Civil War veteran Josiah Grey comes to a small town to be a gospel minister. In time he has a family and many friends, but he also finds friction with a few of his parishioners. A young ... See full summary »
Civil War veteran Josiah Grey comes to a small town to be a gospel minister. In time he has a family and many friends, but he also finds friction with a few of his parishioners. A young doctor grates at what he feels is the parson's interference in the scientific treatment of patients, and a mine owner resents Grey's protection of an old sharecropper whose small plot of land stands in the way of his continued mining. Grey must face a public health crisis and a lynch mob as a result, all seen and described through the eyes and memory of Grey's young nephew John. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
STARS IN MY CROWN (1950): with Joel McCrea, Ellen Drew, Dean Stockwell, Alan Hale, Lewis Stone, James Mitchell, Amanda Blake, Juano Hernandez, Ed Begley, Arthur Hunnicutt and James Arness, directed by Jacques Tourneur. Rating: **** stars. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
One of the most beautiful and touching films I have seen in the last year or so. If "Stars in my Crown" doesn't move you, you have a heart of stone. Joel McCrea - radiating sincerity, integrity and goodness, plays Pastor Josiah Grey, a Protestant minister who was a soldier in the Civil war. He arrives in the small town of Walesville, strides into the bar, puts his six guns guns on the counter and preaches a sermon. And of course he never puts those guns on again. Josiah builds a church, marries Harriet (Ellen Drew) and adopts his nephew John (Dean Stockwell).
Trouble rears its head when Lon Bracket (Ed Begley) tries to buy the former slave, Uncle Famous Prill's (Juano Hernandez) land because he wants to mine it. Uncle Famous refuses to sell and an angry Lon sends a bunch of bullies to destroy the place. But the Swedish farmer Jed Isbell (Alan Hale) - a friend of Josiah's who doesn't attend church, and his six boys turn up to fix the farm.
Later, a typhoid epidemic strikes the town and young doctor Dr. Harris (James Mitchell) attends to the sick and dying while Josiah attends to their souls. This annoys the doctor, who persuades Josiah that he is responsible for spreading the disease. He's wrong, but Josiah, feeling guilty, closes his church and starts staying indoors. Meanwhile, Lon gathers the Klu Klux Klan and prepares to lynch Uncle Famous. Jed and his sons are ready to shoot it out with the Klan, but Josiah has another plan.
At times, this lovely, heartwarming film reminded me of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and I was surprised, considering when it was made, at how strongly it stands against racism and supports Civil Rights. I also enjoyed the fact that Josiah Grey never talks about the supernatural. If only there were more preachers like him in the world. He is a good man through and through.
Jacques Tourneur is a terrific director and I have enjoyed many of his films, but this is the best one I have seen yet. Now wonder he wanted to make it so badly that he was prepared to accept a minimal salary. It's a gentle, yet powerful classic. The final stand off between Josiah Grey and the Klan, BTW, is unforgettable.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?