Jimmy Stewart (playing Charlie Anderson) is a pacifist who has 500 acres in Virginia during the "civil" war. He also is head of a family including six sons and a daughter, and is trying his best to ignore the war swirling around him. This apparently is set in northern Virginia, which borders Washington D.C. (the north) and the Southern forces.
Doug McClure and Patrick Wayne are two of the lesser lights playing supporting roles. The entire cast is well directed and plays their parts well.
A great job of casting, directing, acting, and a wonderful story. Forget the "allegories, allusions, irony, and metaphors." You ruin a picture like this trying to take it apart, or alluding to the political nuances that it is supposedly portraying on behalf of Hollywood propaganda. It is a moving story, and one of the great ones.
As for being "superficial" or "overacted" (one critic's complaint about old and classic movies), I find just the opposite is true. I find those categories better acted, with more depth and honest acting than most of the trash we get foisted off on us today.
Maybe it's just a generational thing.
Joseph (Joe) Pierre
author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
and other books
This is not a movie about violence per se. It is about family and loss, and deals with the notion of trying to be in the world but apart from it and how difficult that can be because the world has a way of rolling over you. The Civil War is the backdrop of this question. Jimmy Stewart's character, Charlie Anderson, is a widower who still grieves for his lost sweetheart. He has a bunch of sons and one daughter. He tries to keep them out of the war, but cannot. His daughter is pursued by Lieutenant Sam (Doug McClure) who fights for the Confederacy. (If both armies are bad to Charlie Anderson - the Yankees are the worse army in this movie.)
My two favorite scenes are the family prayer over the meal where Charlie thanks God for the meal and food while noting without their hard work it wouldn't be on the table. The other is when Lieutenant Sam asks Charlie for Jennie's hand in marriage. Charlie asks Sam why he wants to marry Jennie. Sam say's its because he loves her. Charlie says that isn't good enough. Sam is nonplussed. Charlie asks if he likes her. Sam doesn't get it.Read more ›