All Mine to Give

Put “All Mine to Give,” a Technicolor film made by RKO Radio Pictures in 1957, in the family drama category.  It concerns an immigrant married couple from Scotland who have six children in 1850.  They go through various challenges trying to give their children a better life, but tragedy strikes when the father, Robert Eunson (Cameron Mitchell), dies of diphtheria and the mother, Jo Eunson (Glynis Johns), dies of typhoid fever.

Glynis Johns, baby, and Cameron Mitchell.

The family builds a house in Eureka, Wisconsin, and their first challenge arrives when Jo has a baby and Robert must trudge hours through the snow to work at a logging camp.  Robert then starts a boating business as baby after baby arrives.  Robert catches diphtheria and dies, which puts a strain on the family.  Heartwarming love and family virtues carry the family through the hardships, with very little humor thrown in.  When Jo succumbs to typhoid fever, the oldest son, Robbie, played wonderfully by 15 year-old Rex Thompson, must find foster homes for his siblings.

Most of the film takes place on the Eunson family homestead, with lots of interior shots of the family cabin.  We also see Robert Eunson at the boat dock and at the logging camp where he works for the first third of the movie.  The main attempt at humor in the movie concerns a fight between Robert and an Irishman played by Alan Hale Jr.  Of course, as in many movie fights, the combatants become the best of friends when the fight ends.

Although the movie contains many sad moments, the ending feels uplifting, mostly because it sticks to its main themes — that familial love can conquer hardship and that the people of Eureka, Wisconsin are compassionate and helpful.

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