6.3/10
3,270
60 user 10 critic

Raintree County (1957)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 20 December 1957 (USA)
A student falls in love with a Southern belle, but their relationship is complicated by her troubled past and the on-set of the Civil War.

Director:

Edward Dmytryk

Writers:

Millard Kaufman (screenplay), Ross Lockridge Jr. (novel)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Montgomery Clift ... John Wickliff Shawnessy
Elizabeth Taylor ... Susanna Drake Shawnessy
Eva Marie Saint ... Nell Gaither
Nigel Patrick ... Professor Jerusalem Webster Stiles
Lee Marvin ... Orville 'Flash' Perkins
Rod Taylor ... Garwood B. Jones
Agnes Moorehead ... Ellen Shawnessy
Walter Abel ... T.D. Shawnessy
Jarma Lewis ... Barbara Drake
Tom Drake ... Bobby Drake
Rhys Williams ... Ezra Gray
Russell Collins ... Niles Foster
DeForest Kelley ... Southern Officer
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Storyline

It's the mid nineteenth century in Freehaven, Raintree County, Indiana. John Wickliff Shawnessy (Montgomery Clift) has just graduated from high school at the top of his class, with a promising career as a writer. He is a romantic, principled, and an idealist, believing the story of the golden raintree - after which the county is named - growing somewhere, most likely in the county's swamp area, searching for and locating it which would provide all the answers to one's life questions. An idea passed down from his father, John also has a strong sense of place as belonging, and as such there is much anticipation in the probable marriage between John and his sweetheart Nell Gaither (Eva Marie Saint), a born and bred Raintree girl. However, there is an undeniable mutual attraction on first sight between John and Susanna Drake (Dame Elizabeth Taylor), a visiting southern belle. Despite Susanna's temporary stay in Raintree County which means that she and John may not have a future, they ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In The Great Tradition Of Civil War Romance See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the time of its release, this was the most expensive movie ever made. See more »

Goofs

After Lincoln's 1860 election, the crowd sings "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". However, Julia Ward Howe wrote the poem, on which the song was based, for the Atlantic Monthly in 1861. See more »

Quotes

T.D. Shawnessy: War is the most monstrous of man's illusions. Any idea worth anything is worth not fighting for.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The longer Roadshow version was released on VHS by Warner, where it was labeled as Reconstructed Original Version. It has also been shown on Turner Classic Movies cable channel. This version contains nearly 15 minutes of additional material not found on the General Release Version. See more »


Soundtracks

Raintree County
Music by Johnny Green (uncredited)
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Sung by Nat 'King' Cole
See more »

User Reviews

sumptuous and nostalgic
22 July 2003 | by IRVIN8See all my reviews

An individual's life is formed by his memories. Books, music and - yes, movies - influence us. We remember the situations and the dialogue, we remember the sweet melodies. These memories enable us to react, as well as give us the ability to identify situations as they occur.

I saw "Raintree County" when I was 15. Orphaned at six, I'd just departed from an orphans home in Dallas, after nearly nine years. Knowing virtually nothing of the outside world, I was receptive to everything, every person that I encountered. That summer of 1958, I sneaked into the Forest Park Drive-In to see Elizabeth Taylor, of whom I knew little, other than that she was a breath-taking beauty, and had been recently widowed when Michael Todd's chartered plane had crashed.

The characters in the movie (when I was 15) were literal, if not visceral: the magnificence of Miss Taylor's satin gowns encased over crinoline, Lee Marvin's sharp, smart-alecky wit, the professor's lechery, Montgomery Clift's Yankee stoicism, Agnes Moorehead's curious detachment, were all primary colors.

Forty-five years have passed. Those primary colors are now a multitude of blendings and shadings of secondary colors. Montgomery Clift's character is now a beautifully controlled young man who reflects his parents' stoicism, a young man whose intelligence and self control are at the core of the film, and upon whom all characters revolve.

Originally, I thought that "Raintree County" was strictly Taylor's vehicle. She is the burr under the saddle, the exquisite seductress that interfers with Clift's heretofore regulated, almost predestined lifestyle upon his college graduation.

'Raintree' is an achingly beautiful film, and Miss Taylor, who is the most gifted in her portrayal of anguished characters, blesses the movie. Norma Shearer could be beautiful in 'Marie Antoinette", but she lacked depth. Betty Davis portrayed Sturm und Drang, but was never a clothes horse. Taylor combines the two.

Having read some of the other's comments, most of whom disliked the story, perhaps it helps to be Southern to truly love this film. And also, one wants to realize that it depicts two diametrically opposed cultures: North and South. When Northern chill mixes with Southern humidity, chaos results. And so it did, and it was known as The War Between the States.

In conclusion, one wants to luxuriate in this film: Lockridge wrote a brilliant story, and for the most part, it is well delivered. It is rich in history and characterization.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 December 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Raintree County See more »

Filming Locations:

Danville, Kentucky, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (Turner Library Print)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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