Joe Hill

Like Boxcar Bertha, Joe Hill probably looks better today than it did in 1971, partly because subsequent films on similar themes (F.I.S.T. and reportedly Days Of Heaven, among others) have been so disappointing. In this film, Swedish director Bo Widerberg traces the growing radical labor movement at the turn of the century and follows one of its greatest heroes, Joe Hill, through his organizing for the I.W.W., persecution by the authorities, and eventual framing and execution for a crime he did not commit. As in Elvira Madigan and Adalen '31, Widerberg tends to go overboard in his love for soft-focus/gauzily luminous imagery: as a result, Joe Hill is always beautiful to look at if not always dramatically potent. It is a touching tribute nonetheless.

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