By Robin E SImmons
Based on the stage play by Horton Foote (1916-2009), Tim Guinee, who has starred in Homeland, Revolution and The Good Wife, makes his directorial debut in this tense short film set in Texas immediately after World War I.
CW Rowe (Charles Haid) has it all. He owns the local cotton gin, and that makes him the richest man in town. Rowe’s rise to his present position has solidified his core belief in the system that has served him so well.
Certain of his deserved success, CW is given to lecturing anyone he feels will benefit from his advice. Not much interrupts his placid routine and the purity of his vision except for the weekly visit of Ned (John Magaro), a young man who lost an arm in the gin’s unforgiving machinery. Because of the accident, Ned may be a tad touched. He demands CW return his arm.
On a typical day, Ned leaves when CW offers him five dollars. But today is not typical. And the inevitable is excruciating to watch.
Guinee was acting in Lily Dale, a movie based Horton’s play. While he was on that movie he met a woman named Daisy, who happens to be one of Horton’s daughters and the two ended up getting married. Daisy is a producer of the film.
Guinee appreciates the time period of the material. “I think we tend to think of the 20s as the birth of modernity. Which, on one hand is true, but on the other hand it sort of reaches back into the pre-modern.” People were still being hung – and lynched; yet they were also driving electric cars. In the movie, CW drives a Baker automobile, which is actually an electric car. “It was one of the most popular, and reliable cars available in America.”
ONE ARMED MAN has received great praise from the likes of Gus Van Sant, Ellen Burstyn, Matt Damon, Ed Harris, Edward Zwick, Richard Dreyfuss, Charlie Kaufman, Robert Duvall, Mandy Patinkin and more. It was the Grand Jury Winner for Best Short Film at the USA Film Festival and was a Grand Jury Nominee at South by Southwest, amongst others. The film was executive produced by Guinee’s close friend the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. The movie is dedicated to his memory.
Horton Foote is best remembered as the writer of THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL and TENDER MERCIES. He is also the screenwriter who adapted Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.
Showing Thursday, July 9 at 7pm. Also will likely be in the Best of Fest.