Swamp Water

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Swamp Water
Theatrical poster
Directed by Jean Renoir
Produced by Irving Pichel
Written by Vereen Bell (novel)
Screenplay by Dudley Nichols
Based on Swamp Water (1940)
Starring Walter Brennan
Walter Huston
Anne Baxter
Dana Andrews
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography J. Peverell Marley
Lucien Ballard
Edited by Walter Thompson
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • 1941 (1941)
Running time
88 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $601,900[1]

Swamp Water is a 1941 film directed by Jean Renoir, starring Walter Brennan and Walter Huston, produced at 20th Century Fox, and based on the novel by Vereen Bell. The film was shot on location at Okefenokee Swamp, Waycross, Georgia, USA. This was Renoir's first American film. The movie was remade in 1952 as Lure of the Wilderness, directed by Jean Negulesco.


This film, like the novel on which it is based, is about a local boy, Ben (Dana Andrews), who encounters a fugitive Tom Keefer (Walter Brennan) from a murder charge while hunting in the Okefenokee Swamp looking for his dog. The two form a partnership in which Ben sells the animals hunted and trapped by both until townsfolk become suspicious. Also, Ben helps Julie, Keefer's daughter, clean up and look more decent. Keefer is accused of murdering Deputy Shep Collins, but it was really Jesse Wick who did. Ben makes Wick tell on himself so that Keefer will not be blamed anymore. He tries to take Keefer back to town where he can live a normal life, but they are shot at by two people. One of them sinks in quicksand, and Keefer talks to the other man, saying he wants a normal life, and lets him go. Ben and Keefer are later saved by approaching hunters, and in town, Keefer cleans up, and goes to the dance, smiling.



Although Renoir had difficulty adapting to Hollywood production methods, the film was popular at the box office and made a profit.[1] Red River Valley was the main theme song.


The narrative elements of the 2012 coming-of-age film Mud, directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Matthew McConaughey, have been compared to those of Swamp Water.


  1. ^ a b Rudy Behlmer, Ed, Memo from Darryl F. Zanuck, Grove Press, 1993 p54

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