6.6/10
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Tobacco Road (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 7 March 1941 (USA)
Hillbilly family life in 1941 rural Georgia.

Director:

Writers:

(based on the novel by), (stage play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Dude Lester
...
Ada Lester
...
Captain Tim
...
Peabody
...
Lov
...
George Payne
...
Grandma
...
Chief of Police
Spencer Charters ...
County Clerk
...
Teller
...
Auto Dealer
...
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:

AFTER EIGHT YEARS OF SENSATIONAL STAGE SUCCESS...IT'S ON THE SCREEN AT LAST! (original print ad - all caps) 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:

El camino del tabaco  »

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

Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews get barely 5 minutes of screen time each. Gene gets just half a dozen lines to speak See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Clerk: Look here, son, what do you mean to marry a woman that old? You ought marry a girl your own age.
Sister Bessie: You're trying talk him out of it and I'll start a service right here now.
Dude Lester: Dunno, Sister Bessie there, she sweet-talked me into it.
Clerk: How's that boy gonna support you?
Sister Bessie: The Lord will provide.
Clerk: I'm afraid that ain't gonna be soon, because he ain't gonna get married through this office!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Lady Is Willing (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

Bringing in the Sheaves
(uncredited)
Music by George A. Minor
Lyrics by Knowles Shaw
Sung a cappella by Marjorie Rambeau, William Tracy, Charles Halton and others at the marriage bureau
Played as background music often
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.


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