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Sea Of Grass, The

42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Brewton's cattle empire includes a million acres of grazing land. Lutie marries him and they have a daughter Sara. Lutie goes alone to Denver where she and lawyer Chamberlain conceive a son Brock whom Jim later accepts with resignation. Long afterward Brock is killed by a posse and Susie brings Lutie and Jim together once more.

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It's no surprise that Elia Kazan directed the oddly political Sea of Grass, the story of a man (Spencer Tracy) who reveres the grass plains and thinks they are no place for homesteaders and farmers. His wife (Katharine Hepburn) disagrees, however, and the two find themselves at odds. But putting politics aside, this is a melodrama with a capital "M," so throw in some adultery, an out-of-wedlock baby, and Hepburn speaking even more breathlessly than usual, and you might find yourself giggling at some of the more dramatic moments. Even more out of place, Strangers on a Train star Robert Walker plays Hepburn and Tracy's grown son, who cares more about cards and drinking than the land. There are sweet moments in this film, but the politics of the land is ultimately more compelling than the relationships. --Paige Newman

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Product Details

  • Actors: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Walker, Melvyn Douglas, Phyllis Thaxter
  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Writers: Marguerite Roberts
  • Producers: Pandro S. Berman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 12, 2011
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004K4FUMK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,283 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sea Of Grass, The" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Joseph T. Reeves on April 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Sea of Grass" is a simple story masterfully told by Conrad Richter. No other writer can match Richter's ability to capture the spoken word of a region or particular time period, or equal his aptitude in turning a simple chain of events into powerful story telling. This novel chronicles the end of the New Mexico frontier as seen through the eyes of Hal, the nephew of one of the last great cattle ranchers. As civilization encroaches even onto that remote region, Colonel Jim Brewton symbolizes the last struggle and eventual submission of the land to the inevitable development of the forces of society. Richter also weaves Brewton's marriage to an unfaithful wife and his relationship to their children into this conflict. Although this plot appears derivative and indentical to that of a soap opera, Richter's prose style elevates it to the status of a great tragedy. Richter clearly mourns the passing of the great independents whose struggle to develop the land clearly and ironically led to their own obsolescence.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Barbara A. Roppa on April 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Conrad Richter is a detailed narrator of the Early American Scene.The clear sense of a spacious natural setting that he has depcited in other novels like the vast New Mexican territory in The Lady, the elemental force of the natural forest in The Trees, and The Light in the Forest is present in The Sea of Grass. The cattle barons with their ranches "as big a Massachusetts with Connecticut thrown in" and the rolling spanse of emerald green prairie in the spring will render a visual sense of splendor.Historically, Richter encompasses the tense struggle between the rich cattle barons and the squatters in the mid 1800's. My favorite part of the book is the unexpected direction of the character Lutie. The delicate balance of prose and the strong conflicts that develop between the characters, the Colonel, Lutie, Brock, and Judge Chamberlain grab the readers' full attention. Mr. Richter with an uncanny skill for recapturing the past dramatizes the brutality and bravado of the Southwest in the mid 1800's in The Sea of Grass.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Justin R Ray on August 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
The fourth pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy is pure magic. Kate is perfect as the southern belle who goes out west to marry a cattleman. Spencer Tracy is the cattleman whom Kate marries. From the start, Kate and Spencer don't see eye to eye on different issues, and an affair between Kate and Melvyn Douglas doesn't help the marriage. The cast is superb, even if parts of the movie seem to drag. Great ROMANTIC WESTERN/DRAMA!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 2, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This is the saddest Spencer Tracy movie I've seen. Tracy plays a prosperous cattle baron, who, although he rules his range with an iron hand, can't rule his marriage or his family, and everything else goes sour for him, too. His high-society wife from St. Louis (played by Hepburn) doesn't see eye-to-eye with him on the question of the open range, she cuckolds him by having an affair with Melvyn Douglas and having a son by him (which both Tracy and the son eventually figure out), the land endures years of droughts, squatters move in on him despite his best efforts to keep them away, with even the U.S. Calvalry even coming down on him, and his devil-may-care son is eventually killed by a posse after he kills a gambler who was insulting Tracy's honor, and worst of all, he and his wife split up for almost 20 years after just a couple of years of marriage.
The story has a happy ending, though, after Tracy and Hepburn finally get together at the very end of the movie. Both are outstanding in their roles, and the movie is worth seeing despite the overall downer of a plot.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Randy Keehn VINE VOICE on June 6, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie for the first time over the weekend. I enjoyed the movie which is a sort of Western soap opera. What I found most impressive was the relationship between the two stars of the movie. Both characters came across as quite reserved which is unusual given their other performances together.

I called the movie a Western soap opera and I do so because this one will bring a few tears to more than one set of eyes. Yet it starts out with the boldness of the tale of a cattle baron. The relationship between Tracy and Hepburn reaches a crisis and its' resolution changes the direction of the movie. There is a scandal that almost slips our attention after what we're used to seeing in modern movies. In fact, it wasn't until later that I figured out the impact of some of the previous dialogue. The ending is worth hanging around for.

This movie was well-made with good direction ad decent acting. I'm not trying to put down those higher up on the bill but I thought the best acting was done by Edgar Buchanan. I was doing some math in my head; the movie begins on the Great Plains in 1880. It culminates roughly 20-25 years later bringing it into the 20th Century. However, the clothes, backdrop, transportaion modes, and technology never left 1880. If that's my biggest quibble, it can't have been too bad. This was a movie that turned out to be better than I had expected.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THE SEA OF GRASS is thought by some to be one of the classics of Western fiction. It was originally published in serial form by the "Saturday Evening Post" in 1936. Later, it was made into a movie, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.

As a novel, 75 years later, it is only fair. The plot revolves around three characters: Colonel Jim Brewton, a powerful John Wayne-type cattle baron, who runs his vast empire on a "sea of grass" in the 1890s; Lutie Brewton, a highly charming and sophisticated woman whom Brewton "imports" from Missouri to be his wife on the isolated plains; and Brock Brewton, the third of Lutie's children who it is eventually revealed was actually sired by Brice Chamberlain, Jim Brewton's political nemesis. The major problem with the novel, at least for me, is that the actions of these three characters, as well as what must be their underlying motivations, are more those of Greek gods than actual human beings, and the overall story is more a mythical tragedy than something that rings true to human experience. The second problem I have with the novel is that in general the prose is too clichéd and infused with the tropes and conventional images of Western fiction. It's not full-blown Louis L'Amour, but it is too far down that trail for my taste.

On the other hand, an aspect of the novel that I appreciated was its depiction of the conflict between open-range cattle ranching and "nesting" (farming or homesteading) and their disparate effects on the land. At the beginning of the novel, Jim Brewton grazed his 70,000 head of cattle on public lands covering an idyllic "sea of grass" that rose to a rider's stirruped thighs.
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