Review: ‘The Rainmaker’

The N. Richard Nash play has been fashioned into a solid screen entertainment. With Burt Lancaster turning in perhaps his most colorful performance and Katharine Hepburn offering a free-wheeling interpretation of a spinster in search of romance, the adaptation is a click show all around.

The N. Richard Nash play has been fashioned into a solid screen entertainment. With Burt Lancaster turning in perhaps his most colorful performance and Katharine Hepburn offering a free-wheeling interpretation of a spinster in search of romance, the adaptation is a click show all around.

Nash’s own screenplay stays close to the original, establishing the title character right at the start and then moving into the story of how the smooth-talking fraud pretends to bring rain to a drought-stricken ranch area. It’s humorously and imaginatively done against unusually effective sets.

Locale is the southwestern town of Three Point where Lancaster sets out to pick up $100 on his promise of bringing a vitally-needed downpour. He comes into contact with rancher Cameron Prud’homme and his family, comprising Hepburn as the daughter, two sons, Lloyd Bridges, who’s stern and practical, and Earl Holliman, a clumsy, likeable youngster.

That’s the setup. Lancaster, although he’s obviously a con artist, is permitted to live in Prud’homme’s tack house and work his rain magic. He convinces Hepburn that she’s pretty, and not plain as Bridges insists.

1956: Nominations: Best Actress (Katharine Hepburn), Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

The Rainmaker

Production

Paramount. Director Joseph Anthony; Producer Hal Wallis; Screenplay N. Richard Nash; Camera Charles Lang Jr; Editor Warren Low; Music Alex North; Art Director Hal Pereira, Walter Tyler

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1956. Running time: 121 MIN.

With

Burt Lancaster Katharine Hepburn Wendell Corey Lloyd Bridges Earl Holliman Cameron Prud'homme

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