6.8/10
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14 user 7 critic

Raggedy Man (1981)

It's 1944 in the small town of Gregory, Texas. Divorcée Nita Longley has been brought into the town by the telephone company to work as its switchboard operator, a job which requires her to... See full summary »

Director:

Jack Fisk
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sissy Spacek ... Nita
Eric Roberts ... Teddy
Sam Shepard ... Bailey
William Sanderson ... Calvin
Tracey Walter ... Arnold
R.G. Armstrong ... Rigby
Henry Thomas ... Harry
Carey Hollis Jr. ... Henry
Ed Geldart Ed Geldart ... Mr. Calloway
Bill Thurman ... Sheriff
Suzi McLaughlin Suzi McLaughlin ... Jean Lester
Lupe Juárez Lupe Juárez ... Crecencio the Barkeeper
Jessie Lee Fulton ... Miss Pud
LuBelle Camp LuBelle Camp ... Miss Beulah
James N. Harrell James N. Harrell ... Ticket Taker
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Storyline

It's 1944 in the small town of Gregory, Texas. Divorcée Nita Longley has been brought into the town by the telephone company to work as its switchboard operator, a job which requires her to be at the switchboard day and night. She was originally told by her boss Mr. Rigby that this job would only be a stepping-stone to a more lucrative job with regular working hours, which Mr. Rigby seems to be reneging on since he has now told her that her position is frozen due to the war. As such, Nita feels trapped by this situation. Nita lives in the telephone switchboard office building with her two sons, adolescent Harry and infant Henry. Because of her marital status, many of the townsfolk, especially the men, view Nita either with contempt or as a loose woman. One evening, Teddy Roebuck, a sailor on a four day furlough who is hitchhiking back to his home in Ardmore, Oklahoma, stops by to make a telephone call. When he learns that the reason for his trip home no longer exists, Teddy decides to... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes it takes a stranger to give you the courage to follow your heart. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 September 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Raggedy Man See more »

Filming Locations:

Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$287,081, 20 September 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,976,198
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actors Henry Thomas and Carey Hollis Jr. both received 'introducing' credits. See more »

Goofs

When Henry drops the knife, it is a foot or more from the wet spot that he had been dragged through. When Calvin tries to pick it up seconds later, it is in the center of the wet spot. See more »


Soundtracks

The Lady's In Love With You
Performed by Benny Goodman
Courtesy of MCA Records
Written by Burton Lane (uncredited) and Frank Loesser (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
Return of Boo Radley
22 November 2005 | by PamsanalystSee all my reviews

Sissy Spacek has this kind of part down pat, so praise comes too matter-of-fact. I liked the 'Aw Shucks" charm of Eric Roberts as the sailor who receives a 'Dear John" telephone call, and once he disappeared from the film, a lot of its life fizzled away. It's a small film with limited exposition, so that the dinner scene with the boys substituting their long lost father for the departed Teddy seemed to come from almost nowhere. Then despite all of their wailing, they gladly fall in with Mom's desire to move to San Antonio. Then it is headlong into a scene that is part To Kill A Mockingbird and part Straw Dogs.

The problem with the script, and I suspect the screenwriter realized this, is that the Raggedy Man sails too close to Boo Radley, and so the plot must steer away from devices like having the boys be afraid of him. Yet he cannot disappear, so we have shots of him lurking about, or shots of his shop, lest we forget he is part of the story.

I think the film would have worked without him even being part of it, a small tale of a thwarted four day liberty if told from the sailor's point of view, or better, simply a tale of a four day honeymoon for the divorced women. But heaven forbid, there would have been little action. Somehow the ending violence robbed me of my memory of Sissy dancing with her broom while the Andrews Sisters sang.


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