The Displaced Person
Flannery O’Connor is a writer with a keen sense of observation for the subtle cruelty that comes from fear of the unknown. The case in point is “The Displaced Person.” Set in Georgia during the late 1940’s, a Polish refugee (Mr. Guizac) is relocated by a priest (John Houseman) to work on Mrs. McIntyre’s (Irene Worth) farm. Quickly the industrious and clever Mr. Guizac becomes a threat to the other farm workers. Soon all are plotting Mr. Guizac’s downfall until fate unexpectedly takes hand. Two-time Oscar-winner screenwriter Horton Foote crafts the screenplay in this powerful, timely and shocking story.
“The Displaced Person” speaks to the fear of the unknown and how people react to things they don’t understand. Mrs. McIntyre takes on workers for her dairy farm with help from Father Flynn (John Houseman), who talks her into taking on the Polish immigrant workers. She is happy with them at first, but she becomes discontent because of dissension on the farm. Mr. Shortley (Lane Smith) and his wife leave because of their prejudice and dissatisfaction over the hired workers. He spreads dissension among the blacks workers over the Polish people and he sabotages a tractor so it runs over a man.
Mrs. McIntyre goes into deep shock and has to deal with great hardship. This film contains realistic language for the time, including use of the N word. But the film makes clear that this racially-motivated treatment of both the blacks and the Polish immigrants is wrong. The film focuses on racism, prejudice and the great harm it can cause. We are pleased to award the film our Dove Seal for ages twelve plus, with the note that the racial slurs may disturb some viewers. This realistic story shows what words can do when used in a negative way.