Watched it last night
When I was a kid, it was common practice for our teachers to read a chapter or so a day, out of a classic children’s book, following our lunch break. Such books included Little House In The Big Woods (How I became a little house fan) Where The Red Fern Grows, Hogie’s Rifle Gun (another Appalachian based children’s book) and of course, Where The Lilies Bloom.
I had never seen the movie prior to the other evening. In either event, I was surfing youtube the other evening, and came a cross a tribute to Jan Smithers, of WKRP in Cincinnati fame. Turns out that this was one of her earlier roles. I never really watched WKRP all that much, but when I did, I could never understand the fuss being made over Jennifer (Loni Anderson) when you had the absolutely stunning Bailey in the same cast. In Lilies, she looks amazing.
A less believable part of the storyline was the lovely Devola (Smithers) having an attraction for the middle aged Kiser Pease (Harry Dean Stanton) Though admittedly, he looked pretty youthful for dude that was pushing 50 at that time.
Devola (Smithers) is the oldest, but it’s revealed early on that she’s somewhat “lacking in practical matters” (In the book, I believe that she’s described as being mentally challenged) so the main burden for the family, following the death of the remaining parent, falls onto the shoulders of 14 year old Mary Call (Julie Gholson ). Gholson does an excellent job with the role, as do the other sibling actors. Oddly enough, none of them, save for Smithers, would ever appear in anything ever again. Gholson almost certainly would have went on to bigger and better things, had she remained affiliated with the industry.
A basic synopsis for those unfamiliar with the storyline, is that it’s about a group of Appalachian children that lose their remaining parent; their widowed father, and against all odds, attempt to keep it a secret, so that the family can stay together, and out of the county children’s home. All in all, very good for a made for TV film, and highly recommended.