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Shepherd of the Hills


Swithin
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Shepherd of the Hills, which starts in a few minutesis a rarity, in many ways Henry Hathaway's follow-up to his earlier Trail of the Lonesome Pine, also set in the mountain country. Forget John Wayne in this. The stars are the supporting cast, particularly Beulah Bondi, who has an incredible scene with a ring of fire, and Marjorie Main, whose vision is restored in an amazing scene. This is a beautiful, lyrical film. I'd like to see Trail and Shepherd screened with the earlier silent film adaptations of both books as well. It seems out of place in a John Wayne series.

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I'm still watching it, and it is interesting, although rather weird.

 

Many of these kinds of primitive people did exist in the old days, but generally not so many with guns and family fueds living so close together, because they would have killed each other off. But before that, many would have moved away into some other valley or on some other mountain.

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I like this film, too-- a twisted version of The Waltons.  Beulah Bondi fans will want to check out TRACK OF THE CAT, where she once again plays an over-the-top mountain matriarch.  And of course, Beulah would go on to earn an Emmy for her guest-starring work on The Waltons in the 1970s.

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One of my all-time favorites.  Carey is wonderful and the music score by Gerard Carbonara is outstanding.  The biggest surprise is Marc Lawrence.  He was offered a choice of two parts by Hathaway and chose the mute.  What a total surprise performance he turned in.

 

Fans of the book have disdain for this picture because it deviates from the original narrative.  But on its own it's a great picture, shamefully unheralded.

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I like this film, too-- a twisted version of The Waltons.  Beulah Bondi fans will want to check out TRACK OF THE CAT, where she once again plays an over-the-top mountain matriarch.  And of course, Beulah would go on to earn an Emmy for her guest-starring work on The Waltons in the 1970s.

Beulah Bondi's appearance at the Emmys when she won that award was the most moving moment I have ever seen on an award show. Maybe it's because, for me, Beulah represents the best about classic Hollywood.  That moment on the Emmys was something!

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Swithin,

 

I've decided that this is a good film, although a little strange. :)

 

I'll watch it again the next time TCM airs it. Thanks for the tip. Your tip is what caused me to finally watch it. :)

 

 

Here is TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE, which you linked to the YouTube thread earlier. I haven't seen this one yet:

 

 

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Hey Swithin, I also watched SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS last night because of your recommendation,so thanks for posting about the film :) I have been watching the intros and outros with RO and Scott Eyman and enjoying the backstory info they've given us, so I might have watched it anyway but your postings convinced me to stick around and watch.

 

I agree that Beulah Bondi and Main were great. Wayne, well he was fine, but many could have played that role. It was so interesting to see Marc Lawrence as Pete. I didn't love the film, although it was beauiful to look at. I did however like the film very much and would watch again. Surprised I hadn't seen it before. I know that you also love ( and I do as well) ALL MINE TO GIVE. You seem to really love a certain time period and genre of family film, and I admire your eclectic tastes knowing how sophisticated you are. ( our only parting of the ways is about Stanwyck) LOL - Alerting us about SHEPHERD was a very good choice :)

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Thanks, Lavender. I'm glad you found Shepherd interesting. Check out Trail of the Lonesome Pine if you get the chance. Same director, a few of the same actors, same genre. It was the first outdoor technicolor film. Re: BS, it's not that I don't like her, I do, and love many of her films. But she's no Beulah Bondi!

 

 

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I had seen it many years ago on a local broadcast and was quite impressed. Last night's print was incredible - you really can't beat that old Technicolor process. Ditto applies to Reap the Wild Wind which is my favorite De Mille film. Both were popping off the screen.

 

 

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I saw it for the first time, and liked it quite a bit. Beautifully shot, some nice plot twists. I do see what I call a couple of plot holes. If Carey had gone to prison, surely in a small community like that, everyone would have known. Also, Carey seemed to be getting a regular income, to make his $75 a month mortgage payments. I don't see how a released prisoner would get that.  I'll admit that there are possible explanations for these, but they seem unlikely. I did not let that stand in the way of my enjoyment of the film! Thanks for the recommendation, Swithin.

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Yes Val, I was wondering about the source of his income as well. Maybe the book -- which is evidently quite different -- gives a clue. I also wondered about the nice clothes that Betty Field wore. Even Beulah Bondi wore a particularly attractive ensemble in her last scenes. But then I thought, maybe my Yankee urban preconceptions about how mountain folk dress are wrong!

 

I think Marjorie Main was particularly good in this movie -- quite subdued and moving. She's wonderful in her big scene, when her vision is restored. Which brings us back to Harry Carey's income -- he paid for the surgery!

 

 

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Swithin, I don't think it's much of a stretch to think that mountain people had one nice set of clothes. They were often called "Sunday go to meetin' clothes." Yes, Main and Bondi were both quite good.

 

As to Carey's income - probably even in those days, cons were paid a bit for their work. But, that wouldn't account for what seems to be a monthly income, used to make the mtg payments, or the big sum for the operation. 

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Thanks, Lavender. I'm glad you found Shepherd interesting. Check out Trail of the Lonesome Pine if you get the chance. Same director, a few of the same actors, same genre. It was the first outdoor technicolor film. Re: BS, it's not that I don't like her, I do, and love many of her films. But she's no Beulah Bondi!

 

Swithin my friend, I just read this post. Thanks for the recommendation of TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE. I will seek the film out.

 

Just a couple of comments. I agree with your admiration for Beulah Bondi. Truly one of the greatest character actresses. Without turning this thread into another Stanwyck thread, you must admit that Ms. Bondi could not have played the many femme fatale roles that Ms. Stanwyck did. In both noirs and comedies, Stanwyck imo was superb. They each were outstanding in the type of roles they played and I guess we should probably leave it at that.

 

To return the favor for your recommendation of Lonesome Pine, I'm mentioning TRACK OF THE CAT I think you'd enjoy this film for a couple of reasons. Beulah Bondi plays the bitter, cold mother role in this film. Her performance is outstanding and she is really the star of the film. The film is set in the 1880's and the family is removed from civilization. It's a bit of a strange film, but as I said Bondi's performance makes this film a wothwhile watch. Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Tab Hunter play Bondi's children. It's similiar to SHEPHERD since it's that dysfunctional family in the wilderness and Bondi rules the family. Don't know if TCM shows it, but I think Encore or Retro does and I think it's in one of their rotations currently. If you get a chance, give this one a try.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gots to see this hear film and saw lots of barefootin goin on, luved the stuff. Reminded me of that Dear movy and the one with the guy hiddin in the swamp. Oh an Tobakee road was aplyed that way to. Cants believe Jon Wayne was so mean in thisun, but what a fight seen they had.

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