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André De Toth
Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
This film is a rarity seldom seen on cable. It came as a total surprise, but the casting looked intriguing. John Cromwell directed this 1936 film with sure hand. He takes us to meet the river people that populate the banks of the Mississippi, eking a living out of their fishing. The cinematography of Ernest Palmer does wonders to give us a realistic view of the majestic river and New Orleans.
Barbara Stanwyck proves to be the biggest surprise of all, singing and dancing with great verve in a few of her scenes. She plays Pearl, the city girl that comes to marry Ernie Holley, an uneducated man, but who clearly loves her. Joel McCrea is the stubborn man who doesn't realize he has a gem in Pearl.
The best thing though is Walter Brennan, who is Ernie's father and a man that looks forward to a grandchild to dote on. He is a river musician who plays a strange contraption. Mr. Brennan gave a great performance as Newt, who warms our hearts with his simple melodies.
Buddy Ebsen is Buddy, a river boy who loves to dance to the tunes that Newt produces. Tony Martin is perfect as the star of the cafe in New Orleans where he is heard singing some beautiful songs. Katherine DeMille is Leota, the girl in love with Ernie who will do everything to get Pearl to leave her man.
The movie will warm the viewer's heart because its simplicity and the great direction Mr. Cromwell got from this cast.
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