While it is the simple story [from a novel by Jessamyn West] of a Quaker family in Indiana back in the 1860s, the footage contains just about everything in the way of comedy and drama, suspense and action.
Producer-director William Wyler had the project in mind for eight years and brought the property to Allied Artists from Paramount. Production cost was reportedly over $3 million. Film is without a screenplay credit.
After many warm, beguiling vignettes of family life, story works into its key dramatic point tying onto the Quaker feeling against bearing arms against a fellow man.
Role of the Quaker father, a man touched with gentle humor and inward strength, is glove-fit for Gary Cooper and he carries it off to an immense success. So does Dorothy McGuire in playing the mother of the family. Marjorie Main tops an extremely broad comedy episode involving Cooper’s yen for a faster horse so he can beat a friend to church each Sunday, and three out-sized daughters who go on the make for Cooper’s unworldly son (Anthony Perkins).
Figuring importantly in the way the picture plays is Dimitri Tiomkin’s conducting of his own score.
1956: Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Supp. Actor (Anthony Perkins), Adapted Screenplay [nominee unnamed, because of blacklist], Song (‘Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love)’), Sound