The fiddle tunes Rip Torn's character plays, and the style in which they are played, are authentic to the region and era. They are based closely on recordings of Cush Holston, an old time fiddler who was from rural north Florida and recorded at an advanced age at a folk festival in 1960. The tune Torn sings is Holston's "Coon Dog," and the instrumental he plays before this is also from Holston, "Have a Hood Time Tonight." The actual playing for the film was done by a Florida old time musician who had studied and researched the music of Holston. See more »
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings:
My journey to maturity began in New York, in 1928. I was married to Charles Rawlings, the newspaper man and yachting enthusiast. I had been trying to write stories that I thought would be most likely to sell - gothic romances were extremely popular - and I had written dozens. I was desperate to express myself. Even as a child I'd been consumed with the desire to be a writer.
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No, I don't think Cross Creek will ever be put up there with Kane or Casablanca, but for some reason I made a connection with this movie the first time I saw it 20 years ago, and it remains one of my favorite films even today.
Every creative person goes through the struggle to find their voice, and Cross Creek is about a city-bred writer who runs away to the country to live an ascetic life with her typewriter. She expects her isolation and alienation to "prod the muses" but instead finds these new people and this new land to draw her in until they and it become the soul of her writing.
The natural, understated tone of the film allowed for a human resonance I've rarely seen in mainstream Hollywood fare. And while Mary Steenburgen and Peter Coyote are perfectly fine, Rip Torn and Alfre Woodard's performances absolutely floored me. They respectively brought Marsh Turner and Geechee to life with such abandon and clarity, it's some of the finest acting I've witnessed on film, period.
I revisit Cross Creek every few years and it always holds up stylistically (Leonard Rosenman's score is timeless). Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings symbolizes America itself, in my opinion, so concerned with pleasing its own, yet progressively exposed to a foreign world that ultimately will shape its real identity.
It's a universally human story and, like I said before, I really connect with this little film, and appreciate Director Martin Ritt's courage in making it the way he did. I can't guarantee that others will necessarily feel the same way, but I always recommend Cross Creek to friends, be they creatives or not.
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