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Tobacco Road (1941)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  7 March 1941 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,218 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 8 critic

Shiftless Jeeter Lester and his family of hillbilly stereotypes live in a rural backwater where their ancestors were once wealthy planters. Their slapstick existence is threatened by a ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(novel), (play), 1 more credit »
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Title: Tobacco Road (1941)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Marjorie Rambeau ...
Sister Bessie Rice
...
William Tracy ...
Dude Lester
Elizabeth Patterson ...
Ada Lester
...
Capt. Tim Harmon
...
Henry Peabody
...
Lov Bensey
...
George Payne
Zeffie Tilbury ...
Grandma Lester
Russell Simpson ...
Chief of Police
Spencer Charters ...
County Clerk
Irving Bacon ...
Teller
Harry Tyler ...
Auto Dealer
Charles Halton ...
Mayor
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Storyline

Shiftless Jeeter Lester and his family of hillbilly stereotypes live in a rural backwater where their ancestors were once wealthy planters. Their slapstick existence is threatened by a bank's plans to take over the land for more profitable farming; subplots involve the affairs and marriages of son Dude and daughter Ellie May. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

ON THE SCREEN AT LAST! The Picture you've waited eight years to see...Picturized by the men who gave you "GRAPES OF WRATH" See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 March 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La route au tabac  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Broadway play by Jack Kirkland based on Erskine Caldwell's novel opened 4 December 1933 and set a record for longevity on Broadway when it closed on 31 May 1941 after 3,281 performances. It was revived on Broadway twice in the next two years, bring its total running time there to nearly ten years (1933-1943). Opened at the Theatre Masque and then moved to the 48th Street Theatre followed by the Forrest Theatre for the original production. The play was revived in 1942, 1943 and 1950. The original Broadway production is the seventeenth longest running show ever as of February, 2013. See more »

Goofs

The morning following a torrential rain storm, dirt roads are absolutely dry. See more »

Quotes

Lov Bensey: I want a young wife. I ain't gonna take no 23 year old woman for a wife, have everybody laughin' at me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Green Acres: Arnold, Boy Hero (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Sweet Bye and Bye
Music by Harry von Tilzer
Lyrics by Vincent Bryan
Sung a cappella by Marjorie Rambeau
Reprised by her, Harry Tyler and others at the auto dealer's
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Disappointing film version of Broadway success...
1 June 2012 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

It's hard to even understand why TOBACCO ROAD was such a long-running success on the Broadway stage. Fox has taken the play, cut all of the more sizzling elements that made it intriguing, and reduced it to a tale of dirt poor farm folk too shiftless to make a living off the land with the accent on comedy rather than focusing on a few of the more poignant moments.

It's certainly a disappointment to find Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney totally wasted in small roles early in their careers at Fox. Tierney, especially, has little to do but say a few lines and look as unscrubbed as possible. It's really an embarrassment to watch her in this role.

Overacting is in abundance, particularly from William Tracy as the imbecilic son, Dude, who is crazy from start to finish (with Ward Bond delivering him a well-deserved punch at the finale). Marjorie Rambeau as a gospel-singing fanatic overacts too and even Ward Bond is irritating at times.

But in the central role of the shiftless farmer who spends the whole story trying to devise ways to save his land with a $100 down payment, Charlie Grapewin gives a fine, nuanced performance, slipping easily from comedy to drama without a strain. Elizabeth Patterson tries to give some dignity to the role of his equally downtrodden wife.

John Ford's uninspired direction is largely responsible for the lackluster overall impact of the film, based on the play taken from an earthy Erskine Caldwell novel. Whatever elements made the play so enormously successful have been eliminated in Nunnally Johnson's screenplay.

Summing up: A huge disappointment on many levels although it contains some striking B&W photography.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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