Famed French director Jean Renoir came up with a true slice of Americana in this drama, in which he also helped to write the screenplay, which chronicles a year in the life of a tenant-farmer and his family. Zachary Scott abandoned his usual smooth characterizations to portray the beleaguered man of the land, coping with trying to survive against the problems of farming and a troublesome neighbor. Excellent photography and top performances by all involved make this a special film not to be missed by any classic film buff. Based on George Sessions Perry's novel, Hold Autumn in Your Hand, The Southerner was Renoir's favorite among his American films. The film, though not a huge boxoffice success for United Artists, garnered much critical acclaim and also won the Venice Film Festival's Best Picture Award. Bonus Features:
Bonus Two-Reeler Comedy "Baby Daze" with Edgar Kennedy, Scene Selection. Actor Bios. Specs:
DVD5; Dolby Digital Mono; 91 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1945.
During World War II, Jean Renoir fled Nazi-occupied France for America and tried his hand at making Hollywood films. This period is generally (and unfairly) dismissed as fallow ground in Renoir's career, but even most of his critics agree that The Southerner
is not just the best of his five American films, but a fine example of Renoir's humanistic vision. Transplanting the poetic realism of his French masterpieces of the 1930s to the rural American South, Renoir presents a year in the life of a family of migrant workers who decide to follow their dream of farming their own land. Hawk-eyed Zachary Scott gives the performance of his career as the easygoing but determined father who risks everything to give his family something to call their own, with J. Carroll Naish as his bitter, hostile neighbor. The seasonal structure and episodic nature of the film focuses on the hardships the family faces, finding the rhythm of life between setbacks and victories and the soul of his lovingly created characters through their bent but unbowed spirit. Renoir adapted George Perry Sessions's novel Hold Autumn in Your Hand
with uncredited help from William Faulkner. This was Renoir's personal favorite of his American films and the only one to enjoy commercial success. --Sean Axmaker