When the great potato famine hits Ireland, the diaspora begins as thousands emigrate. Among those leaving the Emerald Isle is Katie O'Neill and her husband, who decide that the promised ... See full summary »
The simple told story, based on Corra Harris' biographical book, of a Methodist minister, called to a north-Georgia mountain-community in 1910 who, with his gently-bred new bride, meets the... See full summary »
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Joseph M. Newman
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When the great potato famine hits Ireland, the diaspora begins as thousands emigrate. Among those leaving the Emerald Isle is Katie O'Neill and her husband, who decide that the promised land is South Africa and make their way there. Once there, they discover the hardships that are the reality of the homesteader experience. To complicate matters, Katie meets up with the love of her life, Paul van Riebeck. Will there be betrayal on the veldt? Written by
This is surely one of the Tyrone Power vehicles that's most shown on Italian TV (in fact, it was re-proposed just last week) but I'd somehow never bothered to watch it. Having had a recording of the film for some time, I now opted to check it out as part of my brief tribute to the popular matinée idol on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his untimely demise. Well, I must say that I really enjoyed the film for reasons I'll get to later which makes its absence on DVD more than a little baffling; incidentally, it was the tenth of Power's eleven collaborations with director King (the following effort, THE SUN ALSO RISES , is perhaps the one I'd love to watch most of the star's remaining titles) as well as the second and last in which Power is co-starred with Susan Hayward (after the excellent suspense Western RAWHIDE ).
Anyway, the film is an interesting (and mainly successful) mishmash of genres: part offbeat Western (with a wagon train beset by Zulus rather than Indians!), part epic adventure (even if the widescreen aspect ratio in the edition I watched wasn't quite the full 2.55:1 format of its original presentation), and part 'woman's picture' (despite Power's top billing, he's off-screen for long stretches at a time, so that Hayward emerges as the real protagonist given also that she's involved with three men and undergoes many a hardship during the course of the film). While the plot is thoroughly predictable (and, yet, therein lies part of its appeal), it's made with the customary professionalism one associates with the golden age of Hollywood; thus, we're treated to a handsomely-shot large-scale entertainment complemented by a fine Franz Waxman score which goes from lush to emphatic or rousing, depending on the mood of any given scene.
Among the undeniable highlights in the episodic narrative (which spans several years) are: the opening fox hunt in Ireland, which sees hero and heroine alternating between squabbling and loving; the afore-mentioned ambush of the 'pioneers' in which Hayward's staid husband John Justin is killed; Power (who neglects Hayward through his struggle for the Boers' independence) engaging in a whip-wielding duel with his romantic rival and former best friend Richard Egan (himself lusted after by a young Rita Moreno); Egan having his leg crushed by a tree he's trying to fell (symbolizing Hayward's affair with Power) during a thunderstorm; and the climactic clash between bitter, peg-legged Egan's outlaws and the natives led by the obviously virtuous and rugged Power. The finale, then, has the hero relinquishing (not without a certain remorse) his political career to make up to the long-suffering heroine especially since their past dalliance had borne him a son (with whom he also shares his name) he was unaware of.
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