Found this obscure film at YouTube. Sounded like it might be an interesting historical drama, sited in southern GA soon after the American Revolutionary War was concluded. I was curious whether it might have been inspired by a historic Darby Plantation or Sangaree. A web search revealed that there is a historic Darby Plantation mansion, and a nearby Sangaree, although not in the Savanna region. Rather they are near Summerville, which is near Charleston, SC.
I am curious why a plague epidemic was inserted as a significant factor in the screenplay. I have found no evidence that bubonic plague has ever been a problem in the Eastern US. Furthermore, Martha Darby being shown suddenly collapsing and falling down the stairs, supposedly from plague, is melodramatic. True, she looks disheveled, but she had just killed Harvey Bristol, who wanted her to kill Dr. Morales, whom she still had a crush on. A much more likely epidemic might be cholera, yellow fever, smallpox, or measles. In fact there was a smallpox epidemic during the Revolutionary War, but I believe it was mostly confined to the northern states. Returning to plague, even if it was established(which I doubt) by this era that there was a connection between the presence of rats and plague epidemics, why was it deemed necessary to burn down all the warehouses in Savanna to reduce the rat population? Why not concentrate the control efforts against rats that frequented around housing, where most people were. Why didn't they have less draconian methods of rat control like traps, sanitation, and encouraging a healthy cat and dog population?
Initially, we have a situation where old General Darby, on his death bed, announces that he wants his adopted son, Dr. Marcos, rather than his natural son, Roy, to inherit the Darby estate, but his natural daughter, Nancy, to remain as manager. Strangely, Dr. Marcos and Nancy don't initially know each other? However, Nancy wants Morales cut out of the will, with brother Roy and herself owners. She goes to court to have the will declared invalid because it was signed in Vermont rather than Georgia, and because the General was obviously out of his mind when he wrote it, since he requested that all the slaves and indentured servants be declared free. But strangely, when Morales' lawyer asked if Nancy thought her father was insane, she responded "no". Thus, the case was dismissed. Doesn't make any sense to me!? ...At first, Nancy's impression of Morales was very negative, as this suited her desires. However, gradually, she warmed up.
Martha is the wife of the General's son, Roy. Roy has no desire to run the plantation, but Martha wants a greater indirect stake in the plantation. She would prefer to achieve this by marrying Morales, but she already chose her husband. Thus, she forms an arrangement with the Bristols to warehouse Darby goods pirated from the ships that export their produce. She spreads the rumor that Nancy, her sister in law, is actually doing this. For a time, Morales believes this, as incongruous as it may seem. Then, Nancy is found unconscious outside. Not clear to me who did this. Morales does some bone surgery, and she gets well. Meanwhile, Morales has to take part in a pistol and knife duel, which turns out to be bizarre, and is called off after someone tries to knife Morales, who has walked into a bushy swamp!? Morales senses that Nancy is the more capable of the two women, and besides she isn't married.
Francis Sullivan who plays the elder Dr. Bristol, is a dead ringer for the older, chubby, Charles Laughton, especially his speech. They went to the same school in England. Fernando Lamas, and Arlene Dahl:the two leads, married about a year after this film was released, each having divorced their prior spouse in the prior year or two.... John Sutton, as usual, played a loser, in Harvey Bristol.
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