The Romance of Rosy Ridge
|The Romance of Rosy Ridge|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Roy Rowland|
|Produced by||Jack Cummings|
|Written by||MacKinlay Kantor (story)
|Music by||George Bassman|
|Edited by||Ralph E. Winters|
|Release date(s)||August 4, 1947|
|Running time||105 minutes|
The Romance of Rosy Ridge is a 1947 drama film about a rural community still bitterly divided in the aftermath of the American Civil War. It stars Van Johnson, Thomas Mitchell, and Janet Leigh in her film debut. It was adapted from the novel of the same name by MacKinlay Kantor.
Henry Carson (Van Johnson), a schoolteacher before the Civil War, shows up in a rural region of the Missouri hills. He spends the night with a family consisting of Gill MacBean (Thomas Mitchell), his wife Sairy (Selena Royle), and two of their children, Lissy Anne (Janet Leigh), and youngster Andrew (Dean Stockwell). Another son, Ben (Marshall Thompson), had run off to fight in the war; the family's hope that he will someday return is gradually waning.
Gill does not welcome the stranger, unsure of his allegiance, but the others like the good-natured young man, especially Lissy Anne. Henry offers to help with the farming; the MacBeans desperately need more hands, but Gill remains very suspicious of his motives. A band had been burning the barns of those still loyal to the defeated Confederacy; the MacBeans had been the latest victims. Henry, however, proves to be a hard worker.
When storekeeper and unofficial banker Cal Baggett (Guy Kibbee) visits the family to ask about repayment of a loan, Henry talks him into hosting a "play party", inviting everyone, regardless of affiliation, to help heal the rift in the community. Gill is strongly opposed to it, but Henry tricks him into bringing his family.
At first, the two groups do not mix, but Sairy talks Northern sympathizer Dan Yeary (Russell Simpson) into dancing with her, breaking the ice. Soon, everyone is having a very good time. However, an argument breaks out about the playing of a tune associated with the North. To forestall a fight, Cal calls for a vote. Unfortunately, it is a tie. Gill calls upon Henry to cast the deciding vote. Henry is finally forced to reveal that he fought in the Union army. After that, the party quickly breaks up, much to the secret delight of John Dessark (Charles Dingle) and his son Badge (Jim Davis).
Henry is no longer welcome at the MacBeans. He does not leave the area though; he starts building a schoolhouse.
Eventually, Lissy Anne can no longer bear to be apart from Henry. She goes to him, without her father's knowledge but with her mother's approval. Gill tracks them down, intending to shoot his would-be son-in-law. When four masked horsemen ride up, Henry knocks Gill out and takes his rifle. The newcomers start shooting. Henry kills three and captures the fourth, who turns out to be Badge Dessark. He confesses that his father is behind the raids, not out of loyalty to the South, but simply for financial profit. With the Dessarks hanged, the community starts to heal.
Finally, Henry reveals why he sought out the MacBeans. In a flashback, it is revealed that he met Ben MacBean when they were walking to enlist in the war. As they traveled together, they became good friends, but when they came to a fork in the road, Henry took the north branch, while Ben turned south. Henry was able to talk Ben into going his way, but two days before the end of the war, Ben was killed. Before he died, he got Henry to promise to help his family with the first harvest. After hearing this, a teary-eyed Gill gives Henry and Lissy Anne his blessing to get married.
According to MGM records, the film earned $1,820,000 in the US and Canada and $625,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $533,000.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.