6.9/10
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Child Bride of Short Creek (1981)

Partially based on the true events surrounding a rural religious cult in the American Midwest, and how the members' children suffered for their parents' fanaticism.

Director:

Robert Michael Lewis (as Robert Lewis)

Writers:

Joyce Eliason (teleplay by), Michael Fessier Jr. (based on a story by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Atkins ... Isaac King
Diane Lane ... Jessica Rae Jacobs
Conrad Bain ... Frank King
Kiel Martin ... Bob Kalish
Helen Hunt ... Naomi
Warren Vanders Warren Vanders ... Jay Jacobs
Joan Shawlee ... Isaac's Mother
Dee Wallace ... Mary Jacobs
Babetta Dick Babetta Dick ... Judy
Melinda Almquist Melinda Almquist ... Viola
Julianne Slocum Julianne Slocum ... Rachel
C. Duane Tuft C. Duane Tuft ... Larry Wesenskow
Robert E. Hartenberger Robert E. Hartenberger ... Attorney General Ross
Alan Nash Alan Nash ... Sheriff Beal
Jay Bernard Jay Bernard ... Judge Sears
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Storyline

Dramatization of the lives of the people of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, collectively known as "Short Creek," a community made up of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, a Mormon separatist group practicing child marriage and polygamy. Written by JoJo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

For generations, their beliefs allowed the elders to take as many wives as they wanted. Until a young girl is promised to the father of the boy she loves. See more »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 December 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La jeune mariée de Short Creek See more »

Filming Locations:

Utah, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producers Laurence Schiller and Paul Monash with the Art Director Hub Braden scouted the ghost town location in the Spring of 1981, deciding to film the NBC-TV MOW in Utah. The actual Short Creek was located South of Hurricane approximately 40 miles. Art Director and Construction Coordinator Jerry Esposito established their base in the only motel in Hurricane six weeks prior to photography. Esposito hired construction carpenters and painters at the St George Unemployment office for his crew. They established Short Creek Productions with a local bank, with a sizable account for credit purposes, for purchasing lumber and materials prior to construction. The producers, cast and production department followed establishing their group in several motels in St. George Utah for the filming and wrap. The distance from St. George to the ghost town location was about 30 miles. The construction coordinator built a foot bridge over the shallow creek bed adjacent the ghost town and main road. Otherwise the travel time to reach the town was an additional 20 miles; ten miles to reach a creek crossing bridge, and another ten miles back to the ghost town. The actual Shortcreek Mormon-Polygamist group in Colorado City and Hilldale township had knowledge of the intended filming. The production was advised that a rumored possible raid of the filming location by the Polygamist male leadership might occur. The local Sheriff, Glennwood Humphries, became a major contact for the construction department, making his presence established prior to and during filming. Filming was neither delayed nor prevented during the production schedule. Two brothers, from Tooele, Utah, were hired to live in their parents house trailer located adjacent the creek, the bridge, and the location, acting as security both during the day and night from first day of construction, till end of filming. The two boys also became town extras during their security detail. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Many Wives: Vows of Silence (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The perks of prophecy
22 August 2018 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The only thing I could not figure out watching Child Bride Of Short Creek is why did Conrad Bain let Christopher Atkins go to war and return from Korea? Just being exposed to a wider world out there would have guaranteed trouble. Trouble being someone out there who knew that what the Prophet said was not necessarily so even if it's his own son. Or did Atkins just want to get away himself?

In any event Atkins and Bain belong to a breakaway group of Mormons who are still polygamists. Bain is the leader and the Prophet does have perks in the office. Like being polygamous and allowing same for some of your buds and having the choice of the young girls being raised by this frightening group of inbreds.

For his fourth wife Bain has chosen Diane Lane and she's someone Atkins kind of likes. But the Prophet has spoken, even as law enforcement is starting to look at this isolated place and its practices.

Made right on the heels of Christopher Atkins's stunning debut in The Blue Lagoon, it's a nice ensemble cast that delivers here. Conrad Bain is far from the Dad in Different Strokes, he's one frightening self righteous dude who maintains his hold on the group through ignorance and isolation.

My favorite scene however is with Atkins and his mother Joan Shawlee the Prophet's first wife. Shawlee who made a career of playing brassy comic dames, but she's anything but that. She's playing a frightening caricature of a woman who knows nothing else but the ways of her breakaway Mormon world.

Interestingly enough I'm guessing because of law suits the name Latter Day Saints (LDS) or Mormon is never used. But we know who these folks are.

This is a really good made for TV film about a frightening group of people.


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