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SO RED THE ROSE is King Vidor's quietly affecting Civil War romance, starring Margaret Sullavan as a Southern aristocrat, the mistress of a Southern plantation, whose sheltered life is torn apart by the War between the States. During the war's darkest days she is sustained by her love for a distant cousin, a Confederate officer, played by Randolph Scott. Written by
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
"So Red The Rose" is a forerunner of "Gone With The Wind" and there are several similarities apart from the Civil War backdrop. 'Rose' is in black and white and does not have the sweep or scope of the later picture. It is somewhat stagebound and takes place entirely on the Bedford plantation belonging to Margaret Sullavan's father, played by Walter Connolly. It is a story of the ante-bellum South which becomes the post-bellum South before the picture is over, and of one family in particular and how they manage the transition.
Like GWTW there is precious little action - one would expect a Civil War picture to have some second unit action, but no. The most we get are a few loud arguments, mostly from Miss Sullavan who is the pivotal figure in the film as Vivien Leigh was in hers. It is mainly a character study with a good, solid story to go with it. There is a sequence in which the slaves of the Bedford's realize they are free, but can't figure out what to do about it. I found it fascinating and gives one pause as to what it must have been like to suddenly find yourself a free man after a lifetime of slavery. This is the type of situation that a master director like King Vidor can bring off - a completely human instance tailor-made for him and which he illustrated in "The Crowd"(1928).
This is a good movie and a good story. I thought it had some touches that GWTW did not - what it doesn't have is length (at only 80 minutes), scope and a PR campaign behind it like the more famous film. But it is well worth seeing in its own right.
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