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Another reviewer claims this is a romantic musical comedy, not a
drama--I beg to differ. There are songs, to illustrate the folksy ways
of the Missourians, and there are a few laughs, and there is a romance,
but it's difficult to class anything that includes montages of
barn-burnings committed by hooded men on horseback as a musical comedy.
It's a film worth watching, though, as a post-WW2 look at the post-Civil War era, and how difficult it can be to cool off the high-burning passions of wartime. Johnson plays a vet who wanders into a small Missouri town still smarting with North-South divisions. It's an interesting story, incorporating unusually pointed comments about racial equality; the screenwriter, Lester Cole, was later blacklisted as a member of the Hollywood Ten.
The cast is incredibly engaging, from the dewy new starlet Janet Leigh (who got this part after just three weeks in Hollywood!), to the indescribably adorable young Dean Stockwell, to the complex Thomas Mitchell, to the wonderful character actress Selena Royle, playing Leigh's mother with beautiful emotional range.
This definitely falls into the category of the sort of social-issue picture (like Gentleman's Agreement or Paths of Glory) that led to the blacklisting of so many screenwriters. That alone makes it worth the viewing; the cast will just ice the cake.
Former MGM queen Norma Shearer was vacationing in the Sierras in
California and at a ski lodge took notice of the owner's beautiful
daughter. She thought that she ought to be in pictures and got her old
friends at MGM to give her a look over. They did and signed the girl to
a contract and Janet Leigh made her debut in The Romance of Rosy Ridge.
During the Civil War both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis spent a lot of time worrying about the fate of those border states like Missouri where this story takes place. There was considerable public opinion for both sides and a lot of neighbors fought each other.
Into one Missouri town comes stranger Van Johnson and helps out a Confederate family which lost a son, Marshall Thompson, during the Civil War. Father Thomas Mitchell is suspicious, but his wife Selena Royle and children Dean Stockwell and Janet Leigh take to Johnson right off.
Of course Johnson takes to Leigh right off as well. The people of the area can't seem to reconcile because a whole lot of bad things keep happening and only to Confederate families. Someone has a vested interest in keeping the Civil War going long after Appomattox.
I won't say any more about the plot, but film fans will take one look at the cast and know who's responsible for all the bad things. But also a secret about son Marshall Thompson is revealed before all are reconciled.
The Romance of Rosy Ridge was an auspicious debut for Janet Leigh. You could easily tell what Norma Shearer saw when she served as talent scout for her former studio. Van Johnson gives Janet a lot of support here, very generously allowing her to gain maximum exposure, he seems to have made an effort not to steal any scenes. Van and Janet have a good cast of supporting players as well.
The film has a kind of nostalgic quality like some of John Ford's work. It might have really been a classic had Ford been the director. It's still pretty good as is.
Discovered this Classic Film from 1947 playing on TCM and was very curious about just what this story would present and who was starring in this picture. It was surprising to see Van Johnson in the starring role as Henry Carson and veteran character actor Thomas Mitchell,(Gill MacBean. Janet Leigh was so young looking I hardly recognized her playing the role as a daughter to Gill MacBean, named Lessy Anne MacBean. This was the very first picture that Janet Leigh appeared in and she was very polished and professional even in her first important role of her career. The story deals with the ending of the Civil-War between the North and South and there were strong feelings still among the people in the South and Northerner's who traveled in their communities. Gill MacBean was not very thrilled about having Henry Carson getting too close to his daughter in a romantic way of speaking. Henry Carson wanted to establish a school in the local community and finding acceptance was very difficult for him to establish. There was a very deep secret that Henry Carson kept to himself about their son who was killed in the Civil War. There is Comedy, Drama and Romance and plenty of outstanding acting in this great Classic Film, Enjoy.
I had Turner Classic Movies on. Thought I had seen so many of the old
movies, since I was born in 1941! Had not seen this one before, partly
about post civil war carpet baggers. Nice story using some of the old
fashioned songs and terms from the hills.
Has some commentary about the losses and evils of the Civil War. A very American movie about basic values that could speak to any culture where the people farm and live simple lives full of struggle and hardship, as well as kindness and support.
I did enjoy it, even though I am mostly a special effects fan. Last movie I loved was War of the Worlds.
Typical ending for the times, very upbeat. An interesting look at a much smaller part of the American past than is seen in Gone With the Wind. Janet Leigh was very young in her part!
