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Sun August 19, 2007
Bastard Child . . .
By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
I am feeling so much better now that I've seen September Dawn, an "inspired-by-true-events" fiction about the massacre in 1857 of Christian "immigrants" on Mormon Utah land as they passed through to California. The Mormons did it, with the complicity of Native Americans. But whether Brigham Young ordered it is still arguable.
I feel better because midway through the year I found the year's worst film. This bastard child of Little House on the Prairie and Lifetime Channel is so full of clich?s and obvious Mormon baiting that the descriptor "art" should never be uttered about it.
In the Mountain Meadows Massacre, 122 "gentiles" were exterminated. Almost every scene is larded with clich?s, not the least being the shameless ones with the Romeo and Juliet knockoffs who exclaim more than once never to have "met anyone like you" before, or the progressive woman who wears pants and a gun, who doesn't like the current stop on Mormon land, and who is the clear choice for hatred by the mad Mormon, Jacob Samuelson, played with scene hunger by Jon Voight (his bad-guy goatee is hilarious).
That the massacre occurred is not in doubt. That it happened on September 11 seems to enchant the producers as if this vapid melodrama could in any way be spoken of in the same breath as 9/11. Why September Dawn was made at all is beyond belief. Perhaps I should ask Mitt Romney.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com