The Southerner (film)

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The Southerner
Southerner poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jean Renoir
Produced by Robert Hakim
David L. Loew
Screenplay by Hugo Butler
Jean Renoir
William Faulkner
Nunnally Johnson
Story by George Sessions Perry
Starring Zachary Scott
Betty Field
Music by Werner Janssen
Cinematography Lucien N. Andriot
Edited by Gregg C. Tallas
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s)
  • April 30, 1945 (1945-04-30)
Running time 92 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Southerner is a 1945 American film directed by Jean Renoir, based on the novel Hold Autumn in Your Hand by George Sessions Perry. The film received Oscar nominations for Best Director, Original Music Score and Sound. Renoir was named Best Director by the National Board of Review, which also named the film the third best of 1945.[1]

Future director Robert Aldrich was an assistant director on this film.

Filming location for flood is below the site of where Millerton Lake is located today. The flood was created by releases from the then recently completed Friant Dam.

Plot[edit]

Sam Tucker is a cotton picker in Texas who decides to start his own farm. He and wife Nona and children Jot and Daisy set out with nothing but two mules and a bit of seed.

The land they lease has no working well, so neighbor Devers reluctantly lets the Tuckers share his water supply. They nearly starve and freeze during a hard winter. Come spring, the child Jot falls ill and desperately needs vegetables and milk to survive, but general store owner Harmie refuses the Tuckers credit.

Sam's friend Tim offers to help find him a city job in a factory. Sam remains determined to make the farm work, and Harmie answers the family's prayers with the gift of a cow. Cotton blooms and a vegetable garden is planted. The bitter Devers and his man Finley conspire to ruin the Tuckers, though, because Devers wants their land.

After a fight, Devers comes armed with a gun, only to find Sam about to catch a catfish that Devers has been after for years. In return for the fish, he agrees to leave Sam's family alone. Harmie ends up marrying Sam's mother and life seems fruitful at last, only to have a terrible thunderstorm ravage the Tuckers' home. They must start over once more.

Copyright[edit]

The movie is in the Public Domain.[2]

Cast[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The staff at Variety magazine gave the film a favorable review and wrote, "The Southerner creates too little hope for a solution to the difficulties of farm workers who constantly look forward to the day when they can settle forever their existence of poverty with a long-sought harvest - a harvest that invariably never comes ... Zachary Scott and Betty Field give fine performances, as do Beulah Bondi, the grandmother, Percy Kilbride, Charles Kemper and J. Carrol Naish.[3]

Bosley Crowther, the film critic of the New York Times at the time, liked the film and wrote, "The Southerner may not be an "entertainment" in the rigid Hollywood sense and it may have some flaws, but it is, nevertheless, a rich, unusual and sensitive delineation of a segment of the American scene well worth filming and seeing."[4]

Awards[edit]

Wins

Nominations

  • Academy Awards: Oscar, Best Director, Jean Renoir; Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Werner Janssen; Best Sound, Recording Jack Whitney (Sound Services Inc); 1946.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Southerner at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ The Southerner is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
  3. ^ Variety, film review, April 30, 1945. Last accessed: July 15, 2010.
  4. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, August 27, 1945. Last accessed: July 15, 2010.
  5. ^ "The 18th Academy Awards (1946) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved August 16, 2011. 

External links[edit]