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I'm trying to identify what I believe to be a TV film or mini-series (maybe only 2 parts) from the late 70s (or early 80s).

It had a wooden bridge (see image) in it (maybe white) that might have featured in the titles. A group of people traveled over the bridge into a community led by a wise woman matriarch who might have had magical abilities or was just a bit sinister. I believe the woman might have been younger than a typical old wise woman matriarch. I think she had glasses.

This wise woman saves someone's life when they begin to choke. She performs a tracheotomy using a pen or a reed - which seemed quite shocking within the context of the film/show.

I believe the bridged community were either trapped in time or they just didn't like technology and used horse and buggy - but they weren't Amish (at least, I don't remember them to be).

The film/show was a talking point at school between everyone who'd seen it because of the strange atmosphere and the tracheotomy scene.

It might have aired around 8 or 9pm - it was in the Sunday evening slot perhaps. At the time it seemed like a special event TV show - like V or The Martian Chronicles, but it was broadcast a few years before these.

I've asked friends if they remember it but I'm beginning to wonder if it's all a false memory as no one remembers.

The title sequence was "memorable" and yet I can't describe it now.

Thanks for any suggestions.

wooden bridge

1 Answer 1

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This is The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (1978), a made-for-tv-movie based on the novel by Tom Tryon. Per the Wiki - we have a bridge and a trache:

Ned Constantine, his wife Bethany ("Beth"), and their daughter Kate relocate from New York City to an isolated Connecticut village, Cornwall Coombe, where the villagers adhere to "the old ways", eschewing modern agricultural methods and having extremely limited contact with the outside world. As one says, "we don't mess with other folks and we expect them not to mess with us." The villagers celebrate a number of festivals that revolve around the cultivation of corn. The most important festival is "Harvest Home", which takes place once every seven years.

When Kate suffers a severe asthma attack, the Widow Fortune performs a tracheotomy and saves her life. She later prescribes home remedies which cure Kate entirely. Beth and Kate grow to adore the Widow, but Ned is suspicious of her herbal medicines and finds her unquestioned influence over the town troubling.

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    Spoiler question....was that the one where they blind this guy at the end? (I never recalled the name of it until now but that scene gave me nightmares!)
    – Danny Mc G
    May 21, 2023 at 20:03
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    @DannyMcG the linked wiki article mentions a blinding. May 21, 2023 at 22:42
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    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Absolutely fantastic answer Cassfrank. This TV movie was a very vivid memory for me for about 20 years and then it appears to have exited my brain about 15 years ago - and led me to wondering if I dreamt it all or just created a false memory from several disparate sources. May 22, 2023 at 8:22

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