Right after the Civil War, an ex-Union soldier sets out to become a schoolmaster in his small town, even though many locals still harbor a resentment against "Yankees". He goes up against ...
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Right after the Civil War, an ex-Union soldier sets out to become a schoolmaster in his small town, even though many locals still harbor a resentment against "Yankees". He goes up against the town bully, who both want the same girl, and his troubles multiply when a vicious band of nightriders set out to drive him out of town. Written by
Film Daily, Tuesday, May 7, 1935: Monograms "Hoosier Schoolmaster" will be broadcast tonight over a national CBS hook-up of 89 radio stations across the country. The broadcast is sponsored by CBS's "American School of the Air." See more »
Light And Sometimes Bright, But Too Often Turns Its Back Towards The Original Novel.
Edward Eggleston's novel, an American literary staple widely read well into the 1950s, was filmed three times, this production being the final attempt, a Monogram Pictures venture typical of that corporation's provincial subject matter prior to its being assimilated by Republic Pictures. The rendering here of the original is that wherein its narrative most clearly develops along lines distinct from Eggleston's work, often barely remaining within the Indiana author's figuration. Ralph Hartsook (Norman Foster), a Union Army soldier, is mustered out of service in Virginia at the termination of the War Between the States, and he with a large group of other freshly discharged Northern troops, while still in uniform, trod wearily into southern Indiana in search of alleged land grant opportunities for veterans of which they have been told are based in that State, only to be unpleasantly greeted by residents of the Confederacy supporting region. Ralph, however, utilizes a specific strategy in order to remain within the backwoods area and obtain farm acreage of his own, as he applies for a position as the regional schoolmaster, thereby hoping additionally to persuade a pretty indentured, or "bound" girl, Hannah Thompson (Charlotte Henry) to be his wife. Ralph's native ingenuity serves him well, but after he determines that a trio of prominent community leaders is fraudulently obtaining land grant funds solely for their personal use, his efforts to expose the scoundrels to public scrutiny cost him his personal safety and perhaps a good deal more. In order to infuse the scenario of this melodrama with added romantic appeal, injudicious alterations have been made to the source novel, including a transformation of Mirandy, sister of Jack Means (Jake here) into his daughter Martha (Dorothy Libaire), and mutating a false accusation of theft against Ralph so as to form his primary difficulty, into a failure to win first prize at a spelling bee! Although the film is somewhat shapeless, Foster is in top form, up to his established stage-trained standard, while Libaire is particularly effective creating a coquettish Martha. Alpha Video has provided a service through its reissue of this scarce piece; however, it is probably the worst of its recent releases in quality, marred by continual skips and jumps, along with plethoric elisions.
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