Rachel and the Stranger (1948) Poster

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Rachel and her 3 guys
bkoganbing12 December 2004
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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A Forgotten Classic
Prof-Hieronymos-Grost11 August 2005
"Big" Davey Harvey(William Holden) a widower, and his only son Davey live in the mountains of Ohio during the Pioneer days. Big Davey increasingly frustrated at the influence of his fur hunter friend Jim Fairways(Robert Mitchum) decides his son needs a woman's influence around the house and sets off to the local stockade to find a wife much to the protestations of little Davey who doesn't want anyone to replace his recently deceased mother.Big Davey is recommended a bonds girl Rachel(Loretta Young )who is surplus to requirements and he buys her for 18 dollars.Both of the Harveys are cold and distant towards their new family member and treat her as the slave she is, until that is the charismatic Jim Fairways arrives and treats her like a queen,they hit it off straight away much to the jealousy of Big Davey who is just not ready for love yet…. this triggers a battle of wills to win the heart of Rachel…and just to add to their problems the film is set against a backdrop of continuing raids by rogue Shawnee Indians on the local homesteads.This is truly a forgotten western classic that still feels very fresh today,Rachel and the Stranger is very very charming film,that is also very funny and has a simple but intelligent script,on top of that add three truly Epic performances by the three leads and an action packed finale and you have a wonderful film.

PS.Mitchum never ceases to amaze me, a true giant of the Cinema and a really good singer too
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Highly Recommended
aimless-4617 April 2006
At its most basic, "Rachel and the Stranger" is a domestic comedy set in the wilderness of 18th century Ohio. Director Norman Foster manages to pack more charm into each five minutes than most films have during their entire running length.

At its most ambitious, "Rachel and the Stranger" is an allegorical story about the impact of a catalyst into a seemingly stable dynamic. In this case the stranger in the title, Jim (Robert Mitchum), visits the isolated farm of long-time friend David Harvey (William Holden), his young son Davey (Gary Gray), and their bond servant Rachel (Loretta Young). David bought Rachel (who is working off her late father's debts) after his wife died, needing a replacement to help raise Davey. He married her out of respect for social convention but has no intention of consummating the marriage.

While David treats Rachel with respect and consideration, his son is openly resentful of the substitute mother. After some initial progress the threesome settles into a distanced existence, a rut from which there is little chance they will be able to escape on their own. But things quickly change when Jim stops by on his way to town. For the first time Rachel has someone who actively engages her. Jim's attentions build up Rachel's status in Davey's eyes while causing David to see her obvious attractions for the first time. But Foster doesn't limit things to this predictable interplay; he builds on it by having Rachel quickly come out of her guarded shell in response to Jim's interest. Even the makeup people get into the act as Young goes from the look of a plain pioneer woman to a subtle radiance.

All four stars are excellent. It was probably Holden's best performance as he provides most of the humor with his growing attraction to Rachel and his increasing irritation with the attention Jim is paying to her.

Young was about 10 years too old for her 25 year-old character but this is not really a factor as the age of the character is unimportant; you wonder why they did not simply change the one reference to her age after casting Young for the part. Young's acting tends to be underrated because of her later work as a television hostess but even her film work as a teenager was extraordinary. She was an especially good casting choice because the repressed Rachel needs to subtly convey a depth and dimensionality early in the film to make her later transformation plausible.

Mitchum gives perhaps his liveliest performance as he seems to be having a lot of fun with his part. Gray is solid as always, one of those rare child actors who were not irritating after a few minutes on the screen.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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zava_t5 November 2008
I loved this movie. I thought the banter between Holden and Mitchum were subtly hilarious. The facial expressions were spot on from Holden. Young was formidable in this part as well. I think it takes a strong cast to make a movie that revolves around four sole characters. It was a great romantic comedy. I liked the chemistry between Mitchum and Young on screen. I also thought that Gary Gray added the right amount of drama/comedy to the whole show. I loved the scenes in the woods with Mitchum and Holden bickering and making their pleas to Young. All in all, I think this is a good movie, and definitely worth the time of watching.
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My favorite western/love story
tpottera28 July 2002
This is a WONDERFUL movie. Why it wasn't released for home video....Its a beautiful story of a widower (Holden) and his son who feel they need a woman around the house. A neighbor recommends a bond slave (Young) and after persuasion, he reluctantly marries her. She moves in but finds there is not a welcome wagon from the boy or Holden! She is just a housekeeper to them. A wily bachelor friend (Mitchum) shows up unexpectedly and has eyes for Young! Holden doesn't know what to think. He hasn't gotten over the death of his wife yet and can't love Young, but with Mitchum's arrival he starts to get jealous! Simple but deep, touching story with nice filming and awesome performance by all. Especially Mitchum as the lonely bachelor trying to steal Young. Catch it on the classic movie channel.
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A bride for David
jotix10027 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Rachel and the Stranger" is a pleasant film that combines two genres to great advantage. On the one hand, it has the feel of a western, but it is also a tender love story. Pictures like this one were made in the Hollywood of the post-war when all the men were back and happier times seemed just on the horizon. The film reflects the hope of those years as it gave its viewers a good time for the prize of admission.

