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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Indiana Wants Norman Foster, 5 October 2010
Author: wes-connors from Earth
Following the United States Civil War, peace-loving veteran Norman
Foster (as Ralph Hartsook) gets a job as schoolmaster in a small
Indiana town. The rural residents are initially impressed by Mr.
Foster's strength in spelling. But, locals aren't as interested in the
meaning behind Foster's "big words." Quoting martyred President Abraham
Lincoln, Foster begins work in a log cabin schoolhouse. While his
"Yankee" ways rub male residents the wrong way, Foster's well-mannered
handsomeness arouses slavery blonde Charlotte Henry (as Hannah
Thompson) and giggly débutante Dorothy Libaire (as Martha Means).
Foster proves his worth by standing up to the young man who becomes his symbolic nemesis, muscular rail-splitter Fred Kohler Jr. (as Bud Larkin). Alas, the newfound chums find themselves both in love with the feisty Ms. Henry, a "bond girl" (like an indentured servant) who had been considered Mr. Kohler's girlfriend until Foster arrived in town.
"Monogram" created a nice outdoorsy little town for this updated version of writer Edward Eggleston's "down home" best-seller. The cast is a lot of fun. Leading man (and future successful director) Foster was (at the time) married to Claudette Colbert. Cute little brother Tommy Bupp (as Shocky) and veteran Otis Harlan (as Squire Hawkins) have relatively good career roles. Also watch for tall, teenaged Wallace Reid Jr. (as Hank); he was, of course, the son of silent screen superstar Wallace "Wally" Reid. And, you won't miss the very talkative George "Gabby" Hayes (as Pearson) in the opening minutes.
***** The Hoosier Schoolmaster (5/15/35) Lewis D. Collins ~ Norman Foster, Charlotte Henry, Fred Kohler Jr., Tommy Bupp
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Light And Sometimes Bright, But Too Often Turns Its Back Towards The Original Novel., 22 April 2007
Author: rsoonsa (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Mountain Mesa, California
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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