Friday, 18 July 2014

Savage Journey (1983)

So this film depicts an account of the foundation of the Mormon faith.  A little googling suggests it is not endorsed by the Mormon church, though it certainly does seem pretty positive toward the founders of the religion.

How accurate is it?  I don't know.  I suspect it is fairly fictionalised though, since it does depict Brigham Young as a rather saintly fellow.  It also lets him get the last word on the contentious subject of polygamy ("It is better for a woman to be the third wife of a loving husband than the only wife of a man who beats her.").

For the record, despite claiming that he didn't like the idea of polygamy, Young ultimately accumulated 55 wives.  Fifty-five.  Not a typo.  I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn that some of them were far, far younger than he.  The movie doesn't mention that.  Nor the fact that Young banned people of African descent from the church.

Questions of bias and historical accuracy aside, however, is the movie any good?


For one thing, the guy playing Brigham Young simply isn't up to the task.  This needs to be compelling performance - after all, this is the guy who led the trek to Utah - and he's not able to muster much more than amiably pompous.

He's done no service by the script, either, which is basic in the extreme.  People are mean to the mormons for no good reason, so the mormons move on to somewhere they will not be persecuted.  New people turn up and start to persecute them.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Not much to recommend here folks.

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