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…
User Reviews: As a dyed in the wool Yankee I must confess to a certain weakness for things Southern. They seem to do everything larger than life down there, possessing a daring and a sense of style a million miles away from us hyper-rational northerners, who, though we won the Civil War, seem to have lost the culture war. Anyone ever heard of Yankee fried chicken? In the movies the South can lay claim to not only the most acclaimed movie of Hollywood’s "golden age" (Gone With the Wind) to its credit, but a lot of fine little ones as well. Indeed, since the early sixties, around the time To Kill a Mockingbird, there has evolved a genre which for want of a better term one might call the Southern Art Film, which is generally a modest though not B picture with high artistic aspirations, featuring first rate actors playing believable, for the most part un-stereotyped characters (Tomorrow, Sounder, Conrack, The Great Santini, Driving Miss Daisy, The Apostle, to name just a few). Raggedy Man falls more or less into this category, as it tells its modest tale of an abandoned wife and a footloose sailor, their love, the time they spend together, how this affects her children. Not a very eventful film, its slow pace and fine acting saves it. The music, alternately jaunty and wistful is of the sort that has become a cliché, and I wish they hadn’t used it. The actors are outstanding, however, with Sissy Spacek and especially Eric Roberts both in peak form. Roberts is an enigmatic presence, which works for this film. Almost too pretty to be credible at times (not his fault), his work here makes me wonder why he never became a major star. In any case, the movie is well worth catching for some very good moments and a story that pulls at the heartstrings, but in a gentle, uninsistant way, with an ending that’s sad but not depressing.