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Parrish McLean lives with his mother Ellen on Sala Post's tobacco plantation in the Connecticut River Valley. His mother winds up marrying Sala's rival Judd Raike, ruthless planter who wants to drive Sala out of business. Judd insists that Parrish learn the business from the ground up.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
They do not do movies like "Parrish" anymore nowadays ;and even if they made a remake ,they could not locate the action on tobacco fields anymore:tobacco has become uncool ."Parrish" ,like "a summer place" "Peyton Place" or "imitation of life " (the latter being the best of the genre ,surpassing the first version in several respects) is this kind of giant melodrama for which 135 min are not enough;there are so many characters it would take a miniseries to make them all really live ;anyway this kind of story lives on in miniseries such as "Dallas" ,"Dynasty" and others .When the movie ends ,it could actually go on and on and on for two more hours .
"Parrish" is certainly enjoyable if you like this kind of long tale .They say Troy Donahue was a limited actor but he carries the weight of a two hours and a quarter movie on his shoulders for his time on screen is twice as long as veterans Claudette Colbert (last role) and Karl Malden who overacts all the way and his three (count'em) loves appear only now and then ,the first one (Connie Stevens) almost absent in the last hour.And he manages quite well:James Dean ,he was not ,but he was more than a pretty face (more expressive than in "a summer place" )and he turns his scenes opposite Malden and son to his advantage .
It's love at first sight all the way :there's a kiss in Donahue's first scenes with the first two girls ;and Colbert and Malden fall for each other just after they met for the first time.The part of the mother (and stepmother) is underwritten and does not do Colbert justice .Sometimes it seems that Parrish is in fact in love with her,she's the only one he really fights for (during the scene of the ball,he forces Malden's evil son to make an announcement to welcome his stepmother;he tells him that when she offers to shake hands with him ,he MUST do it)
The cinematography is splendid ,with a great use of wide screen ,particularly during the scene of the fire in the night.So you forget how stereotyped the characters are : the ruthless tycoon,his lazy offspring,the field hand pregnant by her secret date,the wise man who gives the young rebel pieces of advice and who considers him his son after Alison's money match.
It's amazing that Delmer Daves ,who excelled at western and gave classics such as "broken arrow" and "3:10 To Yuma " gave up after "the hanging tree" (1959).From "A summer place" (in which Donahue starred too) to "the battle of the Villa Florita" ,melodrama rules.
That said "Parrish " has stood the test of time quite well and remains eminently watchable today.You simply haven't got the time to get bored!
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