A retired professor rents his attic apartment to pregnant Peggy and her GI-Bill-student husband. The professor ponders if his life is no longer useful while the young couple faces the challenges shared with many WW II veterans' families.
David Harvey is a widower with a young son, Davey. They live on an isolated Ohio farm during the pioneer days. He wants his son to be raised in the manner his wife would have wanted - with proper schooling, Bible study and proper manners. Rachel, an indentured servant, is sold to David. David then marries her in order that little Davey would have a mother to properly raise him. David shows no real affection towards Rachel since this is a marriage of convenience. This all changes when Jim, a friend of the family comes for a visit. During his stay, David sees that there is more to Rachel than just being a "bonds woman", especially when Jim takes a liking to her. This awakens new feelings in David for Rachel.Written by
Loretta Young was famous for placing a "swear jar" on the sets of all of her films, charging anyone in the cast or crew who used foul language 25 cents for doing so, then giving the funds to one of her favorite charities. Whilst making this film with her, Robert Mitchum reputedly held his tongue about his pious co-star until shooting was completed. As he exited the set on the final day of production, Mitchum smiled, dropped a $20 bill into the jar, and said, "This should just about cover everything I've been wanting to say to Loretta." See more »
While Davey rushes back from the store to eavesdrop on the transaction, the light and shadows indicate it's mid to late afternoon. Mere minutes later as the camera moves outside again, it is already dusk. See more »
You ain't ordering me off, Davey. I'm leaving of my own accord but not without Rachel. I offered to buy you out fair and square.
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This is a film that for most of its running time has no other players than the three adult leads and a child. The players had better be good for this one. Fortunately they are and Rachel and the Stranger has a good quiet charm about it.
The title role is played by Loretta Young. She was a year past her Oscar winning performance in The Farmer's Daughter and really at the top of her game. Rachel is a bondservant who is bought by widower William Holden to help out at the family farm, bring back a feminine touch to the place and help raise his son, Gary Gray. Rachel is bought for "eighteen dollars and owing four" by Holden, but frontier proprieties being what they were, Holden has to marry her.
But she's no wife, she's bought and paid for help, until Holden's friend Robert Mitchum shows up and starts looking at her as a desirable woman. Now Holden starts thinking along those lines and the fun begins.
Holden and Mitchum both do very well in typical roles for both at the time. Bill Holden called this his "smiling jim" period which ended with Sunset Boulevard a year later.
Mitchum gets to sing in Rachel and the Stranger and even cut a couple of records of the songs he sings from the film. Not bad for Bob, among the many accomplishments of that complex and talented man was as a singer and songwriter. He didn't do it often enough in movies.
But the movie really turns on Loretta Young's performance. She strikes just the right note as the bondwoman who helps make the whole lot of them a family again.
The movie is also a good depiction of frontier Ohio. An Indian attack is part of the problems the quartet faces and the Shawnees were very active there until the Battle of Fallen Timbers which took place in 1795. Figure the action to be taking place slightly before that.
A nice entertaining film.
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