Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Together with Happy as the Grass was Green, Silence at Bethany is one of the few feature films to deal with life among the Mennonites. Mark Moses plays Ira Martin, who grew up in a Mennonite community in the 1930s but left to live with out-of-town relatives when his parents were accidentally killed. Returning to his home town in the 1940s, Ira soon demonstrates that he has remained faithful to the religion of his birth, which impresses the local deacon. After marrying the deacon's niece (Susan Wilder), Ira becomes a preacher in his own right. Conflicts arise between Ira and the deacon when the younger man attempts to apply his citified "newfangled" notions to his ministry. Scrupulously avoiding stereotypes and patronization, Silence at Bethany is a well-balanced study of a rarefied (and rapidly disappearing) American lifestyle. Produced by PBS' American Playhouse series, the film was released theatrically before its public-TV debut.
bishop, man-vs-machine, religion, rival