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The Southerner [Import]

Zachary Scott , Betty Field , Jean Renoir    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Product Details

Product Description


During World War II, Jean Renoir fled Nazi-occupied France for America and tried his hand at making Hollywood films. This period is generally (and unfairly) dismissed as fallow ground in Renoir's career, but even most of his critics agree that The Southerner is not just the best of his five American films, but a fine example of Renoir's humanistic vision. Transplanting the poetic realism of his French masterpieces of the 1930s to the rural American South, Renoir presents a year in the life of a family of migrant workers who decide to follow their dream of farming their own land. Hawk-eyed Zachary Scott gives the performance of his career as the easygoing but determined father who risks everything to give his family something to call their own, with J. Carroll Naish as his bitter, hostile neighbor. The seasonal structure and episodic nature of the film focuses on the hardships the family faces, finding the rhythm of life between setbacks and victories and the soul of his lovingly created characters through their bent but unbowed spirit. Renoir adapted George Perry Sessions's novel Hold Autumn in Your Hand with uncredited help from William Faulkner. This was Renoir's personal favorite of his American films and the only one to enjoy commercial success. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

In addition to brief biographies, the DVD features Baby Daze, an entertaining but oddly matched comedy short with the master of the slow burn, Edgar Kennedy.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for movie, 3 for DVD quality March 4 2000
By A Customer
Renoir's "The Southerner" captures the gripping poverty of southern share croppers. It has a good story line, beautiful black and white cinematography, and fine acting. In fact my only objection is that the actors did not have much of a southern accent and looked "too pretty" at times for their environment.
This is a film that cries out for restoration, as has been done with the wonderful Criterion Collection DVD of "Grand Illusion". As it is, I rated this 4 stars because of the 2 to 3 star poor condition of the print used...black lines, jumping images at times and poor soundtrack. Well, you can't have everything and would still recommend seeing this movie. Together with "Grapes of Wrath" and "Salt of the Earth", it draws a powerful portrait of the power of a family and human kindness in a struggle against grinding poverty.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The American South As Seen by a French Director Jan. 7 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
If you loved Grand Illusion and Rules of the Game, this movie is probably not for you. Directing in a language and culture not his own, Jean Renoir drifts toward the corny and stereotypical in this melodrama about a desperate Southern farmer and his beautiful wife. The dialog is especially artificial, spoken by handsome, well-groomed actors out of central casting. If you're interested in the authentic southern or Appalachian poor, see Walker Evans's 1930s photographs. Stick with the Renoir movies shot in France.
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By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Most people in our affluent society today have no real concept of what true poverty is. This movie brings the reality home just as "Saving Private Ryan" brought home to us what REAL war is like. My family is from eastern Kentucky and we LOVE this movie because we can relate to it. It also shows how people can be so uncaring about their fellow man, even little children. This movie truly is a "wake up call" to the human psyche. I wish more people would watch it and learn from it.
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