Where the Lilies Bloom
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|Where the Lilies Bloom|
|Directed by||William A. Graham|
|Produced by||Robert B. Radnitz|
|Written by||Bill and Vera Cleaver (novel)|
Harry Dean Stanton
|Music by||Barbara Mauritz|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||97 min.|
Where the Lilies Bloom is a 1974 film adaptation of the novel by the same name, written by Bill and Vera Cleaver. The film was produced by Robert B. Radnitz and directed by William A. Graham in Watauga County (towns of Boone and Blowing Rock), Ashe County (towns of West Jefferson and Lansing) and in Avery County (towns of Elk Park and Banner Elk), North Carolina.
It was based on the novel by Vera and Bill Cleaver. Children from local elementary schools were recruited to act in the film.
The Luther family are poor sharecroppers living in the mountains of North Carolina. The father, Roy Luther (played by Rance Howard) is sickly and asks the second eldest daughter, Mary Call (played by Julie Gholson) to take over his role of father when he passes on. He instructs her not to tell anyone when he dies as doctors, undertakers and preachers "just take money." When the authorities discover he is dead, the children will be split up and put in foster homes since none of them are of legal age.
Their landlord Kiser Pease, (played by Harry Dean Stanton), is interested in marrying the eldest daughter Devola (played by Jan Smithers). Roy Luther won't allow the marriage and makes Mary Call promise she won't let it happen after he dies. Mary Call and younger brother Romy (played by Matthew Burrill) help Kiser when is sick with pneumonia and Kiser agrees to sign the land back over to the Luther family.
When Roy Luther dies, the children bury him on a mountain side in an unmarked grave and then go to elaborate lengths to keep anyone from finding out he is dead. The children rehearse over and over about what to say if asked about their father. Kiser continues his courtship of Devola with Mary Call doing all that she can to thwart his pursuit of her.
The Luther children scrimp and do all they can to eke out a living for themselves and even sell roots and herbs gathered from their land to the local pharmacist to use in medicines. Mary Call takes refuge in her journal and the essays she writes for school assignments catch the eye of her teacher who urges her not to waste her talent with words by settling for "a life in the hills."
When Kiser lands in the hospital after having been hit by a car, his nosy sister Goldie comes to the Luther house and demands they vacate the property. She says the paper that Kiser signed giving the Luthers back their land is worthless and orders them out in 48 hours. With no options left, a desperate Mary Call visits Kiser in the hospital and offers herself to him in marriage. Kiser would rather marry Devola and a distraught Mary Call blurts out that Roy Luther is dead. She threatens to kill Kiser if he tells anyone and storms out.
Kiser comes after Mary Call and comforts her, saying that he admires her for having taken on the job of raising her siblings. Mary Call relents and allows Devola to marry Kiser since she now sees that he really is a good and decent man after all.