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James Earl Jones,
After his mother's death, Collin Fenwick goes to live with his father's cousins, the wealthy, avaricious, and controlling Verena Talbo, and her compliant, earthy sister Dolly. When a city slicker comes to town and convinces Verena to market Dolly's locally-famous tonic, Dolly finally gets some backbone, refuses to divulge the formula, and heads for a tree house with Collin and Catherine, the loyal maid. Verena, who has most of the town in her pocket, sics the law on the renegades. Dolly, Catherine, and Collin find a supporter in a retired judge, Charlie Cool, who's attracted to Dolly. Will Verena's venom win out? And what about that city slicker? Written by
Directed by Walter Mathau's son Walter, this is a superb adaptation of on one of Truman Capote's best stories about how Southern misfits in the 1930's help each other survive. Both Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek, as the wealthy Talbo sisters, are perfectly cast and neither has ever been better. Walther Mathau, under his son's direction, in his most sympathetic roles, plays a retired judge. Every member of the spectacular cast is completely understandable: Jack Lemon and Mary Steenburgen are a pair of hilarious but unrelated con-artists. Nell Carter is the Talbo sister's very feisty cook, Joe Don Baker is the bumbling sheriff, Charles During the preacher, and Roddy McDowall is the gossipy barber. Look for Doris Roberts (Ray Romano's 'mom') as Mrs. Richards and for the director himself, Charles Mathau, as a barbershop regular.
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