6.7/10
414
6 user 3 critic

The Light in the Forest (1958)

Unrated | | Adventure, Drama, Family | 8 July 1958 (USA)
A young white man who spent his whole life raised by Native Americans is sent to live with his birth family and must learn to fit in with people he was taught to hate.

Director:

Herschel Daugherty
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fess Parker ... Del Hardy
Wendell Corey ... Wilse Owens
Joanne Dru ... Milly Elder
James MacArthur ... Johnny Butler / True Son
Jessica Tandy ... Myra Butler
John McIntire ... John Elder
Joseph Calleia ... Chief Cuyloga
Carol Lynley ... Shenandoe
Rafael Campos ... Half Arrow
Frank Ferguson ... Harry Butler
Dean Fredericks ... Niskitoon (as Norman Frederic)
Marian Seldes ... Kate Owens
Stephen Bekassy Stephen Bekassy ... Col. Henry Bouquet
Sam Buffington ... George Owens
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Storyline

In 1764, the British come to an agreement with the native Delaware tribes in order to bring peace to the region. The Delaware tribes agree to stop their attacks on the white settlers and to relinquish all their white captives to the British. In return, the British promise to stop white settlers from settling on Delaware lands across the Ohio River and to cease slaughtering the natives. British Army scout Del Hardy, who once lived among the natives, serves as negotiator and translator for the British colonel Henry Bouquet. During the exchange phase, the Delaware tribes surrender their white captives to the British forces. Among the whites returning to civilization is Chief Cuyloga's adopted son, True Son, formerly known as Johnny Butler. With a heavy heart, Chief Cuyloga parts with his son and asks him to obey his white family once Johnny becomes a white man again. Despite his promise to obey his white parents and to integrate again into the white settler society, Johnny Butler has ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Two Refreshing New Stars In a Different Motion Picture! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Disney's Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 July 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Una luz en el bosque See more »

Filming Locations:

Azusa, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Walt Disney Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75: 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Iron Eyes Cody, who played the role of Blackfish, reportedly acted as technical adviser and designed over 35 costumes for the film with his wife, Bertha "Birdie" Parker. Also, Cody translated the Delaware dialogue and aided the cast in speaking the language. See more »

Goofs

In the dance scene, Milly wore a dress. Short sleeves on women's dresses didn't appear until the 1790s, three decades after this film. See more »


Soundtracks

Light in the Forest
By Hazel George (as Gil George)
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User Reviews

 
Strained considerably
22 June 2015 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

A couple of young players, James MacArthur and Carol Lynley, got their breakout roles in Walt Disney's The Light In The Forest. I saw this way back when I was a 10 year old kid, urged as I always was by the Disney publicity machine greatest in the world then. I doubt any kid who saw both the Disneyland TV show or the Mickey Mouse Club let their parents alone until they saw this or any number of other Disney products.

Seeing it almost 60 years later and knowing now what I know of the source of this film, Conrad Richter's novel a whole lot had to be strained out in order to make this G rated entertainment. The Paxton Boys that are headed by Pastor John McIntire were quite real and as murderous a gang of thugs on the frontier as you would find. There is the Conestoga massacre eluded to in the film. That was quite a real incident where many Delawares were slaughtered without reason or provocation, a colonial era Sand Creek. McIntire's character John Elder though had a certain plausible deniability in the affair.

Stephen Bekassy's character General Henry Bouquet is also real, he pops up in the Cecil B. DeMille epic Unconquered. The rest is Richter's tale of a young white captive returned to his people by terms of a treaty with Chief Joseph Calleia. MacArthur goes back and accompanying him is scout Fess Parker who kind of eases him into acceptance by his long lost parents Frank Ferguson and Jessica Tandy and others.

One who doesn't accept him is Wendell Corey who is a swaggering Indian hating bully. Corey could play some truly hateful people on the big and small screen and he's one of the worst. The climax is the showdown between MacArthur and Corey and I will say viewing it now, what happens makes no sense.

Carol Lynley plays a young indentured servant bound to Corey and this is a topic I see rarely discussed. In order to obtain passage from Great Britain one could bind one self over into essential slavery for a period of seven years. Corey who's a cad besides everything else is real interested in Lynley for other than house work. Fess Parker has also a love interest in McIntire's daughter Joanne Dru.

Maybe one day we'll get a more true to the book adaption of this story. But The Light In The Forest is a decent Disney film that served its cast well.


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