Poster for The Southerner

The Southerner

1945, Drama, 1h 31m

14 Reviews 500+ Ratings

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Movie Info

In this rural drama, Sam Tucker (Zachary Scott) is a Texan cotton picker who aspires to run his own farm and create a better life for his family, which includes two kids and the irritable Granny Tucker (Beulah Bondi). Aided by his beautiful wife, Nona (Betty Field), Tucker begins to work a neglected plot of land, but numerous difficulties arise, including bad weather and conflicts with jealous neighbors, making it hard for the Tuckers to get ahead.

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Critic Reviews for The Southerner

Audience Reviews for The Southerner

  • Mar 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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 05, 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.
    Adam M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 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.
    Cindy I Super Reviewer
  • Jan 03, 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.
    cody f Super Reviewer

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