A graduating poet/teacher falls in love with a Southern woman, and then the Civil War and her past create problems.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
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Orville 'Flash' Perkins
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Garwood B. Jones
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Ellen Shawnessy
...
T.D. Shawnessy
...
Barbara Drake
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Bobby Drake
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Ezra Gray
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Niles Foster
...
Southern Officer
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Storyline

It's the mid-nineteenth century in Freehaven, Raintree County, Indiana. John Shawnessy has just graduated from high school at the top of his class, with a promising career as a writer. He is a romantic, principled, and an idealist, believing the story of the golden raintree - after which the county is named - growing somewhere, most likely in the county's swamp area, searching for and locating it which would provide all the answers to one's life questions. An idea passed down from his father, John also has a strong sense of place as belonging, and as such there is much anticipation in the probable marriage between John and his sweetheart Nell Gaither, a born and bred Raintree girl. However, there is an undeniable mutual attraction on first sight between John and Susanna Drake, a visiting southern belle. Despite Susanna's temporary stay in Raintree County which means that she and John may not have a future, they eventually do marry out of circumstance, leaving behind a heartbroken Nell... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In The Great Tradition Of Civil War Romance

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Western

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El árbol de la vida  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (Turner Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the Civil War battle footage was reused for " How the West was Won " See more »

Goofs

After Lincoln wins the election, John and Nell say good night in front of John's house. The same wagon with the same people in it pass by them twice in the background. See more »

Quotes

Prof. Jerusalem Webster Stiles: [to John and Flash, sitting in the woods not far from Confederate lines] Comrades in arms, a toast. To all the men who go out and die, and merely because they have the rotten luck to be born one side or another of a mountain or a creek...
Prof. Jerusalem Webster Stiles: [Takes a swig] And here's to sleep...
Prof. Jerusalem Webster Stiles: [Takes another swig] Let's get a good night of it. Because tomorrow, crusader, you're starting a journey, to a new and unknown land: a place called Hell.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Operation Raintree (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Never Till Now
(uncredited)
Music by Johnny Green
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
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User Reviews

Luxurious parts = lumpen whole.
26 May 2003 | by (Portland, Oregon) – See all my reviews

M-G-M assigned some pretty heavy-hitters to cobble together this almost indigestible attempt to tell a Civil War story without a producer like David O. Selznick to insist that the whole thing should somehow come together. Other comments on this site tell the sad story of miscasting, a seemingly unfocused script, apparently disinterested direction and the obvious tragedy of Montgomery Clift's catastrophic automobile accident during production and its effect on all the performances he was to give thereafter.

Elizabeth Taylor is about the only central player who emerges relatively unscathed and her Academy Award nomination was deserved (and certainly more worthy of the Oscar she did win for "BUtterfield 8".)

I bought reserved seat tickets for this before its initial engagement began and the reviewers' generally negative appraisals were available. M-G-M's new big screen process, MGM Camera 65 ("Window of the World" as they termed it, used only once again by the studio for "Ben-Hur"), afforded a handsome showcasing of all the expense lavished upon this production, but, even as a teenager, I squirmed in my seat as its oh-so-lengthy reels unspooled and I left the theater regretting that its makers hadn't somehow achieved something memorable for its quality and dramatic impact, rather than for its longueurs. Johnny Green's score (and Nat King Cole's rendition of the title song) did sound awfully good over the stereophonic sound system at that Beverly Hills, California theater and that's one aspect of this disappointment that is now probably lost forever.


24 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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What is it I don't get about Montgomery Clift? tarmcgator
Did anyone else not like Nell? npaxton-3
DVD??? rlapetina
Musical Score doesn't seem too good. oldmovies
end? michelle_p23
m. clift wasn't looking too good La-z-girl_recliner
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