Home on the Blue Ridge
Annie Nations (Jessica Tandy) and her husband Hector (Hume Cronyn) lived all their life up in the Blue Ridge Mountains like Hector's father did before and although Hector passed away 5 years ago Annie has no plans of leaving the farm she calls home especially as she stills talks to the spirit of her dead husband and visits his grave in the family burial ground. But a land developer (Gary Grubbs) wants to buy up the farm and all the land to build holiday homes on it. On top of that Annie and Hector's musician son Dillard (John Denver) is worried about his mum living on the farm all by herself and wants her to move nearer to where he lives when he isn't on the road touring especially as he has some problems at home.
I know that the chances of it ever happening is beyond slim but if the surviving cast of "The Waltons" decided to make another series or a one off special they would do well to take a look at "Foxfire" which was written by Susan Cooper and Hume Cronyn. This tale of Annie Nations who married Hector when she was 18 and lived on his family farm for the past 60 years is exactly the sort of thing which will appeal to fans of "The Waltons" especially with Jessica Tandy bringing a bit of Ellen Corby to the role. Just watching her go about her daily chores up on the hillside farm is a pure joy to watch especially in her quiet but feisty way she has the measure of most be it her own son or the land developer who is slithering around.
But there is something else which Jessica Tandy brings to "Foxfire" and it comes from the fact her real life husband, Hume Cronyn, pops up as Hector's spirit as you feel the love and devotion Annie and Hector had for each other and their connection to the old family farm. In a simple way they bring to life the phrase "count your blessings" as listening to them and seeing Annie's contentment with her life simply charms you and makes you wonder whether the world is missing out on something special in the need for more but at the same time we see how clinging on to the past may stop you experiencing life.
There is though one issue I have with "Foxfire" and that is the casting of John Denver as Dillard. Now on one hand he does a nice job of playing the country boy whose career has caused him to lose touch with the singer he once was, now being all slick and showbiz. But there are times he seems to be searching for his dialogue, unsure of how to deliver it. That does all change when he admits to Annie that his wife has left him but it is hit n miss and it is clear that he doesn't connect with the story as much as Cronyn and Tandy. Although there couldn't have been anyone better when it comes to the songs and those slow, thoughtful songs he sings are simply beautiful.
What this all boils down to is that as a fan of "The Waltons" the old fashioned family drama of "Foxfire" was right up my street with Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn bringing so much old fashioned charm to the movie. Sadly it isn't perfect and for me John Denver doesn't quite connect with his character in the same way as everyone else do and so sticks out.