Review: ‘The Southerner’

There is something distressing about the haphazards of the soil's human migrants, and all the squalor that one associates with their condition is brought to The Southerner. An adaptation [by Hugo Butler] from the George Sessions Perry novel, Hold Autumn in Your Hand, this film conjures a naked picture of morbidity. It may be trenchant realism, but these are times when there is a greater need. Escapism is the word.

There is something distressing about the haphazards of the soil’s human migrants, and all the squalor that one associates with their condition is brought to The Southerner. An adaptation [by Hugo Butler] from the George Sessions Perry novel, Hold Autumn in Your Hand, this film conjures a naked picture of morbidity. It may be trenchant realism, but these are times when there is a greater need. Escapism is the word.

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.

This is, specifically, the story of Sam and Nona, and their struggle to cultivate the rich earth of their mid-west farm. It is a farm beset by liabilities, of which lack of money and food are no small factors. Their home is a patchwork of sagging planks and misguided faith.

Zachary Scott and Betty Field give fine performances, as do Beulah Bondi, the grandmother, Percy Kilbride, Charles Kemper and J. Carrol Naish.

1945: Nominations: Best Director, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture, Sound

The Southerner

Production

Producing Artists. Director Jean Renoir; Producer David L. Loew, Robert Hakim; Screenplay Jean Renoir; Camera Lucien Andriot; Editor Gregg G. Tallas; Music Werner Janssen; Art Director Eugene Lourie

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1945. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Zachary Scott Betty Field Beulah Bondi Percy Kilbride J. Carrol Naish Jay Gilpin Charles Kemper
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