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With: Zachary Scott, Betty Field, Beulah Bondi, J. Carrol Naish, Blanche Yurka, Percy Kilbride, Estelle Taylor
Written by: Jean Renoir, Hugo Butler, William Faulkner
Directed by: Jean Renoir
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: English
Running Time: 91
Date: 04/30/1945

The Southerner (1945)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Farm Aid

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Essential viewing. During WWII, celebrated French director Jean Renoir came to Hollywood for a brief period of English language films. For The Southerner, he commissioned William Faulkner to touch up the film's screenplay (without credit) and lifted this rather ordinary tale of troubled farmers to poetic heights that any other director couldn't dream of reaching.

Zachary Scott stars as a sharecropper who grows tired of working for others and starts his own farm, growing cotton. Of course, there are all kinds of setbacks, but Renoir tells the story with a lack of hurry, delving deeply into the emotions of the moment. The movie received three Oscar nominations, for Best Director, Music, and Sound.

VCI's 2000 DVD release comes with an Edgar Kennedy comedy short, Baby Daze and selected cast and crew biographies. In 2016, Kino Lorber offered a Blu-ray edition; it's not flawless, as it seems to come from flawed source material, but it looks pretty darn good. Audio is fine. It comes with two shorts, the Renoir-directed A Salute to France (1944), and Pare Lorentz's 1938 The River, which Renoir cited as an influence on The Southerner.

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