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A stubborn old farmer won't listen to any of his neighbors about how to improve the efficiency of his farm with modern methods, as he thinks "the old ways" were just fine. His three daughters live on the farm with him, and the oldest one, a teenager, has fallen in love with a local boy. However, she knows that she is expected to help her father work the farm and is torn between her love for the local boy and her father's expectations for her to continue working the farm. Written by
Beautifully made, but emotionally puzzling and somewhat aloof...
William D. Russell directs this rather unusual screenplay about a widower farmer and his four children of various ages, who live under their pig-headed father's thumb. Pretending to have a democracy in his family, the farmer--who always gets the last word--doesn't see that his stubborn ways of operating a home and a farm are not always the right ways, and he often comes close to alienating his children with his rigidly unsentimental attitude. Upon moving into their newest ranch house, eldest daughter Marguerite Chapman is wooed by the handsome, eligible local agriculturalist, yet she acts frigid and suspicious of men; we are to assume this is the way her papa raised her, but possibility a more vulnerable approach might have drawn us closer to the character. Natalie Wood is the talkative youngest child, and she pulls off some very difficult key sequences in the film with charm and poise (being voted down by her father when she desires buying two lambs, going to the bank and asking for a loan, and diligently taking her oath after being invited into the 4-H Club). The picture isn't a total success...and for a while there, I wasn't sure what Walter Brennan was trying for as the patriarch; at times he's so stern, he's almost villainous. However, the locations and silvery cinematography are perfect, and there's a dandy of a thunderstorm in which little Natalie finds herself caught. A genuine oddity from RKO, and worthwhile despite its flaws. **1/2 from ****
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