This is a story about family relationships, set in the time before and during the American Civil War. Ethan Wilkins is a poor and honest man who ministers to the human soul, while his son ...
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This is a story about family relationships, set in the time before and during the American Civil War. Ethan Wilkins is a poor and honest man who ministers to the human soul, while his son Jason yearns to be a doctor, helping people in the earthly realm. It is a rich story about striving for excellence, the tension of father-son rebellion, and the love of a mother that can never die. Written by
The $72.50 for Jason's uniform in 1861 would be the equivalent of $2,010 in 2016. See more »
At the congregation's initial offering meeting, a chicken in a wooden cage is placed on the table. In the next shot the cage has been turned 90 degrees (note the direction of the cage's handle). The basket with the cabbage is also in a different position. See more »
Rev. Ethan Wilkins:
[after Jason has rejected and mocked the old black coat that sister Clarke has donated him]
Pride... Pride and selfishness. They're out of place in our family, Jason. Unless you conquer them they're going to make you unhappy, and those who love you unhappy, too. All you seem to think about is that "doctor book."
Well, suppose I do? I'd rather save bodies than souls any day!
Rev. Ethan Wilkins:
I'm sorry you said that, son. Sorry you mistake that cold frankness of yours for courage. Come outside, please.
Now, wait a...
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Antebellum, or pre-Civil War America, is seldom dealt with in movies. In the studio age it was largely ignored. Of Human Hearts is an exception. Set in frontier Ohio it concerns the rebellious son of a decent but inflexible minister who seeks to be a doctor and learn about the world. He get more than he bargained for after the guns fire on Fort Sumter, and the film traces his life from uneasy boyhood to uncomfortable manhood. James Stewart excels in an early lead role; and as his father Walter Huston is suitably starchy and forbidding. The backlot recreation of early small town America is wonderfully realized by director Clarence Brown and Company. There are some splendid supporting performances by, among other, Beulah Bondi, Charlie Grapewin, and especially Charles Coburn, as the village doctor who likes to drink and who becomes Stewart's mentor. As an historical footnote it's worth mentioning that the film was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the late thirties, and is an atypical product for them, as they were poaching, as it were, on movie territory that one associates with the more folsky Fox studios of the time, and did a rather good job at it, too.
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