|SHENANDOAH (director: Andrew V. McLaglen; screenwriter: James Lee Barrett; cinematographer: William H. Clothier; editor: Otho Lovering; music: Frank Skinner; cast: James Stewart (Charlie Anderson), Doug McClure (Sam), Glenn Corbett (Jacob Anderson), Patrick Wayne (James Anderson), Rosemary Forsyth (Jennie Anderson), James McMullan (James McMullan), Tim McIntire (Henry Anderson), Phillip Alford (Boy Anderson), Katharine Ross (Ann Anderson), Charles Robinson (Nathan Anderson), James Best (Carter), Doug McClure (Sam), Denver Pyle (Pastor Bjoerling), George Kennedy (Col. Fairchild), Warren Oates (Billy Packer), Strother Martin (Engineer), Eugene Jackson (Gabriel, freed slave); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Arthur; MCA Universal Home Video; 1965)|
|"A well-acted, folksy,
sentimental and respectable Civil War drama."
by Dennis Schwartz
well-acted, folksy, sentimental and respectable
Civil War drama, shot in lush surroundings in
Eugene, Oregon, and directed with clarity by the
usually not so hot Andrew V. McLaglen ("The
Wild Geese"/"The Last Hard Men"/"Chisum"), son
of famed character actor Victor McLaglen.
It's also finely written by James
Lee Barrett. Though it could be criticized
for its TV look of the period, which takes away any
chance for greatness. In 1974 it was made into a
Broadway musical. It seems like a John Ford pastiche,
with so many of his regulars filling out the cast.
pic is noted for James Stewart delivering two
classic emotionally-charged soliloquies to his
1863, the widower Charlie Anderson (James
Stewart), whose wife Martha died during childbirth, is
a wealthy farmer in Shenandoah,
Virginia, living peacefully with his six grown
sons - Jacob (Glenn Corbett),
James (Patrick Wayne), Nathan (Charles
Robinson), John (James McMullan),
Henry (Tim McIntire),
Boy (Phillip Alford), and his
grown daughter Jennie (Rosemary Forsyth).
Not believing in slavery, Charlie remains neutral as
the Civil War rages in his southern community. But
things change when Jennie marries neighbor Sam (Doug
McClure) and on the wedding day he's
called into the Confederate army. Then his
youngest 16-year-old son, Boy, while wearing a
Confederate cap is captured by the Union army and
taken prisoner. This is followed by looters murdering
his son James and his wife Ann (Katharine
Ross), who reside with him on the farm. A further
personal tragedy has the patriarch's son
accidentally killed. The drama reaches a boiling
point and concludes in a sentimental finish, as
Charlie, with his other sons, goes on a dangerous
mission to retrieve his prisoner son.
moving film released during the unpopular Vietnam
War caught favor with the public for its strong
anti-war sentiments and the solid performance by
Stewart. It has Stewart commenting on this specific
war to his deceased wife Martha at the graveyard: "I
don't even know what to say to you, Martha. There's
nothing much I can tell you about this war. It's like
all wars, I suppose. The undertakers are winning it.
Politicians talk a lot about the glory of it. The
soldiers, they just want to go home."
Not a bad message, especially from a semi-western, that should favorably reach across both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.
REVIEWED ON 6/27/2014 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