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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
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »
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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THE SOUTHERNER is notable for giving ZACHARY SCOTT his first real chance to shine as a promising new movie actor headed for stardom, teaming him with the always reliable BETTY FIELD as the wife of a dirt poor farmer in this Depression-era saga, uplifting despite the adversity of their situation due to Jean Renoir's fine direction.
"Grow your own crop," Scott, a Texas farmer, is told by his dying uncle. He struggles with his family to do just that--and THE SOUTHERNER becomes a tale of survival against the cruel twists and turns of nature. BEULAH BONDI is the stubborn Granny whose bark is worse than her bite, but she does tend to get annoying in her whining ways.
Working the land and making farmland self-supporting is never an easy matter and it gets plenty of negative treatment here with the odds against the struggling family at every turn. J. CARROLL NAISH and NORMAN LLOYD as hard-nosed neighbors make themselves utterly unlikeable (but believable) as Scott's uncooperative neighbors, unwilling to spare some milk for him when his son is ill. PERCY KILBRIDE comes to his rescue with a rented cow and later becomes his father-in-law, marrying BLANCHE YURKA.
But there are still hardships ahead, including a severe storm that destroys all the crops, serving to emphasize the man against nature theme of the entire story. Everything is destroyed but the human spirit.
Scott, Field and Bondi give heartfelt performances, with Bondi a bit over-the-top as Granny. It's not in the same class with THE GRAPES OF WRATH but it does create a sympathetic portrait of farmers who work the land.
Based on a novel called "Hold Autumn in Your Hand", it stands the test of time largely because of the performances.
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