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Molly Maguires DVD

Your Rocktober 2005 RMC LITE* results are in!

The RMC LITE movie was THE MOLLY MAGUIRES. No, not a sequel to the Tom Cruise/Renee Zellweger catch-phrase festival, or a documentary about a barbershop quartet, but a film about an equally fiendish group- violent Irish coalminers. The Maguires intimidated the union in 1876 with explosives, bashing (that's our "beating up"), and murder. It was based on the real life story of Pinkerton detective James McParlan, who went undercover as James McKenna to infiltrate the gang and rat them out. And rat he did. But the question remains, to what avail? Many times people were killed before he could leak the word out. So, although he helped bring the gang down, he also acted as one of them, committing the crimes. But times were different back then, and it was Pennsylvania, so, who cares?

I am here to tell you that for a movie about a violent gang, it sure was a slow-paced movie. The first shot was 5 minutes long, and did nothing but show us a town and a mine. It was 15 minutes before anyone said a word. And Richard Harris, an Irishman himself (he was from Limerick!) played the lead as slow as the molasses that dripped out of the barrel he breaks when tearing up the country store. But we're glad he did that, for it was one of the handful of scenes where people actually moved. Harris made CAMELOT right before this movie. Another dead in the water performance.

Sean Connery, or as he's known at RMC as "The Dumb Bastard," played lead Maguire Jack Kehoe, suspicious of newbie Harris, yet not enough to not let him into the boy's club. And Katherine Ross, I mean, Samantha Eggar, plays Mary Rhimes. Harris buys her a hat, which must have meant something back then.

But the hat didn't help this movie, directed by Martin Ritt (blacklisted in the 50s, he went on to make THE FRONT about that very topic). We never really got a sense of who the Molly Maguires were,and what they wanted. Were they doing good for busting a corrupt union? Or bad because, okay, bad yes, because they kill people.

The movie also suffered from a severe pacing problem. And Henry Mancini's jig-centric score seemed a mismatch in many places. And it was over two hours. And there were a lot of scenes in the coal mine.

But we did some mining ourselves, for quips. Small crowd, but good room. I suppose with all those coal mining scenes, I don't have to tell you how many "Jazz Singer" jokes we made.

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*RMC LITE: This stripped down version of Random Movie Club meets between the 15th and 21st of every month. You should eat dinner before you arrive, as there is no pizza or Preshow Entertainment. Attendees arrive between 7:30 and 8pm. The movie is selected at 7:50, and screened at 8pm. There are no fees associated with RMC LITE. You are, however, encouraged to bring snacks or beverages to share with your fellow RMCers.

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