Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Movie Review: ****The Shepherd of the Hills (John Wayne, 1941)

This movie takes place in the rural Ozark Hills, in the area of Branson, Missouri.  John Wayne portrays young Matt Mathews.  His mother died giving birth to him.  His father was not there.  He has grown up hating his father who abandoned him.  In fact the entire family is filled with hate.  His mother's sister is married to big Matt Mathews.  Daniel Howitt (Harry Carey), a stranger, comes to the area and wants to buy property.  He is a wealthy outsider, and purchases the land known as moaning meadow, where young Matt's mother lived and passed away.  There is a young woman, Sammy Lane (Betty Field) who has a relationship with young Matt, but also befriends Daniel Howitt.  Young Matt wants Howitt to leave.  Howitt becomes an important part of the community, using his money to help others.  He is known as the shepherd of the hill.  However, Howitt is actually young Matt's father.  He has come back to see if he can make amends.  Young Matt has had one life time goal, which has consumed his life, and that is to kill his father.  When young Matt discovers Howitt's true identity events lead him to this conclusion; he has no future, other than to be a murderer.  At the critical point, the unexpected happens.
This movie is loosely based on the novel of the same name.  However the relationship of the characters is all different.  I really like Field in her role.  She brings a lot of energy and spark. 

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