Let’s Talk About Race Relations – “The Well”
The Well is a 1951 movie nominated for two Academy Awards; one for best screenplay and one for best editing. Shot on location in Marysville and Yuba City, California, this film holds up today as a socially conscious film. In my opinion, every Sociology class across America should see and discuss this film. Let us take the opportunity to do so here.
The Well is a story of how a community becomes racially divided and how truth overwhelmingly brings it back together. It is balanced, showing human tendencies regardless of race.
The director tells us the truth from the beginning of the film. The film’s characters do not know that truth and as the movie continues, we see the townspeople become lost in anger and hatred, forgetting what started it all.
This film is about 81 minutes. If you have that time, please try to watch it in one setting, and please click the box on the bottom right of the Youtube frame for full-screen.
Since posting this, the Youtube channel where the film was located has been deleted by the owner. We’re including a film clip found on Youtube instead.
There is so much in this movie that can be discussed. In one scene, we are shown a young woman who uses the situation as an opportunity for her personal agenda to get attention. This is the scene that actually inflames the racial divide, starting a chain reaction.
The rescue scene at the end is filled with symbolism; from gathering to shine light in a dark place, to seeing equipment pounding on the ground, symbolic of softening the hardened; using persistent patience to reach a goal, even when discovering that there is more work to do before the goal is reached.
You might recognize the name or face of Henry Morgan if you are old enough to remember the television series Dragnet.
Let’s open discussion on race relations as depicted in The Well, and how it applies today.
A huge thank you to Blushedbrown for her research finding the film.