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Sam Tucker, a cotton picker, in search of a better future for his family, decides to grow his own cotton crop. In the first year, the Tuckers battle disease, a flood, and a jealous neighbor. Can they make it as farmers? Written by
George S. Davis
Every time I get plumb wore out, I think about you and Jotty and Daisy, and I ain't quite so tired anymore.
Aw Sam... I just never could get along without you.
Me too, honey. I couldn't live without you.
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Renoir was still a master and had definitely not lost his touch when he made this saga about a year in the life of a desperately poor farming family trying to make it. The only thing that mars it, keeping it from rating a 10, are the cutesy-poo children and the saccharine music on the soundtrack, making it perfectly clear exactly how you were supposed to feel at any given moment. I suppose these were necessary nods to Hollywood conventions of the time. Kudos must go to Zachary Scott for the courage of his performance in the lead. An underrated actor, Scott was nearly always cast playing lounge lizards and other assorted slimeballs. Here he appears without his mustache and is almost unrecognizable. Given that Scott aspired to a career as a Gable-type leading man, this role was not a good career move. But it is definitely the performance of his career, and along with the equally outstanding performance of Betty Field, makes the film. Incidentally, I could have done without the over the top performance of Beulah Bondi as Granny; throughout the film I kept hoping Scott would strangle her.
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