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Spencers Mountain [Import]

Henry Fonda , Maureen O'Hara , Delmer Daves    Unrated   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Long before Henry Fonda played an irascible patriarch in On Golden Pond, he played an equally crusty family man in this warmly rustic, 1963 drama Spencer's Mountain, based on an Earl Hamner Jr. novel that later inspired the television series The Waltons. Fonda plays Clay Spencer, a fiercely independent, hard-drinking, foul-mouthed Wyoming laborer who believes in God but rejects (to his tiny community's consternation) organized religion. Scraping together enough money to build a new house for his wife (Maureen O'Hara) and nine children, Spencer runs into an obstacle to both his plans and family pride when his college-bound son (James MacArthur) romances the daughter of Spencer's boss. Director Delmer Daves whips up a kind of morose schmaltz out of the earnest material, but it's Fonda's grit and heartland integrity that carry the day and establish some self-effacing wit. Some nice features here, including interviews with Fonda and a short documentary, "Spencer's Mountain: Grand Teton Premiere." --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Before THE WALTONS, Earl Hamner Jr. wrote a novel called
SPENCER'S MOUNTAIN, a fictionalized version of his childhood
in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The film version of
his novel is in general excellent--Henry Fonda is a standout
as tough-but-loving Clay Spencer--but I always thought
James MacArthur was too old to be playing Clay-Boy, and he's
certainly NOT the charming but gawky red-headed kid described
in the novel! Richard Thomas was also older than the John-Boy
character he portrayed on the television series, but he
was made to look like a gawky teenager where MacArthur never
does. (Incidentally, the family on TV is known as the Waltons
rather than the Spencers because after the movie was made
the studio owned the rights to the name "Spencer" so Hamner
had to change it for TV.)
My big quibble with this movie, and the reason I won't rate
it higher, is the character of Claris. In the novel she's a
bold, precocious, but ultimately nice girl--in the movie she
just comes off as a slut. The actress slithers and oozes like
some sort of Lolita-clone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie ,But... April 18 2014
By Therese
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The movie Spencer's Mountain was based on the novel with the same name which was writen by Earl Hamner Jr. Ihave always been a big fan of the TV series, "The Waltons", inspired by the same novel. I purchased the earlier production, starring Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara.to compare it to "The Walton ". I liked Henry Fonda in it but felt that Maureen O'Hara looked too glamorous for her role and the eldest son looked thirty five and too old to be in high-school.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Henry Fonda!! What more Can I say Jan. 26 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A legendary actor who was so good, this movie was good and henry fonda made it better... good movie, I'll watch again for sure
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Jan. 3 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This was an excellent portrayal of how unity and hard work shape the lives of families. Teaching them the values and morals of what a family should strive to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a funny, heartwrenching movie March 5 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is such a beautifully made film. It made me laugh (really hard), then had me on the verge of tears. This is a true look at rual America in the 40's (or was it the 30's). And for a movie made 40 years ago, it has some pretty smart dialogue. Spencer's son has this "loose" girlfreind who's always getting the poor guy in trouble. "Wannna get the dictionary and look up all the dirty words?" she asks the son while she tries (unsuccessfully) to seduce him in the town library. Don't get me wrong there is nothing vulgar about this film. It really is a family classic. Hnery Fonda is in peak form here. A REAL look at family life.
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