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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Airs Sun. Aug. 07, 3:00 AM on TCM

Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Nigel Patrick ...
...
Orville 'Flash' Perkins
...
Garwood B. Jones
...
Ellen Shawnessy
...
T.D. Shawnessy
...
Barbara Drake
...
Bobby Drake
...
Ezra Gray
...
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

This film was the first to be photographed in the MGM Camera 65 process; the second was Ben-Hur (1959). Later, the process was renamed Ultra Panavision 70. It involved using a 65mm negative with the addition of lenses that applied a 1.25 X anamorphic squeeze. When projected, the aspect ratio would be 2.21:1 X 1.25 = 2.76:1. However, around 1957 theaters were still showing Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), which forced MGM to release this film only on 35mm anamorphic prints, with an aspect ratio of 2.55:1. MGM used the older CinemaScope format because it allowed for the inclusion of four-track magnetic audio, in contrast to the mono-only audio offered by 2.35:1 optical soundtrack prints. See more »

Goofs

While celebrating Lincoln's election in 1860, the band can be heard playing "Rally Round the Flag". This song was not penned until 1862 by George F. Root. See more »

Quotes

T.D. Shawnessy: [to Flash, who is drinking beer in public] Flash Perkins, don't you know that your body is the temple of the spirit, and you defile and pollute it with that Devil's brew you have there?
Orville 'Flash' Perkins: [Nonchalantly] Why, if you say so, pappy...
T.D. Shawnessy: Why don't you come 'round to our next temperance rally. Come 'round and take the Total Abstinence Pledge.
Orville 'Flash' Perkins: Why, pappy, I'll take that pledge right now.
T.D. Shawnessy: Orville, we want men to take that pledge only when they're sober.
Orville 'Flash' Perkins: But if they're sober, what's the point in havin' them ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of The Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe and lyrics by Julia Ward Howe
(written on 18-11-1861)
See more »

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User Reviews

sumptuous and nostalgic
22 July 2003 | by (st. monica) – See all my reviews

An individual's life is formed by his memories. Books, music and - yes, movies - influence us. We remember the situations and the dialogue, we remember the sweet melodies. These memories enable us to react, as well as give us the ability to identify situations as they occur.

I saw "Raintree County" when I was 15. Orphaned at six, I'd just departed from an orphans home in Dallas, after nearly nine years. Knowing virtually nothing of the outside world, I was receptive to everything, every person that I encountered. That summer of 1958, I sneaked into the Forest Park Drive-In to see Elizabeth Taylor, of whom I knew little, other than that she was a breath-taking beauty, and had been recently widowed when Michael Todd's chartered plane had crashed.

The characters in the movie (when I was 15) were literal, if not visceral: the magnificence of Miss Taylor's satin gowns encased over crinoline, Lee Marvin's sharp, smart-alecky wit, the professor's lechery, Montgomery Clift's Yankee stoicism, Agnes Moorehead's curious detachment, were all primary colors.

Forty-five years have passed. Those primary colors are now a multitude of blendings and shadings of secondary colors. Montgomery Clift's character is now a beautifully controlled young man who reflects his parents' stoicism, a young man whose intelligence and self control are at the core of the film, and upon whom all characters revolve.

Originally, I thought that "Raintree County" was strictly Taylor's vehicle. She is the burr under the saddle, the exquisite seductress that interfers with Clift's heretofore regulated, almost predestined lifestyle upon his college graduation.

'Raintree' is an achingly beautiful film, and Miss Taylor, who is the most gifted in her portrayal of anguished characters, blesses the movie. Norma Shearer could be beautiful in 'Marie Antoinette", but she lacked depth. Betty Davis portrayed Sturm und Drang, but was never a clothes horse. Taylor combines the two.

Having read some of the other's comments, most of whom disliked the story, perhaps it helps to be Southern to truly love this film. And also, one wants to realize that it depicts two diametrically opposed cultures: North and South. When Northern chill mixes with Southern humidity, chaos results. And so it did, and it was known as The War Between the States.

In conclusion, one wants to luxuriate in this film: Lockridge wrote a brilliant story, and for the most part, it is well delivered. It is rich in history and characterization.


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