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John G. Adolfi
Sharecropper's son Marvin tries to help his community overcome poverty and ignorance. While working in the general store he learns that the owner has been cheating his tenants. He is in love with owner's daughter, Madge, but sides with the tenants in his threat to expose the planters and their cheating. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Heart-racked by soul-stirring emotions...position and wealth beckoning...A seductive daughter of the rich madly yielding in his arms...The call of his people and childhood sweetheart ringing in his ears...Would you make the same decision as BARTHELMESS See more »
Don't drink, don't smoke... you'll be a preacher yet, won't you Marvin, or something different...? But you'll have to get loose from them.
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Foreword In many parts of the South today, there exists an endless dispute between the rich land-owners, known as planters and the poor cotton pickers, known as tenants or 'peckerwoods'. The planters supply the tennants with the simple requirements of every day life and in return the tennants work the land year in and year out. A hundred volumes could be written on the rights and wrongs of both parties, but it is not the object of the producers of 'The Cabin in the Cotton' to take sides. We are only concerned with an effort to picturize these conditions. See more »
Tale of two stars traveling in opposite directions
This film is probably most important because it showcases two stars - Bette Davis and Richard Barthelmess - whose careers are traveling in opposite directions. Barthelmess actually headlines here, but he is a silent star whose career is on the decline, and he has a hard time getting parts after 1934. Bette Davis is a star on the rise, in only her first year of her contract with Warner Bros. where she will become a major star.
Unlike many silent era stars, Barthelmess' problem was not his voice but his acting style. He was just a little too wooden to turn in a truly dynamic performance, and this film is no exception. The story is pretty interesting - Barthelmess plays Marvin Blake, a sharecropper's son who is educated by the plantation landowner and ends up keeping his books. His loyalty is torn between the planter who is sponsoring him, and whose daughter attracts him, and the sharecropper families with whom he grew up. The planter owns everything and is always charging high fees and interest via the company store and thus cheating the sharecroppers out of what they need. The sharecroppers have cooked up a plan to short the planter some of their cotton and sell it themselves and reap the rewards.
It's really hard to take sides in this film because everyone seems so unsympathetic - both sides are stealing from the other without any remorse or much redeeming value for that matter. It is worth a look if you can find it, although it is not yet on DVD.
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