Home In Indiana
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Oscar ® Nominated director Henry Hathaway; helms this heartwarming story of a lad (Lon McCallister) with a penchant for trouble. When he is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in the Midwest, he discovers a love for horses. At the same time he discovers a tomboyish girl named Char (Jeanne Crain) who shares his penchant as well. Also starring Walter Brennan and Charlotte Greenwood with Ward Bond. Shown in 4:3 full frame presentation.
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Unfortunately, the Fox Archive program has gotten a reputation for being hit or miss with the quality of their releases, and this particular release is sadly one of their misses. The print quality isn't terrible by any means, but it IS pretty soft, with a fair amount of blemishing / dirt / debris throughout. It would have been great to have a crisp, clean print of this. Instead, it feels like the Fox Archive crew simply pulled the existing VHS version of this movie off the shelf and duped it onto DVD, for a quick buck. [UPDATE: I have a friend who owns an official studio-released VHS version of "Home in Indiana" and when we compared the VHS version and the DVD version, it looks like Fox did indeed just dupe the new DVD release from the old VHS version.]
If Fox is going to charge almost $20 for this (and their other Archive releases), they really should have the courtesy to at least strike a brand new print of the movie(s) first. I'm not even talking about doing any restoration work, which I know would probably be prohibitively expensive, especially with small movies like this one, that aren't likely to sell a ton of copies. However, having been spoiled by the pretty consistently great quality of DVD releases under the Warner Archive program, I've come to expect other studios to deliver the same kind of quality, but maybe that's too much to ask.
Bottom line, I hate to turn anyone away from this sweet little film, but at the same time, I really hate to reward Fox for putting out second-rate product. They can -- and have -- done better with (some of their) previous releases under the Fox Cinema Archive banner. Very disappointing...
The charm of 'Home in Indiana' lay in the fine cast of young actors - Lon, Jeanne Crain and June Haver, ably supported by experienced and loveable adults, and the relations between them, plus the magnificent Technicolor photography. It made Indiana seem like a paradise on Earth to an impressionable young Australian, so much so that on one of my adult visits to the USA I made a special effort to visit that state. I was far from the only person who fell under its spell. It was, I think, the top box-office movie of the year.
I cannot understand why Twentieth Century-Fox has never released the film on DVD, particularly as they remade the story as 'April Love'. The two would make a very good double disk album. There is a dearth of films without violence and with 'feel-good' values in these days of mindless action and special effects, and a reminder of the time when film makers mainly depicted the world in a positive light would indeed be refreshing.
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