The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
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An abolitionist John Wickliff Shawnessy drifts away from his high school sweetheart Nell Gaither and enters into a passionate love affair with a wealthy New Orleans belle Susanna Drake but is tricked into marrying her when she falsely tells him that she is pregnant. But even after Susanna tells him the truth his still stays with her out of love. But John soon learns that Susanna is hiding a dark secret which leads her into madness. This madness causes Susanna to flee to the South during the Civil War taking their son with her. John leaves home and enlisting in the Northern Army as his only means to pursue Susanna. Written by
The town of Freehaven of the mythical Raintree County was created in 1956 on MGM's vast Backlot #3 at Jefferson and Overland Boulevards in Culver City, California, by re-designing a portion of an old western set and adding some new buildings such as the Freehaven Town Hall and its clock tower. In 1971, MGM's Lot #3 was demolished to make way for a new apartment and condominium complex which became known as "Raintree Estates," named for this motion picture. Several Chinese Golden Raintrees were planted around the new residential property and many of the complex's streets and buildings were named for various MGM productions. See more »
At the party celebrating Lincoln's election, a guest smears charcoal on some of his face. In the next shot, his face is almost entirely black. See more »
Susanna Drake is among Taylor's most colorful and intelligent characterizations
Liz is a disturbed New Orleans belle with a vision that she's part black She's the beautiful femme fatale to Eva Marie Saint's inevitable cowardly heroine As in "A Place in the Sun," Liz is used as the symbol of a particular social class and a particular kind of woman She sets her mark on an idealistic young man John Wickliff Shawnessy (Montgomery Clift) who's looking for the mythical rain tree that contains the secret of the meaning of life
Trapping him into marriage with the lie that she's pregnant, and then proceeding to lose her hold on her sanity, Susanna detains the good and helpless John for eight years He is released, able to return to his magnificent dream and to his pure childhood sweetheart, only after tragic events
Retaining the essence of Ross Lockridge, Jr. best-seller, the movie states the equality of the unhappy romance with the Civil War: the personal drama is therefore a reflection of the nation's wounds According to the top-heavy symbolism, Susanna Drake represents the South, corrupting and dragging down the North; she's the Body contaminating the poet's Soul
Taylor plays Susanna Drake's character with an intensity that exceeds all her earlier work Montgomery Clift as the unlucky poet and Eva Marie Saint as his high school sweetheart and true love are on the remote side, but the scenes with Liz strike fire in a wonderfully brilliant way
With its battles and its formal balls, its magnificent riverboats and decayed mansions, its bordellos and madhouses, its childbirth and deathbed scenes, and its evacuation of Atlanta, Edward Dmytryk's "Raintree County," like its source, has undeniable epic dimension
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