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
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T.D. Shawnessy
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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:

 »
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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

Of the many films produced in the very wide aspect-ratio of 2.55:1 from 1953 to 1957, this was the last released at that aspect-ratio; after this, an optional mono soundtrack was added to many films made in stereo, reducing the aspect ratio on them to 2.35:1. However, Ben-Hur (1959), also filmed in Camera 65, was the first film in that process to be released with an aspect ratio of 2.76:1. When MGM filmed "Raintree County" in Camera 65, they were forced out of necessity to release it in the CinemaScope aspect ratio rather than the correct Camera 65 one. 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

T.D. Shawnessy: War is the most monstrous of man's illusions. Any idea worth anything is worth not fighting for.
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Connections

Referenced in Operation Raintree (1957) 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)
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User Reviews

 
Speak of Angels and Hear Their Wings
21 February 2009 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Idealistic Montgomery Clift (as John Shawnessy) is distracted by buxom Southern belle Elizabeth Taylor (as Susanna Drake), and marries her instead of pretty sweetheart Eva Marie Saint (as Nell Gaither). Life with Ms. Taylor proves to be a cursed existence, so Mr. Clift takes refuge as a Union soldier, after the United States Civil War breaks out. Of course, Clift is on the winning side of the war - but, his personal search for happiness, in an Eden called "Raintree County", is a more difficult path to manage...

Clearly, MGM was hoping for something approaching "Gone with the Wind"

  • and, they failed. However, "Raintree County" is not so bad, when


viewed without the comparative eye. The big budget production values are beautiful; the obvious expense, and the cast, helps maintain interest in the relatively weak storyline. And, it does get better, as the starring triad (Clift, Taylor, and Saint) slowly draw you into their lives. Viewing will require some degree of commitment, though; it's a long movie.

Early in the filming, Clift left a visit with friends at Taylor's home, and drove his car into a telephone pole. He nearly died, and his facial "reconstruction" is obvious throughout most of "Raintree County". Clift's performance is uneven, also - but, he was too good an actor to be completely derailed. And, Clift is better than you might have heard. Also, he, does not look as bad as many have claimed. The eventual toll on his "looks" was mainly taken by a growing dependence on alcohol and painkillers.

Taylor, who is credited with saving Clift's life, shows some of the sparkle that would quickly make her one of the best actresses in the business, especially during the film's second half. Nigel Patrick, Lee Marvin, Rod Taylor, and Agnes Moorehead head up a strong supporting cast. Robert Surtees' savory cinematography is noteworthy. And, Nat King Cole sings the Johnny Green title song, a minor hit, very sweetly.

****** Raintree County (10/4/57) Edward Dmytryk ~ Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint


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What is it I don't get about Montgomery Clift? tarmcgator
Did anyone else not like Nell? npaxton-3
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end? michelle_p23
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