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Erich von Stroheim,
Mary Beth Hughes,
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Fifteen years after the Civil War the people of Bowden, Alabama still hate Marcus Hubbard for wartime profiteering. He's also at odds with wife Lavinia and his sons, conniving Ben and weak Oscar; but beautiful daughter Regina gets all she wants from him. Conflicts intensify when Regina gets involved with John Bagtry, scion of the old gentry, and Oscar with the Ku Klux Klan; on a stormy night, family relationships unravel. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
If you think that the Hubbard's of "The Little Foxes" were decadent , then you will see that they have mellowed , compared to this fantastic prequel , also written by the wonderful Lillian Hellman. The cast works extremely well together . This is the only movie that i know of where Fredrich March plays a villain (Jekyll and Hyde doesn't count) and does he do it to the limit . During a night of musical entertainment in is home, he cruelly insults and humiliates one of his guests, his son's (Duryea) girlfriend, by insinuating that her father played Mozart on a little drum. The girl had said that her father played a little drum and at Duryea's insistence drew attention to Mozart in an attempt to please patriarch Hubbard. The humiliation comes complete with facial disdain and tone of voice that only the cruelest of men could provide . The rest of the family with the exception of Hubbard's wife played by the real Mrs.March (Florence Eldridge) is each in their own way a monster . Edmond O'Brien is wonderful as the "chip off the old block" son , and Dan Dureyea is a great contrast as the half fool and half idiot other son. Ann Blyth who plays daughter Regina is captivating as the only one in the world to whom patriarch Hubbard shows any affection . To state any more of this father daughter relationship would reveal to much of the story in the event you are privileged to see this magnificent film . This film is just one of those cases when a chemistry between the cast was achieved , and the result is riveting . This chemistry is in no small way attributable to the great March , who was able to weave a similar magic in "The Best Years Of Our Lives" . Unfortunately my attempts at seeing this movie again , have failed . It seems as though it has disappeared and if it has , it is a shame . This film is a horror story , where the monsters are human beings . They wear no gruesome masks (exept in one Klu Klux Clan scene) or torment anyone Freddy Kruger style . Their horror and ours , is in men and women's souls .
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