Saturday, November 10, 2012

SHENANDOAH (1965)

Farmer Jimmy Stewart along with his six sons (including Patrick Wayne), one daughter and one daughter-in-law run a 500 acre farm in Virginia.  The Civil War is happening all around them, but pigheaded Stewart refuses to get involved and tries to ignore it.  Finally some events happen and he doesn't have any choice but to get involved.

I was kinda torn with SHENANDOAH.  The acting is very good, but the story is off.  In one of the opening scenes Jimmy's teenage son finds a Rebel hat and starts wearing it.  Right then and there the viewer knows that no good can come of this, but even with the war raging all around them Stewart allows the boy to wear the hat.  Naturally something really horrible happens because of the hat.  Another thing that irked me and it's irked me with a number of films from this period is the blind happiness in going to church.  I know that if my entire life and the lives of my family were destroyed and turned upside down because of my foolishness I damn sure wouldn't be sittin' around in church praisin' the Lord and crying.

Quick pace, lots of action, tons of familiar faces, unwise life choices, great acting, clips of battle scenes from RAINTREE COUNTY, bending bayonets, multiple actors from "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "Little House on the Prairie".  Enjoyable beginning and middle that's tarnished by a weak ending.  Too bad that Stewart and Anthony Mann had already had their falling out in real life because this film could have used Mann in charge.
 I'll never look at Dr. Baker the same ever again.