The Southerner (April 30, 1945)
Released on April 30, 1945: A cotton picker and his family decide to trade a paycheck for the chance to start their own farm.
Directed by Jean Renoir
Written by George Sessions Perry, Hugo Butler, Jean Renoir, William Faulkner and Nunnally Johnson.
The Actors: Zachary Scott (Sam Tucker), Betty Field (Nona Tucker), J. Carrol Naish (Devers), Beulah Bondi (Granny Rucker), Percy Kilbride (Harmie), Charles Kemper (Uncle Tim Walter), Blanche Yurka (Mama Tucker), Norman Lloyd (Finlay), Estelle Taylor (Lizzie), Paul Harvey (Ruston), Noreen Nash (Becky Devers), Jack Norworth (Dr. White), Nestor Paiva (bartender), Paul E. Burns (Uncle Pete Tucker), Jay Gilpin (Jot Tucker), Jean Vanderwilt (Daisy Tucker), Wheaton Chambers (store customer), Grace Christy (townswoman), Anne Cornwall (townswoman), Dorothy Granger (wedding party girl), Earl Hodgins (wedding guest), Ann Kund (townswoman and wedding guest), Almira Sessions (store customer), Glen Walters (townsman and wedding guest)
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The Fighting Farmer
My grandpa's family was a Mennonite farm family. Before grandpa David King Berkey (everyone called him 'Pap') was born his farmer parents moved from Ohio to Kansas. Pap was born in a sod cabin in Kansas, but before he grew up they gave up on the dusty Kansas plains and moved back to the Canfield, Ohio area. Three of his older brothers and sisters died on the hot Kanas plains and his father got mightily ill before they sold everything and headed back to Ohio.
My grandfather Pap and his brother John had better luck when they grew up and bought some farm land. Pap and John worked a large farm with chickens and pigs, peach and apple orchards, and in the winter they dug a tunnel into one of the hillsides, and with shovel and pick they mined coal to sell to the neighbors and keep their farm house warm.
For thousands of years families farmed and hunted and worked for themselves. It was often hard, but was usually rewarding. After the industrial revolution we got accustomed to 'working for the man' - taking a wage from someone else in exchange for our labor. Many generations have come and gone with men and women who never knew any life except to get up every day and work for a paycheck from someone else. Long ago, when I was very young, someone told me that working for another man is the crabgrass in the lawn of life. Of course here I am now, having worked for a paycheck all of my life.
This story is an epic tale of the kind of independent farm people that made this country great. A family of cotton pickers in the South rented a small farm to carve out a life that no boss could fire them from, and no boss could cut their wages or change their job. Instead of working for a paycheck they became gamblers . . . Gambling on the sweet dirt, sunshine and rain for a payday that is earned with sweat, hard work, a good fight now and then, and a wee bit of luck. Today I understand that most farming is big corporate business worked by men getting a paycheck, but wasn't always like that. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Betty Field and Zachary Scott
Betty Field and Jay Gilpin
Beulah Bondi and Betty Field
Beulah Bondi, Jay Gilpin, Jean Vanerwilt and Betty Field
Blanche Yurka and Percy Kilbride
Charles Kemper and Estelle Taylor
J. Carrol Naish
J. Carrol Naish and Noreen Nash
J. Carrol Naish
Jay Gilpin and Jean Vanderwilt
Jay Gilpin and Zachary Scott
Jean Vanderwilt and Beulah Bondi
Noreen Nash and Zachary Scott
Paul E. Burns
Percy Kilbride and Blanche Yurka
Zachary Scott and Charles Kemper
Zachary Scott and Estelle Taylor
Zachary Scott and Noreen Nash
Zachary Scott and J. Carrol Naish