The story is simple enough. A lonely widower, David Harris, with a young son can't cope running their farm without the help of a woman. The solution is to go into the near settlement where no one knows his wife has died to try to get a woman that could come and help with the farm work. He has to resort to buy a servant woman, Rachel, for a ridiculous sum and heads back to his place. There is a best friend who takes only one look at Rachel to realize she's a diamond in the rough. Through Jim's interest in Racehl, David comes to realize what this woman is worth after she walks out on him and the farm. David will come to his senses and will realize he has loved Rachel all along.

The film unites three stars in their own right: William Holden, Loretta Young and Robert Mitchum, something that would be prohibitive by today's salaries and egos. RKO scored big with the casting alone. Norman Foster directed with his own easy style. The three principals do an excellent job in creating characters that the viewer will like.

"Rachel and the Stranger" is a good way to spend an evening when there is nothing else to do.
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Sadly Underrated Western
Meredy5 November 1999
This film is often overlooked despite the presence of Loretta Young, Robert Mitchum and William Holden in the cast. It's a well-done frontier story with plenty of action and romance. Loretta Young has never looked more fetching and the Mitchum/Holden combo is a knock out.
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more here than meets the eye
rupie25 August 2000
I too became a fan of this movie (thank you American Movie Classics). What at first appeared to be a run-of-the-mill frontier cabin story turned into an absorbing, well-written, well-acted human interest story with four engaging characters, a beautiful locale (the movie would have benefited from color), and a fine score to boot. The concept of a bonded (indentured) servant added an interesting historical facet. The cast, of course, is top notch. Mitchum and Holden work particularly well together. The film should be a lot better known than it is, and is well worth a see.
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Adorable Romance
claudio_carvalho14 September 2009
In time of colonization of America, the widower David Harvey (William Holden) lives in an isolated farm in the woods with his son Davey (Gary Grey). Father and son miss their wife and mother Susan, who has recently died, and David concludes that he needs a woman to educate his son properly and to cook and clean the house. David decides to travel with Davey to the nearby fort to seek a woman and the reverend proposes the bond servant Rachel (Loretta Young) for him. David buys Rachel, and Davey overhears the negotiation; but the reverend demands that they should marry to each other to have a decent life in the same house. The trio travels back to the farm and David and Davey treat Rachel like a slave without any respect or affection. When David's drifter friend Jim Fairways (Robert Mitchum) visits them, he stays for a couple of days with the family and treats Rachel respectfully like a lady. Then Jim courts Rachel, and David feels jealous and realizes how important she is for him.

