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The Farmer's Wife (1928)

After his daughter weds, a middle-aged widower with a profitable farm decides to remarry, but finds choosing a suitable mate a problematic process.


Alfred Hitchcock


Eden Phillpotts (play), Eliot Stannard (adaptation)

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Complete credited cast:
Jameson Thomas ... Farmer Sweetland
Lillian Hall-Davis ... Araminta Dench, His Housekeeper (as Lilian Hall-Davis)
Gordon Harker ... Churdles Ash, His Handyman
Gibb McLaughlin ... Henry Coaker
Maud Gill Maud Gill ... Thirza Tapper
Louie Pounds Louie Pounds ... Widow Windeatt
Olga Slade Olga Slade ... Mary Hearn, Postmistress
Ruth Maitland Ruth Maitland ... Mercy Bassett
Antonia Brough Antonia Brough ... Susan
Haward Watts Haward Watts ... Dick Coaker
Mollie Ellis Mollie Ellis ... Sibley Sweetland


Farmer Sweetland is a lonely old widower. He is determined to marry again and he enlists the help of his housekeeper Minta to pick a wife from the local single women. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 January 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La esposa del granjero See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(2012) (theatrical) | (2012 restoration)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to Sir Alfred Hitchcock in the famous interview held in 1966 by François Truffaut, the play by Eden Phillpotts, on which this movie was based, was reached to stage one thousand four hundred times in London. See more »


When Farmer Sweetland and Minta are embracing, Sweetland's hands are all the way around her in one shot then just on her arm in the next shot. See more »


[first lines]
Sibley Sweetland: ...and don't forget to air your Master's pants, 'Minta.
See more »


Referenced in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Charming Semi-Romantic Comedy, From ... Alfred Hitchcock!
15 May 2001 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

"The Farmer's Wife" is a charming rustic, semi-romantic comedy from the silent picture era. Without seeing the credits, you might never guess that it was made by the "Master of Suspense", Alfred Hitchcock - but if you know who the director was, it is easy to see the masterful touches Hitchcock was known for.

The story is a simple one. Farmer Sweetland (Jameson Thomas) has lost his beloved wife some time ago, and comes to decide that he should marry again. He methodically evaluates, and plans to propose to, all of the eligible women he can think of. But all the while he overlooks the best, and obvious (to the audience) choice: his devoted housekeeper Araminta (Lillian Hall-Davis, who is charming in the role). "Minta" is far wiser, sweeter, and prettier than the other candidates, and she also cares for Sweetland in a way they never will. The plot, therefore, revolves around whether he will figure this out before he gets stuck with an unsuitable mate instead.

Hitchcock applies the creativity and attention to detail that he would later use in his great suspense films, and makes out of a simple plot a movie that is very funny, and also at times quite touching. A great deal of the characters' feelings and thoughts are communicated without dialogue cards, through masterful silent camera work. The most powerful recurring image is a pair of chairs near the fireplace, where Farmer Sweetland had obviously spent many happy hours with his dear departed first wife. Early in the film, as he hosts a wedding dinner for his daughter, he begins to look longingly at the chairs, and we know what he is thinking even before the dialogue cards tell us. As the film proceeds, we occasionally come back to the fireplace, and eventually "Minta" begins to sit with him by the fireplace, sympathizing and helping with his disappointed matrimonial projects. The suggestion is obvious to everyone but Sweetland.

In the lead role, Thomas responds to Hitchcock's direction, sometimes making his character appear somewhat ridiculous in his miscalculated plans, and at other times evoking our complete sympathy and pity for his loneliness. The rest of the cast works very well too, especially Gordon Harker, whose expert comic timing plays wonderfully in the role of Farmer Sweetland's handyman.

There is one long, hilarious comic sequence, at a house party hosted by one of Sweetland's prospective mates, and you have to watch it two or three times to catch all of the detail Hitchcock packed into the sequence. The rest of the movie is filled with lighter comic touches, and concentrates on giving us a surprisingly tender look at the characters' lives.

Hitchcock fans should take delight in seeing how the master used his talents in such a different genre, and any fan of romantic comedies who is willing to try a silent film should also enjoy "The Farmer's Wife".

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