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Salt Of The Earth (1954)

Will Geer , David Wolfe , Herbert J. Biberman  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Will Geer, David Wolfe, Mervin Williams, David Sarvis, Rosaura Revueltas
  • Directors: Herbert J. Biberman
  • Writers: Michael Wilson
  • Producers: Paul Jarrico
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC, Dolby
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Organa
  • DVD Release Date: March 30, 2010
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00213XMPY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,121 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Salt Of The Earth" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Special edition of the famous 1954 blacklisted film about the 1950 strike by zinc miners in Silver City, New Mexico, Salt of the Earth explores the comples issues of labor relations, minority rights and the struggle of women to achieve equality in their daily lives.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
86 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spririt of America portrayed March 26, 2003
It upsets me to see people write negative things about this movie. My grandmother and grandfather were involved in the making of this movie and appear in it along with my dad who was a child. Although I hated watching it as a child (I was forced to)I have learned to see past the not so great acting and cinematography to see the true spirit of the film. I am so proud of what they did to bring equality and safety to those workers who were discriminated against because of their race and their bravery. I am very proud of this movie as are my grandparents and entire family. I have no clue how anyone could view this as communist propoganda! I thought we had all learned our lessons from the Mc Carthy era. Perhaps I have a deeply personal stake in this movie but for me it represents everything that is American about America. Free speech, civil rights, gender equality. Strength and perseverance of the American people to stand up for what is right. I can tell you from personal knowlege that this movie is an entirely accurate account of a very important event in American history and is truly a treasure.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-see for Labor Relations and History students! November 7, 1999
"Salt of the Earth" is a film documenting the 1951 strike of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers local 890 against their employer, the Empire Zinc Company. Discriminated against for years, the Mexican miners of local 890 decide to strike for equality and improved safety conditions in the mines. Their wives `man' the picket lines when a court injunction prohibits the miners from picketing at the mine gates. The backlash that results goes far beyond labor-management relations and results in creating equality between the men and women that did not previously exist. The film centers on one family, the Quinteros, and how the strike effected their family from within.
A nice edition for a collector. The supplemental material, "The Hollywood Ten," is dramatic and gives insight concerning the 1950's extreme fear of Communism, when ten Hollywood talents were accused of Communism and imprisoned for comtempt of court.
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67 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not much else of its kind April 28, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Salt of The Earth has no equal. An intelligent and well done film with sharp political content. This is most certainly a propaganda film, but propaganda in the best sense: getting a lot of ideas out to a few people. This is one of the few films that sees working people in struggle (with the company, but also with themselves on issues of gender) as capable, intelligent and something better than they were before hand.
Far from being bad, this movie shows how people in struggle can rise up against the alienation and oppression of this world. Marx said Communism is the actual movement of the working class. That means that workers' everyday struggles contain the future within them, contain insurrection in daily life. This movie is a good slice of what that means.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suppressed Treasure February 14, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
In the early 1950's, film studios were under attack from two directions. Small screen tv had put a big dent in theatre attendance, while the Mc Carthyite cold war had put a big chill in the cultural milieu. A formerly lucrative industry found itself suddenly reeling, with a future no longer very certain. In short, the commercial winds had changed and Hollywood needed an overhaul. To meet tv's challenge, studio moguls introduced big screen Cinerama, biblical spectaculars and full-cleavage romance goddesses; to please congressional investigators, they fired unrepentent left-wingers and blackballed them from future employment. Social commentary, never much of a staple, disappeared entirely, while the escapism of Westerns, Tennessee Williams, and bedroom innuendo took over. The 50's had arrived with a vengeance.

Against this backdrop, Salt of the Earth appears to have parachuted in from another planet. In retrospect, the film's look, feel, and values, plus use of non-actors, represent an anti-Hollywood aesthetic in just about about its purest form. Instead of the usual ersatz, there are company shacks, a desolate land, and real workers sometimes speaking a foreign tongue about hot water and labor solidarity. This was and is about as far removed from the fabled dream factory as any commercial film before or since. To my knowledge, Salt is the only professional movie made in America by known communists. And though I've seen it a number of times, I've yet to detect a theme that any conscionable liberal would disagree with. The emphasis throughout is on reform, not revolution.

So why was the movie so thoroughly ostracized. Aside from the obvious negatives, there are two aspects that challenge patriotic assumptions about the power of the individual.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring film December 29, 2005
This film shows how a group of mainly Hispanic miners who are discriminated against with dangerous working conditions and unsanitary housing better their lot through industrial action. But in the process the miners also have to change their attitudes towards women, so that the film acts against several social injustices at once. The film remains powerful even though it was made 50 years ago. It reminded me of the story of a successful hunger strike by ANC prisoners on Robben Island in the days of apartheid South Africa, told in Indres Naidoo's book Island in Chains.

Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Salt of the Earth
This is an old movie, once banned from the U.S. because the gov't was afraid it would rally people to strike like these people did. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tabi
5.0 out of 5 stars A window into the soul of our country.
The backstory of this film is as interesting as the movie itself. It is The only film banned by our govt, with many participants being blacklisted. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Toni Larson
3.0 out of 5 stars The Big Carnival.
Salt of the Earth (Herbert J. Biberman, 1953)

It occurred to me sometime after I had watched it that it would have been a great idea to co-review Salt of the Earth,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Beveridge
4.0 out of 5 stars An important insight to the history that isn't often told.
While the acting and production values of this '50s film are not award winning, the story (based on factual events) is one that should be shared with young people, workers, and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by William M. Hudson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story. It was suggested that my daughter watch the movie for a...
The whole family watched it. My daughter was interested in the labor issues and unions for a college class. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Barbara Robinette
4.0 out of 5 stars An important film of the era
The makers of this film were blacklisted as communists, and it a testament to American Freedom that we can freely watch it today. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Craig Baker
4.0 out of 5 stars Less than perfect dramatically, but an important historic document
If a bit awkward and rough edged in form, a bit on the nose in it's politics, and a bit melodramatic
in it's telling, this story of a miners strike is an historically... Read more
Published 6 months ago by K. Gordon
4.0 out of 5 stars Less than perfect dramatically, but an important historic document
If a bit awkward and rough edged in form, a bit on the nose in it's politics, and a bit melodramatic
in it's telling, this story of a miners strike is an historically... Read more
Published 6 months ago by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this work of art.
I recommend Salt of the Earth be shown at university. I would not say it should be just shown in Hispanic American studies because it has huge implications and truths to tell in... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Coyle Williams
Not as professionally done as it could have been, but one of the many industries taking advantage of workers by not providing a living wage, safe working conditions, and benefits,... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Maureen Martinez
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