The Southerner (1945)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This film stars Zachary Scott as a sharecropper who yearns for a place of his own. On a tiny, scraggly patch of land, Scott tries to make a go of things, along with his wife, his grandmother, and his children.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: George Sessions Perry, Jean Renoir, Hugo Butler, William Faulkner, Nunnally Johnson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 6, 1999


as Sam Tucker

as Nona Tucker

as Granny Tucker

as Daisy Tucker

as Jot Tucker

as Harmie Jenkins

as Ma Tucker

as Henry Devers

as Daisy Tucker

as Finlay Hewitt

as Doc White

as Bartender

as Party Girl

as Ruston

as Uncle Pete Tucker

as Wedding Guest

as Customer at Store

as Wedding Guest
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News & Interviews for The Southerner

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Critic Reviews for The Southerner

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4)

It may be trenchant realism, but these are times when there is a greater need. Escapism is the word.

Full Review… | May 8, 2007
Top Critic

Renoir's most successful American film, loose, free-flowing, honest.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A rich, unusual and sensitive delineation of a segment of the American scene well worth filming and seeing.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Jean Renoir's 1945 examination of dirt farmers in the American south is probably his finest Hollywood film, which is to say a masterpiece.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The land is pictured as being so real that you can almost taste it.

Full Review… | February 20, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Made while Frenchman Renoir was in Hollywood in exile, this rural portrait is a better film than Swamp Water, showing the helmer's penchant for meticulous attention to detail and lyrical realism, for which he received his only directing Oscar nomination

Full Review… | February 8, 2007

Audience Reviews for The Southerner


Not sure if it was the terrible audio, but I liked this so much more after re-watching. The critical controversy about this when it came out was the question of naturalism, in the geography and in the performances. James Agee thought Zachary Taylor, from Austin, Texas, and Bondi were the authentic ones, and Betty Field was awful. Today, people seem to think Taylor is too doe-eyed and Bondi should have been on Hee-Haw. These performances contain their own contradictions. Parts of what Taylor and Bondi did are understated and perfect and contrast with moments which play more like theatrical tableaus. Norman Lloyd, in his role as a slavish hick peon, plays it like Harpo Marx in sackcloth and no props -- with just a little makeup he could be part of the family in Hills Have Eyes. Betty Field may clearly be un-Texan, but she is consistently charming while never playing to the camera, with an unglamorous, non-naive appeal. The style of the film itself compares to Bondi and Taylor. There are many moments, and many close-ups, that seem throwbacks to the upfront emotionalism of silent films. There are quick shots of the earth and the river that would fit within a modern documentary and not as antique inserts. At one point, Taylor leaves his wife crying in the dirt to go speak directly to God, Job-like. There are three angles of Taylor moving across the hot soil, quick shots, and suddenly he's delivering a languid soliloquy in a medium shot, his big eyes pointing up like in early Christian painting, with a blank backdrop for a bland sky behind him -- "Why'd you make it all so purty ..." Maybe the movie becomes beautiful since the audience has to draw out all the naturalism, physical and internal, that's there.

Adam Mahler

Super Reviewer

A man and his family -- including a gripey old grandmother entertainingly played by Beulah Bondi -- buy land and try to make it on their own as cottton farmers in Texas. It's very similar to the Good Earth, in that the family endures hardships -- financial, family, health -- along the way to fulfilling their dreams, but The Southerner isn't quite as dark in tone. A little sappy at times, but still a decent film.

Cindy I

Super Reviewer


beautifully acted

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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