Man Before the Law”.
The subtle, veiled point of these glibly understated adventures leaping over a future “eco-crisis” into a barren world of youngsters who cannot repopulate is there are no short cuts.
Even more mysterious are allusions to other teleplays of the series, “Passage on the Lady Anne”, “Little Girl Lost”, “Execution”, “Spur of the Moment”, “The Long Morrow”, and so on.
The conclusion is coincidentally related to Fleischer’s Soylent Green.