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Swamp Water (1941)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 30 April 1942 (Uruguay)
Attempting to find his lost dog in a vast Georgia swamp, Ben Ragan stumbles upon wanted murderer Tom Keefer who convinces Ben he was framed for the murder by the real killer.

Directors:

Jean Renoir, Irving Pichel (uncredited)

Writers:

Vereen Bell (novel), Dudley Nichols
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Brennan ... Tom Keefer
Walter Huston ... Thursday Ragan
Anne Baxter ... Julie
Dana Andrews ... Ben
Virginia Gilmore ... Mabel MacKenzie
John Carradine ... Jesse Wick
Mary Howard ... Hannah
Eugene Pallette ... Sheriff Jeb McKane
Ward Bond ... Tim Dorson
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Bud Dorson (as Guinn Williams)
Russell Simpson ... Marty McCord
Joe Sawyer ... Hardy Ragan (as Joseph Sawyer)
Paul E. Burns ... Tulle McKenzie (as Paul Burns)
Dave Morris Dave Morris ... Barber
Frank Austin ... Fred Ulm
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Storyline

A hunter happens upon a fugitive and his daughter living in a Georgia swamp. He falls in love with the girl and persuades the fugitive to return to town. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Swamp! Sinister - mysterious - it shaped the lives and loves and hates of the people who lived around its edges!!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 April 1942 (Uruguay) See more »

Also Known As:

El pantano de la muerte See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$601,900 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film received quite a cool reception from critics. See more »

Goofs

The first shot has the camera backing up behind a skull marker in the swamp to reveal a few hunting canoes beyond it, and in front of the shot you can see the ripples made from the boat holding the camera: And this is not a perspective of someone else as it takes place behind the skull marker, where no one's allowed to pass. See more »

Quotes

Thursday Ragan: You've been like a second mother to him Hannah - surely you know how I feel.
Hannah: Sure I know - women don't need no telling. The trouble with you men folk is, you're ashamed to let on to each other how you feel.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 'Round Midnight (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

Impressive and Underseen
13 May 2010 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Swamp Water (1941)

*** (out of 4)

Renoir's first American movie is quite impressive and if you viewed this thing without seeing the opening credits you'd swear it was made by someone like John Ford. The film takes place in the Georgia swamps where trapper Ben Ragan (Dana Andrews) gets lost in the swamp only to be rescued by fugitive Tom Keefer (Walter Brennan) who has been hiding there to avoid hanging. The two strike up a friendship but Ben must keep him secret while back at town all hell is breaking loose. I guess Fox respected the talent of Renoir enough to give him an all-star cast, something that not even John Ford would get at the studio. Sure, there are a few problems with this film but there's no denying it's technical beauty and the terrific cast makes it a must see. The cinematography is what really stands out here as the B&W footage is so beautiful that you can't help but get drawn into the atmosphere of this swampy land. A lot of the footage here was shot on location and you can't help but feel like the swamps is one of the main characters as you can just feel the dirtiness of the water and sense all the creatures living in it. There's some obvious back-projection but this doesn't take away from anything. As far as the cast goes we're in for a real treat. Andrews is very good in his role and Walter Huston is just as impressive as his father. Brennan gets top-billing but he's actually not in the film too much. There's some debate on his performance here but I thought it was a good one even if I didn't believe him in the role too much and I'm curious if it would have been better had Huston and Brennan switched roles. Ann Baxter, Virginia Gilmore, John Carradine, Joe Sawyer, Mary Howard, Ward Bond, Russell Simpson and Eugene Palette round out the supporting players and all them fill their roles nicely. Even if the story is lacking in parts, you can't take your eyes off the screen because this wonderful cast takes up every inch of film so you've constantly got something fun to see. I think the mystery around the killing Brennan was accused for is too easy to figure out but this too is just a minor point. Considering the cast and terrific cinematography, I'm somewhat surprised this film isn't better know. It's certainly not a masterpiece by any standard but there's enough here to make it worth viewing to any film buff.


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