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 newly restored version of RAINTREE COUNTY contains a short studio-created documentary on its filming, the original wide screen trailer and wide-screen renderings of the main title, the restored overture, intermission screen, and entr'acte - and yet runs the film itself in conventional tv screen dimensions (go figure !!!). None of the fifteen restored minutes is of any added value (scenes that follow these are somewhat illuminated by the footage but one has all the information one needs to understand the scene without what went before). Oddly enough it is obvious even to those who don't know the general release print by heart when the insertions occur - the film changes its look from bright and colorful to grainy, washed out and somewhat out of focus (So the wizards couldn't be bothered to restore the missing footage to the same pristine effect as the previously released footage?). The scenes with Clift that are pre-disfiguring accident are obvious here: a: scene with parents in kitchen; b: street scene with Marvin and early race attempt; c: with Taylor in the photo parlor; d: the race itself; e: the confession scene. Watch the face itself and listen to the voice - the wide smile is no longer possible after the surgery and the voice is constricted and tending towards a mumble, possibly due to the pain medication he was taking at the time. For the record - restored scenes: Cornfield scene; Father's illegitimacy confession; Drake's attack on negro slave; Clift and paper editor re job; childbirth sequence; scenes in Indianapolis looking for Taylor (including Rod Taylor/photographer); discussion of politics with Rod Taylor and Patrick; Taylor gathering of dolls in attic. One is struck by the marvelous supporting work of Nigel Patrick - I still think he deserved an Oscar nom for this performance. Elizabeth Taylor is still impressive in her first Oscar nominated role. Clift seems wooden. The Oscar-nominated sets, costumes and score still seem worthy. Note that the age of the child as cast is anachronistic - the war would have already been over by the time it starts in the film.
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