I really enjoyed this film starring Van Johnson and featuring Janet
Leigh in her film debut. It is set in the Ozarks of Missouri after the
end of the Civil War. The Civil War is over, but being a border state,
there are existing tensions between neighbors who fought on opposing
sides. So the movie opens with the following words: "But peace is
achieved by the goodwill of people, and not by the flourishing strokes
of a pen... "
In this town, everyone is sized up by the color of their britches - blue (Yankee), or gray (Confederate). The war was fought over giving rights to all people, no matter the color of the skin. Now they're fighting over the color of their pants. The harvest has come in, but everyone risks losing their crop in the fields because neighbor won't help neighbor to bring it in.
I liked the cast chosen for the film. Janet Leigh has a fresh, young face in her very first film. She has such delicate features. It's amazing this is Leigh's first film. She seems quite relaxed and natural.The little boy, played by Dean Stockwell - you may recognize him as the crippled boy from "The Secret Garden". The father is played by Thomas Mitchell, who also played the dad in "Gone with the Wind", Gerald O'Hara. Van Johnson is charming as the stranger who wanders in one day - looking for work, shelter and a warm meal - but also has an ulterior motive. He's the right mix of rugged and muscular, mixed in with the boy-next-door approachability. His honest face helps him to pull off his character's purpose (I won't give it away). The mother, played by Selena Royle, is just the right mix of sadness and hope. She is bold to make the first move at the barn dance and asks one of the men from the "other side" to dance. The folk songs are infectious, toe-tapping melodies.
The movie is full of homespun sayings like my grandmother used to say: right as rain, tighter than a gopher hole, wipe the vinegar off your face, "my hunger's powerful enough to lift the lid off the pot",etc. I like the depiction of the sparse and harsh life shown in the film. The location shootings, combined with the sets, create the perfect atmosphere for recreating a bygone era.It's funny when they discuss having a "play" party (a dance where music is played). When it's mentioned to invite everyone from BOTH SIDES in the community, the father says "You can't go mixin' britches!". Hilarious!
My favorite part of the movie is the twist at the end- when there is a fork in the road (Liberty Road), and the truth is revealed. I won't give it away. Some will find it very cliché and a little too obvious. But I liked the use of the fork and what it ended up meaning in the movie.
This was very good story telling, matched with a more than capable cast and adequate cinematography. I don't think you will be disappointed!
I found this movie very uplifting and I believe quite true. My grandmother married my grandfather in almost the same situation. He had come to TX and found her while attending a political rally. They fell in love and married almost right away. Her father, a confederate, disowned her an never saw her again, as my grandfather's dad had fought for the Union. As I was watching it was so well done I felt I was there. Van Johnson and Janet Leigh (even though very young and quite new) was real as it gets. Unfortunately the quality of the film is quite poor, but maybe it will be restored and offered for DVD sale. Dean Stockwell did a fantastic job and should have won an award. Also, Missouri being the state seemed almost real.
I only learned of this film when Janet Leigh mentioned it once and I started my quest to see it. Eventually I was able to buy a 16mm print and see that this forgotten gem is a treasure! Van Johnson, as the wandering stranger and Thomas Mitchell as the suspecting father are at odds. Lovely Ms. Leigh radiates with charm and mystery, as she wants to accept the aid of this handsome young man. Events lead to test the hard felt feelings of this family trying to heal after the bitter War Between the States. In the end, truth, acceptance, forgiveness and love win out. I recommend it highly! THANKS JANET!
The above line is from "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" but a few more
like it would have considerably enlivened this sometimes slow but in
fact worthy post Civil War drama. However,there are at least two other
real winners in the genuine mean style,and even more of the same could
have raised this movie to an eight rather than a faltering seven. For
Exultant Wife:You'll always remember this day!
Husband:As long as you live I will.
Idealist Jonson:I joined this war because no man should be hated for the color of his skin.
Confederate:It isn't about the color of anyone's skin, I hate the color of the pants you wore when you came down here against us.
Jonson:This thing was really about the color of my pants?
Unfortunately,the overall mood of the film is continuously uncertain.At times it is genuinely reflective and well timed ,at others it verges on the maudlin.Eleanor Parker or young Katherine Hepburn would have made a lot more of a hullabaloo with the same unchallenging script;Janet Leigh is simply too sweet and wholesome for words.
Still despite a couple of ridiculous brief musical spurts,there are a whole troop of fine character actors,including Thomas Mitchel,Marshal Thompson(particularly good in the climatic scene) and my old acquaintance the inimitable O.Z. Whitehead. Moreover,Van Jonson,for once,is not studio typecast and does a fine job throughout,particularly with his barn musicale and in the final scene.
All told, not the gem that it could have been but deserving of a lot better than it has ever yet been credited with.Definitely worth a look for any post Civil war buff or a family looking for a good clean afternoon's entertainment that has something to say.
The director here is man of all work Roy Rowlands.And the reason that I am doing this review is that Rowlands previously directed "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes",one of the high points of American family drama. He apparently never remotely reached such heights again.
