This intimate 1991 film is in essence a one-act Horton Foote play, which he has gracefully adapted to the screen. But it is of sufficient scope to afford Robert Duvall one of his juiciest roles as an elderly, crusty Texas sugar cane planter whose fields are tended by black convict labor; the year is 1902. Foote has said that "Convicts" is about one's making peace with death, which Duvall's Soll Gautier does to the very best of his wavering mental abilities. What Foote and director Peter Masterson have evoked is the passing of the Old South. It is viewed not only with an appreciation of its gallantry, but also with clear-eyed awareness of its cruel social and economic injustices (TMC Sunday at 1:20 p.m.).
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