Captain Wade Hunnicutt is the wealthiest and most powerful citizen in his Texan town; he is also a notorious womanizer, which has turned his wife Hannah against him. She has brought up ... See full summary »
Captain Wade Hunnicutt is the wealthiest and most powerful citizen in his Texan town; he is also a notorious womanizer, which has turned his wife Hannah against him. She has brought up their son Theron to be dependent upon her; but as he reaches adulthood, Hunnicutt insists on taking over his upbringing, initiating him in hunting and other masculine pursuits, under the watchful eye of Rafe, Hunnicutt's loyal employee. But Theron's new lifestyle leads him into a love-affair with a local girl, and thence to his learning things about his parents that were previously hidden from him. Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
In 1960s Texas, real estate tycoon Robert Mitchum ("Captain" Wade Hunnicutt) is wounded, by the husband of one of his many feminine conquests, during a hunt. Young handy-man George Peppard (as Raphael "Rafe" Copley) comes to Mr. Mitchum's aide. Nobody talks about the fact, but Mr. Peppard is Mitchum's 22-year-old illegitimate offspring. Mitchum employs Peppard, but does not officially recognize him as a son. Mitchum's "legitimate" son and heir is gangly good-looking 17-year-old George Hamilton (as Theron Hunnicutt). Peppard chain-smokes, swings a rifle, and does other manly things. Mitchum beds women.
But, young Mr. Hamilton is known as a "mama's boy." He gets his main nurturing from mother Eleanor Parker (as Hannah). Though still sexy, Ms. Parker keeps her bedroom door locked. The film top-bills Mitchum and Parker, but deals mainly with the "coming of age" story concerning Hamilton's character, how it effects others in the cast, and uncovers buried emotions. Described as "wet behind the ears," Hamilton is taught how to hunt "like a man" by brotherly Peppard. Then, he is encouraged to ask pretty Luana Patten (as Elizabeth "Libby" Halstead) out for a date. Hamilton figures out what to do with her on his own...
Beautifully adapted by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr., from a William Humphrey story, "Home from the Hill" is a surprisingly effective indictment of illegitimacy. Director Vincente Minnelli manages the material exceptionally well, bringing the characters and situations to life; this is absolutely necessary, since the basic story is very often told. Known mostly for his musicals, Mr. Minnelli received award nominations from the "Director's Guild" and "Cannes Film Festival".
His theatrically poetic performance won Peppard a "Supporting Actor" award from the "National Board of Review". This group placed the picture at #7 for the year and gave Mitchum a combined "Best Actor" award for "The Sundowners" and "Home from the Hill". Peppard was also nominated by the British Academy and "Film Daily" in supporting and newcomer categories. The later noted Ms. Patten in the juvenile category, but "The New York Film Critics" polled her at #8 as "Best Actress".
In the critics' mind, Hamilton seemed to be playing second fiddle to Peppard, but he had just received similar accolades, for "Crime & Punishment, USA" (1959). Hamilton makes you believe he is the naive teenager he is playing. Watch Hamilton in the scene he plays with mother Parker, after several hours on a picnic with girlfriend Patten. From the moment he walks in the door, Hamilton leave you with no doubt about what the couple has been doing. Now, that's "method" acting.
******** Home from the Hill (3/3/60) Vincente Minnelli ~ George Hamilton, Robert Mitchum, George Peppard, Eleanor Parker
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