The Southerner Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 7, 2007
beautifully acted
Super Reviewer
March 31, 2014
Jean Renoir's American tale is a fabulous exposition of life in the Depression for a man who does what he needs to do to survive. It remains a little known film unfortunately. It's strong performances ought to receive more acclaim.
Super Reviewer
½ January 3, 2010
Good film from Jean Renoir about how much it sucks to be a farmer. The film is about a farmer and his family trying to grow cotton in Texas and all of their hardships. It's not as good as Renoir's french work, but is very compelling. Zachary Scott gives a very strong performance as the farmer who must work himself into the ground to make his farm work. The film is a little predictable and the print I saw wasn't the greatest, but still worth a watch with good acting.
December 8, 2008
12/08/08 Downloaded and watched it

Previously watched it on AMC or TMC, and fell in love with the story and couldn't wait to find a copy
½ February 18, 2015
Now I know where they got the character they modelled Granny of the Beverley Hillbillies from. This film shows what it was like to be a farmer in the days before social assistance and the indomitable spirit of those who persevered.
½ December 13, 2014
it has "grapes of wrath" in it
December 21, 2012
Strong depression era film in which a family strives to make a living off their farm plantation in the southern United States. Sam Tucker (Zachary Scott) is husband who initiates the farming practise with the assistance of his wife, Nona (Betty Field), along with their two young kids. Unfortunately, two factors are against their building of the farm. One, the weather, for which they have struggle against of opposing elements of both flooding and drought. Two, they have to deal with the presence of the wife's bitter, generally immobile and stubborn mother (Beulah Bondi). The cinematography, as usual for director Jean Renoir's film, is the strongest asset, with setting superbly photographed by the camera, allowing us to feel that the time and setting is the 1930's. However, I wish that the movie progressed a bit faster and smoother than it did.
½ July 19, 2004
February 18, 2010
Thursday, February 18,2010

(1945) The Southerner B/W

Another film about about what it's like growing up during the 'Great Depression'. Story from an actual novel of the same name directed well by Jean Renoir. The film has a superficial ending which some could not accept, but again it's not based on real life and is very well made!!

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