"Rachel and the Stranger" is an adorable romance and I loved this western. I did not know the concept of indentured servant in America, and the humiliating situation of Rachel is heartbreaking, fruit of the unpaid debts of her father. Loretta Young has a fantastic performance and William Holden and Robert Mitchum have hilarious moments with their witty lines. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Rachel e o Estranho" ("Rachel and the Stranger")
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Loretta Young, Wm. Holden & Robert Mitchum at their best!
chrisglo25 April 2003
I don't know why some people have to look for deep "inner or psychological meanings in movies. Fortunately, I just love the movies and accept them for what they are - sheer entertainment! And if you are the same, then you need to see this one. Loretta Young, William Holden and Robert Mitchum are absolutely WONDERFUL in their roles. It is a great story with just the right hint of comedy and romance. So, if you love the movies, and love entertainment, you will truly enjoy this wonderful classic, "RACHEL AND THE STRANGER"!
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Fun Little Western!
MCL115014 September 2006
"Rachel and the Stranger" has been one of my favorite "little" films over the years. I only say little because my mother and I are the only two fans of it that I actually know of, but I'm sure there are hundreds of fans out there who love "Rachel and the Stranger" as much as we do. TCM runs it two or three times a year and I try not to miss it. I guess it was a big hit in its time even though it's not as well known today, but my advice is to watch it if you ever get the chance. At about 90 minutes it doesn't wear out its welcome and seems to be over as fast as it began. And with three great stars like Loretta Young (WOW!), William Holden and Robert Mitchum, you really can't go wrong. All three are perfect in their roles. The film is a traditional Western in many ways, but what I like most about it is the humor that's woven in throughout. One sequence even develops into slapstick, but it works. Overall, a really wonderful and enjoyable movie. This is the kind of film that you just end up counting among your favorites even though it's likely that no one you know has ever seen it. And it's the kind of film that you want everyone to see so you can strike up a conversation about how much you love it! Watch it and enjoy!
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Excellent Blk & White Movie
robbjk21 July 2004
This is an excellent movie. The 1st time i saw it was in the 70's & i look forward to seeing it & wish that it were on more often,at least once or twice a yr. What a lucky woman to have a potential love interest like Robert Mitchum,that it made her husband sit up & take notice in how he & his son were treating her. The scenery is just a big a part of the movie as the actors are. This movie first showed me that living in the country could fill your soul up,that's 1 reason why i live in wyoming. Not everything has to be in your face blood & gore or stupidity & 4 letter words to get your attention. Too bad AMC doesn't air it more often. Hope its on DVD soon. If you get the chance to see this movie don't pass it up,you won't regret it.
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an absolute favorite pioneer love story
bpfre19 April 2008
This is an all time favorite, with endearing characters that take on issues such as the plight of women in the 1800s, bond servants, in essence a summary of a way of pioneer life, showing the reliance on one another in order to survive. In a lighter mode, there is humor, music, danger and intrigue and a growing love between a man and woman who come together out of necessity. I cannot understand why it isn't on home video!? This is a USA made movie, and it's only available on DVD in Spanish with English subtitles from Spain. I give this movie an excellent rating because it captures not only a way of life, but also great acting by well-known celebrities whose characterizations bring the story a sense of reality. I highly recommend this movie to any one who enjoys a dramatic love story, conveying all the emotions without today's graphic gore as a backdrop.
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Love Cannot Be Bought And Sold...
jem13228 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This film plays out as a sort of western Rebecca (1940. Rachel (Lorreta Young) lives in the shadow of Big Davy's (William Holden)first wife when she is 'bought' to keep house and educate the young son. The film essentially follows Rachel's efforts to gain acceptance and prove herself a worthy acquisition.

Young is good in her role, adequately conveying Rachel's disappointment with married life and her relationships with two men, Holden and Mitchum. Holden and Mitchum in a sense both occupy the stranger tag of the title. Young marries Holden as a stranger, and he remains a stranger even in marriage. Mitchum is the stranger who appears and seems to offer Rachel a chance at salvation. Both men suit their roles. Holden, at first a grief-stricken widower, cold and unwelcoming, begins to open up to Rachel and appreciate her as a wife and companion, not a slave. Mitchum sings and provides a lighter presence. Gary Gray gives strong support as the child who learns to love Rachel as a mother figure after his initial mistreatment of her.

There are some interesting themes here, particularly the idea of female servitude. 'Rachel And The Stranger' poignantly questions the role of women in society and also the portrayal of women in western films. It looks at the gun myth in western films- guns allow Rachel to assert herself in a 'male' aspect. It hints at Rachel's dissatisfaction with the lack of sexual relations in her marriage. the Both central male figures are worth close analysis- Mitchum claims to love and appreciate Rachel more than Holden's character, yet he too only thinks of Rachel in monetary terms when he offers to 'buy' Rachel from Holden.

