The Southerner

Celebrated filmmaker Jean Renoir's "American masterpiece", the story of a young couple struggling to survive as farmers in the heartland of America.
The Southerner
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Format:  DVD-R
sku:  ALP 8148D
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DVD-R Details

  • Run Time: 1 hours, 32 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Released: October 23, 2018
  • Originally Released: 1945
  • Label: Alpha Video

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , , , , &
Directed by

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Renowned filmmaker Jean Renoir shows us the heart and soul of America – in a story as warm and vibrant as the people themselves! Renoir, the celebrated French director of Grand Illusion (1937) and The Rules of the Game (1939), fled his home country after the Nazis invaded in May 1940. Hollywood welcomed him with open arms, but he had difficulty finding material that suited him. Renoir was interested in adapting George Perry Sessions' novel Hold Autumn in Your Hand, but only if he could rewrite the book to fit his sensibilities. Re-titled The Southerner, Renoir's version would tell the story of a poor young couple trying to eke out a living on a small Texas farm during the Great Depression. They face many hardships, including sickness, belligerent neighbors, and a tornado that destroys their crops. Renoir was less interested in in Sessions' narrative than in how he could use it to make a statement about the American people. "What attracted me to the story was precisely the fact that there was no story, nothing but a series of strong impressions," he said. The studio wanted Joel McCrea and his wife Frances Dee to star, but McCrea soon dropped out after clashing with Renoir over the impressionistic screenplay, taking Dee with him. In a puckish move, Renoir then cast Zachary Scott, an actor best known for playing dashing, urbane rogues, like the playboy Monte Beragon in Michael Curtiz's Mildred Pierce (1945). Ironically, Scott actually was from Texas, and with his trademark mustache shaved, made a convincing farmer. More importantly, he was friends with acclaimed author William Faulkner, who ended up helping Renoir with some of the screenplay's problems. Cast as Scott's wife was Betty Field, who had starred in Lewis Milestone's award-winning adaptation of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (1939) with Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney, Jr. Also featured are a fine coterie of distinguished supporting players: versatile character actor J. Carrol Naish, Beulah Bondi (who played James Stewart's mother in four pictures, including It's a Wonderful Life), Percy Kilbride ("Pa Kettle" from the Ma & Pa Kettle series), and longtime Hitchcock associate Norman Lloyd. Premiering May 18, 1945, The Southerner opened to rave reviews, and would be nominated for Best Director, Original Music Score, and Sound at the 18th Annual Academy Awards. Despite this, some felt its portrayal of life down South was too stark. The film was even banned in Tennessee, whose state censor thought it was an insult to Southern famers. Such criticism has long since fallen away, however, and now The Southerner is largely regarded as Renoir's American masterpiece. It's an opinion shared by the director himself, who once wrote to his nephew, the cinematographer Claude Renoir, "The only work which fully satisfied me here was The Southerner."
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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 4,164
  • UPC: 089218814890
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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