6.4/10
2,784
49 user 6 critic

Raintree County (1957)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 20 December 1957 (USA)
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)
Reviews
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Orville 'Flash' Perkins
...
Garwood B. Jones
...
Ellen Shawnessy
...
T.D. Shawnessy
...
Barbara Drake
...
Bobby Drake
...
Ezra Gray
...
Niles Foster
...
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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 See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Western

Certificate:

Approved | 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

At the time of its release, it held the (dubious) honor of being the most expensive film ever made. See more »

Goofs

After Lincoln's 1860 election, the crowd sings "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". However, Julia Ward Howe wrote the poem, on which the song was based, for the Atlantic Monthly in 1861. 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 Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Cry of Freedom
(uncredited)
Written by George Frederick Root
(1862)
See more »

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User Reviews

Production values crowd out the personal drama
10 September 2000 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

They don't make movies like this any more, thank goodness! This `late MGM' historical costume drama from 1957 has great costumes, rather underemployed big stars, lovely locations and expert cinematography, overdone interior sets, rather ordinary dialogue and a trite storyline. The version I watched ran for about three hours; beautiful as it was, it seemed twice that length. It also lacked emotional intensity and the storyline was telegraphed far in advance, not what you would expect from Dmytryk, the director of `The Caine Mutiny'.

I understand Montgomery Clift (John Shawnessy) had a disfiguring accident during filming and thus he can be forgiven for looking a bit wooden in some scenes. In his mid-thirties, he was far too old for his character who was meant to be fresh out of college. At least Liz Taylor looked right as Susannah (from Savannah), the cracked Southern Belle. Eve Marie Saint as Nell, the hero's `best friend,' spends most of the movie just floating a few inches above the ground. Lee Marvin and Rod Taylor both have parts as eager young men (which they were at the time) and are reasonably convincing, and the British actor Nigel Patrick has a good turn as one of those charismatic/charlatan `professors' who seem to inhabit 19th century American literature.

The civil war and the battle against slavery get some screentime here, but the underlying theme is Shawnessy's search for personal meaning, for the Raintree of life. For him the answer is; find your patch, settle down, marry your own kind (Susannah was a big mistake) and don't run for congress. Ross Lockridge, the original author, a resident of Indiana where most of the movie is set (though not filmed), wrote this single best seller before committing suicide in 1948, and was thus not around to tell the filmmakers what he intended, but Dmytryk at least seemed to realize the story was a rather personal one. Someone forget to tell the set and costume departments.


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