The script derives from a story by Pulitzer Prize winner McKinley Kantor,a writer who more than once received less than he deserved by Hollywood.
"The Romance of Rosy Ridge" surprised me a bit. While I assumed it
would be a pretty good film given its cast, it turned out to be even
better. It's a wonderful little film and I strongly recommend you see
The film is set in Missouri 1965--just after the Civil War. Rosy Ridge is a sad community because it was a divided town in a border state and folks fought on both sides during the war. Because of this, there is still a lot of acrimony among the locals--with someone burning barns of the ex-Confederates. One guy, Gill MacBean (Thomas Mitchell) has vowed NEVER to have anything to do with anyone who fought for the Union.
One day, a stranger, Henry Carson (Van Johnson) wanders by the MacBean farm. While Gill isn't very friendly, the rest of the family invites the man in for dinner and soon he ends up staying for some time. Now this stranger isn't a freeloader--he works very hard around the place and he's also very likable. However, when it comes to politics, he says very little and Gill cannot figure out which side this young man might have fought for in the war. If he is a Yankee, this is a serious problem for Gill, as his daughter, Lissy (Janet Leigh--in her first film) is falling for Henry. There is MUCH more to the film than this--but frankly it's better if you just see it for yourself. Suffice to say, there isn't much not to like about this film. The acting is very nice (particular by Johnson), the script superb (offering lots of twists and a wonderful surprise ending) and it's a nice look at American history. Exceptional.
By the way, although it's not the same, you do wonder if the film was the inspiration for the "Andy Griffith Show" episode "A Stranger in Town" as there are some similarities.
This film, based on a story by the author MacKinlay Kantor (who was very popular in the 1930s-1950s period), is a delightful change from the urban tales usually emanating from Hollywood. It is possible that the film's title matches that of the original story, but I must point out that Rosy Ridge is never mentioned in the film itself, not that it matters (it is presumably the name of the location of the story). This film is set in the edge of the Ozarks in Missouri in 1865, amidst the seething tensions and hatreds of the locals who fought on the northern side of the Civil War and those who fought for the south. For those who don't know, there were two American states which were forced by the awkwardness of their geographical positions to remain officially neutral in the Civil War, and they were known as 'Border States'. One was Kentucky, whose sympathies were with the South but which did not dare declare for the South, and the other was Missouri, where sympathies were more evenly divided. This film was largely shot on location somewhere like Missouri, and it might even have been Missouri, who knows. There is a singular amount of authenticity to this film, especially in the flowery old-fashioned dialect used by the supporting actors. The script by Lester Cole (1904-1985, his last script being BORN FREE in 1966) therefore deserves a lot of praise, although that dialogue may have been lifted from Kantor's original. This was Janet Leigh's first film, and as the heroine, she makes a fresh-faced, smiling ingénue with doe eyes who leapt into everyone's hearts, and it made her a star. She would eventually appear in 86 films, the last one being released the year after her death in 2004. She was one of America's best-loved film actresses. Janet Leigh's father, somewhat too gruff and over-acted by Thomas Mitchell, is a fanatical Southern sympathiser who hates all Yankees. He and his wife and daughter and young son wait forlornly for the return of the older son, Ben, who may never be coming back from the War, and whose fate is unknown. They are poor arable farmers who live in a log cabin. Their next door neighbours supported the northern side, and they don't speak to one another. There is a lot of barn-burning going on, attributed whether rightly or wrongly to vicious Yankees, since all the barns which are burnt belong to Southern sympathisers. A different complexion is put on this towards the latter part of the film. A lot of Southern supporters are thus driven out and leave Missouri for good, going out West to what are called 'the Territories', which have not yet become the Western and Middle Western states. One evening a mysterious man, played by the ever-cheerful Van Johnson, walks down the lane near the log cabin playing the harmonica to himself and carrying a few belongings over his shoulder. He is clearly a former soldier, though of which army cannot be determined. He strikes up a conversation with Leigh's family the MacBeans and is given supper, then invited to stay the night, and he stays on and helps with the harvest. He and Leigh fall in love. But there are many complications and twists to the story, such as how and why did he happen to turn up at the MacBeans. I don't wish to spoil any of the mystery of this fine country tale, so I say no more. But this is a very wholesome and refreshing story of real country folk which is very ably directed by Roy Rowland (1910-1995), a New Yorker by origin and no countryman, who directed Margaret O'Brien the next year in TENTH AVENUE ANGEL (1948), directed Van Johnson the year after that in the film noir THE SCENE OF THE CRIME (1949), and is best known as the director of the later film noir WITNESS TO MURDER (1954) with Barbara Stanwyck.
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