'Rachel And The Stranger', in haunting black-and-white cinematography, is a real little gem of a film. It's simple, yet powerful themes and efficient running length mean that the film does not stray into long-winded sequences that detract from the original premise of Rachel's struggle as a 'replacement bride'.
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'Rebecca' in Western clothes.
the red duchess11 October 2000
This film is a Western, but combines a number of strange bedfellows - the romantic comedies of Hawks (two men fight over a woman treated as a slave); melodrama (the film is brilliant at visualising the limited options open to Rachel, from the proscenium curtains looking out at a world she has no freedom in and the metronome ticking away her life, to the overall claustrophobic setting (a small farm) and limited dramatis personae), and even psychological thriller (like REBECCA, Rachel is a second wife living in the shadow of a perfect predecessor; both films share a cathartic conflagration). The unsophisticated characters conceal a complex film about family and gender, in which the usual Indian threat is more of a psychological displacement.
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Forgotten Classic
fung020 February 2015
This is one of my favorite westerns, certainly one of the very best in the light-hearted vein. It's enlivened by a lot of outdoor photography, a real feeling of frontier isolation, and by superlative performances from three of Hollywood's most enduring stars.

The story is classic: a widower (William Holden) 'buys' a bondswoman (Loretta Young) to be his wife in-name-only, as a housekeeper on his remote farm and substitute mother for his young son. He takes the woman entirely for granted, until a likable drifter (Robert Mitchum) visits and shows a romantic interest in her.

The film genuinely tugs at the heart-strings, and includes some moments of action and tension - yet it remains fundamentally warm and humorous. Holden is perfect as the befuddled farmer, who can't sort out his own feelings. Mitchum has one of his best roles, as the charming visitor. (Mitchum played this role of genial interloper multiple times, always to great effect - see also Holiday Affair, for example, or The Grass is Greener.) Loretta Young... what can one say? She's so immensely appealing here, that it's hard to understand why her name doesn't come up more often as one of the great leading ladies.

This is truly one of those timeless films, that becomes more beloved with every viewing. It reminds me, in a distant way, of The Westerner, which is at heart also a love story. Or Along Came Jones, which also featured Loretta Young. But Rachel and the Stranger is more satisfying than those films; it works perfectly on multiple levels.

Given it's high quality, I can only assume that Rachel and the Stranger is one of those many works that have been trapped in 'copyright limbo' by the idiotic intellectual-property legislation enacted in recent years. There's no other way to explain the lack of a properly-restored video release. TCM does show the film, fortunately, and there do seem to be various passable DVD editions floating around. But this film deserves better.

If you love westerns, or good old Hollywood romantic comedies, definitely make some time for Rachel and the Stranger. You may not have heard of it, but it deserves to be remembered as a true classic.
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Quietly charming and unpretentious yarn, nicely played...
Doylenf6 January 2011
RACHEL AND THE STRANGER has the kind of quiet charm that LORETTA YOUNG always possessed and benefits from the more rugged screen presence of its leading men--WILLIAM HOLDEN and ROBERT MITCHUM. Loretta is an indentured servant who becomes the wife of William Holden and must prove herself worthy of the affections of Holden and his young son.

There really is very little in the story that is original and the outcome can be predicted from scene one. It's clear that Loretta, as Holden's second wife, will have a hard time replacing his winsome wife who was a woman of modest talents and dearly loved by husband and son (GARY GRAY). Not unexpectedly, they both warm to her and so does Holden's "stranger" friend, ROBERT MITCHUM, who does a nice job raising his voice in song accompanied by guitar. Mitchum gives his usual laid back performance, nicely understated. The story may be a little too slow moving for some tastes since it's more of a character study of a widower and his new wife than it is a western.

There's no real excitement to the story until the Indian attack which comes late in the story, but the film depends on the central performances of Young, Holden and Mitchum to hold interest as the three of them have some amusing interactions throughout the story.

Nicely photographed in outdoor settings photographed in crisp B&W, it's a film full of simple charm without anything pretentious about it.

Only drawback: Overuse of the phrase "I reckon" to give the dialog a bucolic flavor. Its use is way overdone and actually becomes irritating when the script has the phrase repeated every few seconds by everyone in the cast.
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The previous review was off the mark...this is a superb movie
barrymn117 April 2006
This excellent film is one of William Holden's best earlier roles...not all that far from the major stardom that was to come.

This was also a nice change of pace for Robert Mitchum. It was another sturdy performance by Loretta Young. I find it entertaining, honest and well made.

I do wish Warner Home video would see fit to release it on DVD. It's a good 'family' movie, and I believe it would be popular.

