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C. Aubrey Smith
Morna Dabney is engaged to soldier Clay MacIvor in the days before the War Between the States. Morna's grandfather Big Sam Dabney founded their Mississippi plantation near Levington, which thrives in the Deep South, but he remains loyal to the Union, as does his son Hoab, Morna's father. As Mississippi secedes, Hoab plans to withdraw the area around his plantation and remain neutral, and he gains support from local newspaperman Keith Alexander. Keith falls in love with Morna, whose fiancé Clay has joined the Confederate Army. Clay plans to punish the would-be neutral citizens of Levington by raiding the area, but Morna, with the help of her grandfather's Choctaw friend Tishomingo, attempts to thwart the attack. Morna sacrifices greatly to protect her home and the man she really loves. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The other comment is quite good in that I can find little with which to disagree. True, there is a weak script, but then, there were a lot of them floating around Hollywood in the late 40s. Van Heflin was one of those actors who was hard to pigeonhole. He could play villains or heros. His role in Patterns was a classic. Here, as the illegitimate son of a "powerful" individual-- we're never told who, he tries to conjure up some of the dash of Gable from years before but winds up looking like a cross between Rhet and Billy Goat Gruff. Susan Hayward's performance is weak, compared to some of her later roles, as is blustering Ward Bond. Whitfield Conner is charming, as he was in the few roles he left us but largely immemorable. And, then there was Karloff: here, out of heavy make-up as a Native American (we called them Indians back then)but still wide-eyeing it and looking mysterious. (I remember as a kid when he gets shot, the audience sighing their disapproval; but the writers snuffed him anyway). All in all, the film is not GWTW, and, in my view nor should it be. It was a bit of late 40s costume fantasy and certainly worth the $.32 I paid to see it in '48. I loved it then and loved when I saw it on the late show, years later. It's entertaining and should not be taken beyond its face value. It does not pretend to be a classic and will not be taken as such. But, I found it entertaining both as a kid and as an adult (or big kid, as my wife insists).
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