Watch My Antonia
My Antonia is a romantic drama film based upon Willa Cather’s novel. Written by Victoria Riskin, the film was directed by Joseph Sargent and features Jason Robards, Neil Patrick Harris and Eva Marie Saint. Filmed in Grand Island, Nebraska’s Stuhr Museum, the story follows the orphaned boy, Jim Burden (played by Neil Patrick Harris) as he navigates the trials and tribulations of his life among his immigrant family. Life in the prairie is hard for all of them, since they are all relatively new to their surroundings. Jim’s grandparents are played by Jason Robards and Eva Marie Saint and Elina Lowensohn is Jim’s very spirited friend, Antonia. The two families depicted are living quite different lives, though they share many of the same challenges. The Burdens have been there for much longer than the Shemardas, who came recently from Bohemia. While the Burdens are established in their surroundings, the Shemardas are just starting out. As a result, the Shemardas have difficulties trying to earn a decent living on their property. Jimmy Burden really grows attracted to Antonia Shemarda. They try to form and seal bonds - but the differences in their social standing interferes. Jimmy has trouble distilling his feelings for Antonia and as a result of this and the interference of social circumstances, they are never able to consummate their love. Added to the mix is the seductive friend of Antonia, Lena Lingard (played by Anne Tremko) who vies for Jimmy’s affections. This only makes things more confusing for an already confused Jimmy. As time passes, Jimmy returns to visit Antonia. But she has started her own family by this time and appears to have survived very well, despite her meager beginnings. In the end, despite their difficulties, sorrows and struggles - it is apparent that time has not tarnished the feelings they have had for one another when they meet again much later. The film won a Primetime Emmy award for Outstanding Cinematography.