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The story of a family of Quakers in Indiana in 1862. Their religous sect is strongly opposed to violence and war. It's not easy for them to meet the rules of their religion in everyday life but when Southern troops pass the area they are in real trouble. Should they fight, despite their peaceful attitide? Written by
Olaf Mertens <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gary Cooper originally did not want to play a father of grown children. This was despite the fact that he was 55 in real life. Ironically, many critics in 1956 felt he looked too old to play Jess Birdwell. See more »
When Jess places the butt of the rifle on the ground after letting the Confederate soldier go, the trigger is on the side closest to him in the long shot. In the close shot, the trigger is on the side of the rifle away from him. See more »
Quite Satisfying, With Thoughtful Drama & Many Good Lighter Moments
This fine adaptation of "Friendly Persuasion" is quite satisfying, with thoughtful drama that takes place in an interesting and believable setting, plus many good lighter moments. Though the story ultimately focuses on just a couple of the characters' concerns, along the way it provides an effective overview of their lives as a whole.
Gary Cooper is surprisingly believable in a somewhat atypical role as a Quaker father. Dorothy McGuire is well-cast as the sometimes fretful mother, and Anthony Perkins works very well as the son torn between his family and what he perceives as his duty. Walter Catlett is a bit over-the-top as the organ salesman, but he is entertaining, and his character is used well. In fact, the subplot with the organ is an interesting contrast with the main plot about the war, mirroring a couple of the same themes in a much less consequential context.
The setting in the American Civil War is well-conceived, and the family's dilemmas are portrayed sympathetically and convincingly. It is such a nice contrast with the type of movie that has to make its points through heavy-handed, contrived events, and it offers some worthwhile thoughts without pretending to offer easy, superficial answers.
Besides all that, it's a thoroughly enjoyable movie because of the many lighter, amusing moments. Director William Wyler and the cast work them in nicely with the more serious material, and the film maintains a harmonious balance throughout. It all makes for a very worthy and memorable picture.
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