Considering it was one of RKO's biggest hits in the late 1940's, I guess the public back then saw it the same way I see it....as a terrific film.
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"I suppose singing does make you thirsty, like salt pork and hard liquor."
utgard144 September 2014
After the death of his wife, pioneer farmer David Harvey (William Holden) decides to take a new bride. What he's really after is less a wife than a housekeeper who will do chores and take care of his son. He finds that in indentured servant Rachel (Loretta Young), whom he purchases and then marries at the urging of the local parson. David shows no affection towards Rachel, treating her just like a servant. This changes when traveling fur trapper Jim Fairways (Robert Mitchum) shows up. Jim's an old friend of David's and loved his late wife though she chose David over him. When Jim starts paying Rachel attention, it stirs feelings of jealousy in David and he starts to see Rachel in a new light.

Charming western love story with top stars at their best. Holden and Mitchum are superb but Young really shines, carrying most of the picture just through her facial expressions. What a lovely face it was, too. Young and Mitchum both sing in this, as well. I should also mention Gary Gray is good as the son. A simple story but wonderfully told with that old Hollywood magic.
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Frontier Menage a Trois
GManfred7 February 2013
Actually the film is nothing as racy as my title would suggest. It is a story of a frontiersman recently widowed, and left with a 9 year old boy. No wife, no mother, no one to do the laundry or cook dinner (this was the frontier, remember). What to do? Well, you could go buy an indentured servant. But don't let your best friend and neighbor find out.

There is a great deal of purity and scruples to be found in "Rachel And The Stranger", but not a lot you can get your teeth into. No nuance here, just a straightforward story propelled by the star power of its principals. Holden the farmer first marries the servant (Loretta Young, who must be the best-looking indentured servant ever to milk a cow) to keep up appearances. Then they sleep in separate rooms. Mitchum is the neighbor/vagabond who takes a keen interest in Holden, and especially his new servant.

There are no emotional highs or lows or tense moments to be found, and the three stars must have had an easy payday with this one. By the same token, it is a very likable, crowd-pleasing family picture which might have gone over even better in color. Holden was just two years away from "Sunset Boulevard", Mitchum fresh from "Out Of The Past", one of Hollywood's best noirs, and Loretta Young had recently won an Oscar for "The Farmer's Daughter" - three stars in their prime.
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The Sight Of The Hunter
writers_reign23 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is an unpretentious 'little' film that succeeds in charming even a latter-day audience though back in the late forties it was probably very much in the mainstream. In probably nineteenth century rural Ohio William Holden is neglecting his farm and young son in favor of grieving for his late wife, recently (presumably) deceased as the film opens, victim of an unspecified ailment. Travelling 'hunter'cum-trapper, Robert Mitchum, a long-time friend of the family and one-time rival of Holden for the hand of the dead woman, makes a regular visit to the farm, learns the situation and advises Holden to do something about both the domestic chores and a maternal presence for his son. Holden addresses this problem by riding into the nearby town and 'buying' a 'bond' woman, Loretta Young, to handle both tasks. Back at the farm he treats her as little better than a skivvy, allowing his son to do the same. He appears to have little interest in sleeping with her and is, at best, awkwardly civil. The scene is now set for Mitchum to make a return visit but this time as hunter-trapper-catalyst; his treating of Young with both respect and as a desirable woman, triggers Holden's latent jealousy and paves the way for a happy 'bonding' with the bond woman. All three leads perform well and the result is a true, feel-good movie.
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An excellent pioneer romance
dfwesley6 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Three top notch movie stars are thrown together in this fine movie and they all perform splendidly.

Robert Mitchum plays his typical blase character to perfection, and William Holden is solid and expressive as Davy Harris. Loretta Young, as the focus of this dual attraction, steals the film with a wonderful performance.

The setting and scenery would have benefited from color, and I wonder why it wasn't done.

The plot proves that it took a stranger's attention to make Harris truly appreciate Rachel. The homestead has to be rebuilt, but true love finally comes to the surface.
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William Holden and Robert Mitchum compete for Loretta Young's affections
jacobs-greenwood6 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Directed by Norman Foster, this 80 minute drama gives one a real sense of the role of women in the pioneering days of the old West. Times were a lot different then, and women were expected to do chores from sun up to sundown with little thanks or appreciation while their menfolk cleared the land, farmed it, and caught or killed something for her to cook as their dinner.

Loretta Young plays Rachel while William Holden plays the titled "stranger", a widower with a preteen son (Gary Gray), who "buys" her to replace his recently departed wife. His wife had wanted her son to be raised properly, as a boy in the East would be, despite the wilderness in which they lived.

