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 is a nice slice of life movie about the life about a country preacher in the years immediately following the Civil War. Joel McCrea plays the preacher and Dean Stockwell plays an orphan that is taken in by the preacher and his wife. However, the film isn't just about them but about the people in the town. It focuses quite a bit on a young and somewhat cocky doctor as well as a gentle and beloved Black man (played exceptionally by the wonderful character actor, Juano Hernandez).
Both plots are exceptional--particularly the one involving Hernandez because the film dared in 1950 to attack prejudice--something Hollywood was seldom willing to do at that time. Often, when Blacks were in mainstream films, they were one-dimensional and the racial divide in America was ignored. For 1950, this was a brave film--though some will no doubt notice that the film is perhaps a bit overly idealistic in how it portrayed how the White Southerners generally loved Hernandez.
The plot involving the doctor was also rather touching and had a lot to say about the supposed gap between faith and science. I particularly liked how McCrea AND the doctor struggled with this divide.
STARS IN MY CROWN reminds me of another film that is also about a small town preacher (ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN) and both have a nice gentle spirit but also aren't preachy or saccharine despite being films about the clergy. I especially like how both ministers (in this case, Joel McCrea and in the other film, Frederic March) were human beings--not dull caricatures. Some may be offended because the films AREN'T really religious movies (you get no Gospel or Bible-thumping here) but for a general audience these films are sure to please. I recommend both heartily because they were written so well and the acting was on target. See these films.
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