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 ...
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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
Entertaining piece about a stubborn widowed farmer and his children (two girls, one boy and one grown woman) who buys a farm and ignores good advice of how to operate it. Natalie Wood plays youngest child Susan who wants to join the 4-H club and raise lambs. She is inspired by young neighbor Buzz who's success in raising cattle has allowed him to save enough money for college. Walter Brennan plays the father who shames her into thinking that she is selfish to want to achieve individual success outside of the family collective. Natalie gives her usual charming and polished performance and holds the weaker parts of the film together. At times her style is a bit melodramatic, but the film is played so low-keyed, that her over-the-top emotions (a trademark) liven things up. No doubt about it, she is the star of the film. Marguerite Chapman plays the grown child, Deborah Matthews, who is afraid to date the handsome land agent because her father expects her to work the farm and not have a life of her own. She does have some grit and stands up to her father from time to time. The Green Promise is a biblical reference that is delivered nicely by Reverend Benton (Milburn Stone) and drives home the film's themes of putting pride aside and allowing others and themselves to achieve their individual potential. There are scenes of the kids fishing on a fallen tree trunk that are reminiscent of Norman Rockwell and in fact the entire film, written by Monte Collins, is more of a time capsule of the conservative American spirit of that period. It's the type of film Walt Disney made with larger budgets and in color (SO DEAR TO MY HEART, FOLLOW ME BOYS), but the limits of black-and-white film gives it a dust-bowl feel a little inappropriate to the story and setting. Hollywood was filled with Communist themes from such writers as Dalton Trumbo (who penned the similar OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES) so it's interesting to see such a film for contrast. Far from a classic, fans of Natalie Wood, the 4-H club, and films of this type will find it of interest.
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