- 1h 10min
A young boy named Rob Warwick reads chivalrous books about how women should be treated better than how he grew up in the mountains. He goes to the city to get an education. While he is away,... Read allA young boy named Rob Warwick reads chivalrous books about how women should be treated better than how he grew up in the mountains. He goes to the city to get an education. While he is away, his father and a close neighbor friend have made his life change drastically. Rob must de... Read allA young boy named Rob Warwick reads chivalrous books about how women should be treated better than how he grew up in the mountains. He goes to the city to get an education. While he is away, his father and a close neighbor friend have made his life change drastically. Rob must defeat is personal demons (or someone else must) for him to be free of the stereotypical lif... Read all
In addition, contrary to Paramount publicity and to director Karl Brown's memoirs, Stark Love's leading man was not a simple mountain youth. Forrest James (Fob), along with his twin brother William Everett (Ebb), was a three-sport letterman of Auburn University (then Alabama Polytechnic Institute). He later taught high school history and coached baseball before becoming a successful small town businessman. One of his three sons, Fob Jr., became governor of Alabama.
Forrest James acquits himself well in Stark Love, playing the silent style of acting convincingly while displaying his great athleticism in the demanding action sequences. He fights, he rides horses, and at one point he swims a swift, flooding river. Director Brown considered James quite a "find" and Paramount was interested in bringing him to Hollywood.
However, Fob James turned down the studio's invitation. Honoring his mother's wishes, the college sophomore returned to Auburn to complete his education. After graduation, he devoted himself to family, business, sports, and community service. He seems never to have looked back on "what might have been."
A more recent discovery is that the Circuit Preacher is not played by Graham County resident Sim Hooper, as once believed and recounted by local residents in the 1990s. The role is played by a member of the film crew, Karl Brown's right-hand man, Captain Paul Wing.
Wing, a hero of World War I, went on to win an Oscar as Assistant Director for Lives of a Bengal Lancer. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, he joined General MacArthur's staff in the Philippines. At 49 years old be survived the Battle of Bataan and the Bataan Death March. He then brought a camera into the war prison at Cabanatuan and secretly took photographs of the conditions there. In January 1945, Wing and his fellow prisoners were liberated from the camp by U.S. Army Rangers, Alamo Scouts and Filipino guerrillas in a daring action later known as The Great Raid.
This information appears in the following articles I have written about the film and in an upcoming documentary:
"Hollywood Comes to Knox County," Kentucky Humanities, Spring 2010: 29-34. Published by the Kentucky Humanities Council.
"Forrest James, Hollywood's Reluctant Star." Alabama Heritage. Number 93, Summer 2009: 44-53. Published by the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
"Myth and Movie Making: Karl Brown and the Making of Stark Love." Film History, an International Film Journal. Volume 19, 1 (2007): 49-57. Published by Indiana University.
- May 28, 2007