The Foxes of Harrow is an elaborate filmization of Frank Yerby’s novel. Invested with the polished direction of John M. Stahl, it builds into a powerful drama of an adventurer’s rise to fame and fortune in New Orleans of the 19th century. Exciting story has strong production, vivid developments and helped along with excellent pace most of the time.
Technically, Foxes runs too long. It contains passages at the outset and near the end that appear superfluous. But because there are so many meaty scenes, even the more tedious ones overflow with nice performances.
Rex Harrison, the child born out of wedlock, rises to the heights in New Orleans business even though his first money is won gambling. Plot shows Harrison being put off a Mississippi steamboat for cheating at cards but being rescued from a sandbar by Victor McLaglen, captain of a pigboat. Harrison’s audacity both at cards and with women catapult him to riches. His main ambition is to build another Harrow estate like his mother had known in Ireland. He finally persuades Maureen O’Hara, daughter of one of New Orleans’ aristocrats, to become his wife.
Harrison is perfect as the suave gambler and O’Hara carries the highly dramatic scenes with surprising skill, but it seems a pity that she is not permitted to smile more often.
1947: Nomination: Best B&W Art Direction