Boston pharmacist Tom Craig comes to Sacramento, where he runs afoul of local political boss Britt Dawson, who exacts protection payment from the citizenry. Dawson frames Craig with ... See full summary »
When a stranger arrives in a western town he finds that the rancher who sent for him has been murdered. Further, most of the townsfolk seem to be at each other's throats, and the newcomer ... See full summary »
Viennese surgeon Dr. Braun and his daughter Leni come to a small town in North Dakota as refugees from Hitler. When the winds of the Dust Bowl threaten the town, John Phillips leads the ... See full summary »
In British colonial America, Captain Swanson's adherence to the rules results in Trader Callendar's selling to the Indians under cover of a government permit. Jim Smith won't sit still for ... See full summary »
Construction workers in World War II in the Pacific are needed to build military sites, but the work is dangerous and they doubt the ability of the Navy to protect them. After a series of ... See full summary »
Clipper ships taking the shortest route between the Mississippi and the Atlantic often end up on the shoals of Key West in the 1840s. Salvaging the ships' cargos has become a lucrative ... See full summary »
The Three Mesquiteers convince a group of settlers to exchange their present property for some which, unbeknownst to our good guys, is going to be worthless. They are captured before they can warn the ranchers.
U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee investigators Jim McLain and Mal Baxter attempt to break up a ring of Communist Party troublemakers in Hawaii (ignoring somewhat, as do their ... See full summary »
Kit Madden is traveling to Hollywood, where her best-selling novel is to be filmed. Aboard the train, she encounters Marines Rusty and Dink, who don't know she is the author of the famous ... See full summary »
Young Matt Masters, an Ozark Mountains moonshiner, hates the father he has never seen, who apparently deserted Matt's mother and left her to die. His obsession contributes to the hatred rampant in the mountains. However, the arrival of a stranger, Daniel Howitt, begins to positively affect the mountain people, who learn to shed their hatred under his gentle influence. Still, Matt does not quite trust Howitt..... Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Riding on his horse, Matt Matthews (John Wayne) whistles a traditional English folk tune "The Cuckoo" having been identified by the captions as such. The title of the song has multiple variations, including The Coo-Coo, The Coo-Coo Bird, The Cuckoo Bird, and The Cuckoo Is A Pretty Bird. Lyrics usually include the line (or a slight variation): "The cuckoo is a pretty bird, she sings as she flies; she brings us glad tidings, and she tells us no lies." According to Thomas Goldsmith of The Raleigh News & Observer, the Cuckoo" descended from an old folk ballad; the singer "relates his desires - to gamble, to win, to regain love's affection." See more »
When Old Mat goes into the house at Moaning Meadow and opens the window there are papers (probably sheet music) on the piano. When the camera angle changes the papers are gone. See more »
The bigger the man, the deeper the imprint. And when he's in love, he suffers knowing it's a dead end.
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9* for movie presented (but no stars for failure to present Wright's actual story)
I first saw "The Shepherd of the Hills" outdoor drama when we visited Branson for the first time, in the late 1970's. My family and I were totally unfamiliar with this southwest Missouri area, and this was only a few years prior to the Branson area's "explosion" onto the entertainment scene. It expanded from 6 or 8 theaters, then, with perhaps 5,000 seats, to several times this number today, with more seats than all of Broadway. It's possible there now for someone to attend something like 50 or 60 shows for a month - one every evening and a number of breakfast or matinée performances - and never see the same one twice, with additional ones available if one wishes to begin a second month.
From earlier days, and continuing today, two of the cornerstone attractions in the Branson area are Silver Dollar City theme park (modeled after an 1880's silver mining complex, but with 21st-century New York City or Hollywood pricing) and The Shepherd of the Hills farm, the original cabin, the large outdoor amphitheater which presents a lavish production of the story, a restaurant, gift shop, etc. They also have all the information about characters upon whom the book is based, and Harold Bell Wright, that one could possibly want to know (and then some!).
This film's "version" of the book and story is well-played, the scenery well-photographed (especially since footage was done 65 years ago), and the characters interesting. However, the story here represents the book about as well as if John Wayne's film, "Red River," had been presented with this title and its characters renamed to coincide with this story.
First, the elder Mathews were not a female moonshiner and her wimpy husband. They were leading citizens, operated the mill, and were an asset to their rural community and their fellow residents.
Young Matt and Sammy, as a "couple", were more like characters from "The Waltons" than those portrayed. The "Shepherd" was also a model citizen-type, no gunfighter or ex-con, and was no relation to Young Matt whatever.
Actually, the Shepherd was the father of the young man who had fathered the mentally-challenged young Pete, the son of the Mathews' late daughter. His son had loved her, had returned East not realizing he had left her pregnant, and was prevented by his father (the Shepherd) from returning, and subsequently disappeared.
The Shepherd had come to the area to view the situation and attempt amends. During the actual book (and the drama as still presented in Branson today) the unknown "specter" character appears throughout, is shot, and dies, but before passing, is discovered to be the Shepherd's lost son, and there is a heartfelt resolution of matters towards the end.
The Shepherd also achieves rapprochement with Old Matt, who had threatened mayhem should he ever encounter the man he blamed for his daughter's broken heart and death.
Wash Gibbs is a nefarious character, with designs upon Sammy, and a rival of Matt - in both versions - but in the book he is still a "Baldnobber" and gangster. The "Baldknobbers" were vigilantes who had done worthy things for the citizenry in the post-Civil War period, with carpetbaggers and others attempting to plunder the areas - but like a lot of such groups, when there was no further need for their good works, they turned their prodigious physical strengths to illegal, self-serving ends.
Several interesting, key characters from the novel are missing from this film; e.g., Jim Lane (Sammy's father) is more of a key element than shown here. And the Marjorie Main character, with the over-the-top scene where she regains her sight, represents no key element of Wright's story. The name "Moanin' Meadow," and its representation in the movie have no part in Wright's book. While in both presentations, the characters were simple "hill folk," neither sophisticated nor educated - the film provides many with a far greater "bumpkin" image.
Again, this is an excellent film, but I would have enjoyed even more seeing the same characters presented as actually portrayed by Wright.
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