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The Trail of the Lonesome Pine


Swithin
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I first heard of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine was when I was 16 and read Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which revealed that the song based on the book is Gertrude Stein's favorite song, and that the book was beloved of hospitalized WWI doughboys, to whom she read it, in France, during the war.
 
The 1936 movie based on the novel is the fifth version. It is a glorious film, directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Sylvia Sidney, Henry Fonda, Fred MacMurray, Fuzzy Knight, Spanky McFarland, Fred Stone, Nigel Bruce, and, in one of her greatest roles, Beulah Bondi. It was the first feature film to be shot on location, in three-strip Technicolor. The New York Times critic wrote: 
 
Demonstrating increased mastery of the new element, Walter Wanger's producing unit proves in The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, which opened yesterday at the Paramount, that Technicolor is not restricted to a studio's stages, but can record quite handsomely the rich, natural coloring of the outside world and whatever dramatic action may be encountered in it. The significance of this achievement is not to be minimized. It means that color need not shackle the cinema, but may give it fuller expression.
 

I think the film (Paramount) may have been shown on TCM, but I'd love to see it again, and all the silent versions that preceded it. It is deeply moving, has a great cast, and is gorgeous to look at. The song is used over the credits (and was used in a Laurel & Hardy film the following year), but a new, Oscar-nominated song was written for the film as well: "A Melody from the Sky."
 
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     I remember seeing this film on TV when I was a little boy. I remember how beautiful the color was

as it was shot outdoors in Technicolor and I remember it having a sad ending.

     I wish TCM would be able to acquire the rights to show this film. I've had TCM since 1995 and in all these 20 years they've never shown it.

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  • 1 month later...

How did I miss this thread...? I love this film and am glad you started a discussion about it. 

 

I rented the disc from Netflix maybe five years ago and I think I watched it three or four times before I sent the disc back. It's a film I should own. 

 

Why doesn't TCM do a special primetime spotlight for Beulah Bondi? Or even Sylvia Sidney for that matter? TCM viewers would enjoy seeing THE TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE.

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I know it doesn't have as good a reputation, but I've always preferred the folow-up film THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS, mainly because of Harry Carey.  I haven't seen PINE in many years, I'll have to revisit it.

I like Shepherd of the Hills very much. The scene between Marjorie Main and Beulah Bondi is particularly effective; as is the creepy "Circle of Fire" scene with Beulah. This is one of my favorite John Wayne films -- maybe because I don't particularly like John Wayne, and Shepherd is not typical.

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I know it doesn't have as good a reputation, but I've always preferred the folow-up film THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS, mainly because of Harry Carey.  I haven't seen PINE in many years, I'll have to revisit it.

I think both films-- PINE, followed by SHEPHERD-- would make a wonderful double-feature one evening on TCM. Hint-hint, programmers.

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