So, in order to provide the boy with the proper education and schooling, Holden's character marries a bonded (because she was repaying her deceased father's debt) woman, Rachel, after paying "18 (dollars) plus 4" (more later) for her. The parson (Tom Tully) and his wife (Sara Haden) had convinced him that living under the same roof with another woman wouldn't be proper unless they were husband and wife.

Holden's character, David Harvey, proceeds in treating Rachel like chattel until his old friend, and wandering hunter Jim Fairways (Robert Mitchum) comes to call. Apparently David and Jim had competed for the affections of the woman that became David's first wife. She had married David because he was more proper, and less wild than Jim, who thus far had shown no willingness to settle down. Davey (Jr.) would love to do as Jim does, which was the main impetus for David to go and find a replacement "wife" in the first place, to respect his first's wishes and raise Davey proper.

However, soon Jim has become a long-term guest of the Harveys, and (seeing the way that Jim treats his "in-name-only" wife) David begins to notice that Rachel is more than just his "slave", but a woman in her own right. He discovers that she has musical skills (Mitchum sings too!) like his first wife, and she makes it a point to secretly learn to shoot like his first wife could as well. It is the latter of these skills which wins over his boy Davey.

Eventually, David and Jim are repeating their earlier pattern of competing for the same woman. Fortunately, some real Western action involving the native Cheyenne tribe is introduced into the story, which saves the film from stalling and wraps up the story nicely, if predictably.
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Strange Rachel.
morrison-dylan-fan16 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Taking a look at the BBC listings,I spotted a Western double bill.Recording the movies,I found details on Fritz Lang's Rancho Notorious to make it sound a more complex plot to Robert Mitchum's gunslinger,which led to me deciding,that for the first of this Western fest,I would walk to the salon with Big Bob.

The plot:

Bringing up his son Davy on his own after the tragic death of his wife, David Harvey decides that he and his son need a women round the house. Going to get a servant woman from settlement head Parson Jackson,Harvey gets pushed to accept Rachel as his servant,and to get married to her! Unwilling to accept Rachel as a new women in their lives,the Harvey's live Rachel as a farmhand. Believing that she will never be accepted,Rachel and the Harvey's are woken up by the Harvey's old friend Jim Fairways arriving in town.

View on the film:

Rushed out when Mitchum was arrested for possessing marijuana,director Norman Foster & cinematographer Maury Gertsman avoid any sign of rebellion, emphasised by Roy Webb whimsical score,soaked up in the stilted shots Foster uses to breath in the superb rural location. Firing an arrow to end the film on a Western battle with the Indians, Waldo Salt's adaptation of Howard Fast's story loads up the Melodrama's "Women's Picture."

Entering the Harvey's farm with Rachel,Salt wonderfully shows no fears in highlighting the harsher side of Davy and David,with the memory of their wife/mother leading to them wearing their Melodrama hats,until the arrival of Fairways,leads to them finally becoming aware of who Rachel truly is. Despite some of the dialogue being dry,the cast make the movie sing,thanks to an irresistible chemistry.Pushed around,the elegant Loretta Young gives a charming performance as Rachel,who despite being pushed away by everyone,is given a firm determination by Young.Changing the way the Harvey's (played by a great William Holden and Gary Gray) see Rachel in a new light,Big Bob (who also sings!) gives a terrific performance as Fairways who is given a Folk music glow by Bob's reunion with the family,with Mitchum given Fairways a glint of rebellion in his eyes,as Rachel meets the stranger.
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JohnHowardReid11 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A leisurely and predictable tale that puts no strain on the intellect and that is carried to a large extent by the ingratiating portrayals of its four principal players. Waldo Salt has provided them with suitably realistic yet picturesque dialogue. The teaming of Holden and Mitchum is a masterstroke that produces some real sparks. It's a surprise that they were never teamed again. Loretta Young is quite effective in a much less glamorous and much more retiring role than usual. Gary Gray (whatever happened to him?) makes a personable and mighty lively youngster. Tom Tully and Frank Ferguson also make the most of their opportunities. Writer Aldo Salt has an unfortunate habit of signaling later plot developments well in advance which vitiates just about all the suspense, although the climax itself is well handled both in both writing and execution. (All the excitement coming in the last reel much have reminded Mitch of his Hopalong Cassidy roles). Foster's direction is characteristically deft with unobtrusive tracking shots enlivening many delightful scenes. The music score with its bright songs is also a charming addition to a charming production.
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