Raintree County
Reviewed in April 2010
Director: Edward Dmytryk. Cast: Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint, Nigel Patrick, Rod Taylor, Lee Marvin, Tom Drake, Isabel Cooley, Rosalind Hayes, Walter Abel, Agnes Moorehead, Jarma Lewis, Russell Collins, Rhys Williams, Jack Daly. Screenplay: Millard Kaufman (based on the novel by Ross Lockridge, Jr.).

Photo © 1957 Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Nat King Cole singing affectionate theme song to the county (?); "this picture-taking orgy"; "is it because already you have entered the miserable hovel of womanhood and bitter wisdom?" (Prof.); "A Good Wife is a good start toward greatness"; Prof by creekside on Johnny Appleseed - golden raintree from China; Clift tracking/sludging through swamp in White southern finery, looking for Raintree; cooing bath of gentle brass and choral affections; long drinking scene with Patrick, Marvin on either side of the wide screen - Rod Taylor's there, too; EMS jealous of Taylor but bringing nothing to the film; he's gotten her preggers, denies to EMS that it's because of drunkenness, learns from his father that father, too, was out of wedlock; "worries about secession" immed upon arrival; Byron talk; party guest so amused by Liz's liberation of slaves that he grabs soot from the fireplace and smears his face to laughter in the drawing-room; doll smashing, but then Liz needs one of 'em (voodoo shit?); fleeing RCounty, ET posed with a doll?, under name Henrietta; EMS: "IF anything happens to you, it'll be the most pitiful murder since the beginning of time" - "and this earth is his earth!"; CUE INTERMISSION at 2:15:++; Civil War fighting montage, loosely narrated by Nigel Patrick; long death scene for Lee Marvin, cornered in darkness by unseen Confederate in the bushes who wants coffee and blood; some printer flipping over "War Over! Lee Surr to G"; ET locked up in a black and grey asylum; asylum mistress: "Even with the war over, we're in the backwash of everything, war or peace nobody cares"; "I don't pity you, I love you!" looking gaunt and shrunken; Lincoln's remains train their way through; Clift is really a teacher? (grading comps, student wading in river); "Garwood, you'll always belong to the same party - the party of yourself. Get out" limp noodle; MC to NP: Right now, politics is on your brow like a high fever; movie can't QUITE endorse the Henrietta's-her-mama thesis, displacing it as mostly confirmed rumor in the mouth of black servant; Jim's fine, though maybe not in novel?; E L I Z A B E T H T A Y L O R About a half-hour in, screaming "WAIT!!" apol unladylike behavior "I like unladies" - are you a fast runner? I'm a pretty fast runner myself; Thiss iz ware I lee-uv (though usually perfectly fine accent); NP calls her "that piece of souther-fried chicken"; unpacking all of her dolls on wedding cruise; abolitionist bad, one-drop worse; nostalgic reverie at old plantation house, little freak-out at grave of negro Henrietta, quite possibly her mother, or at least her father's mistress; women's bones obscured by fire; Susanna's mother went insane; significant color variations in TCM print; has lied about her age by 6 years; "I hardly knew they BUILT towns this small anymore" - can't figure out amusement; isn't actually pregnant, btw; "schoolteachers have the most revolting habits - like readin' and writin' and messin' around in musty little classrooms"; "If there's one thing people around here can do, it's add up to nine"; dolls hanging on headboard curtain; "You HATE me because I'm SOUTHERN!"; EMS leaves for Indianapolis post-Lincoln election; Liz runs up from party embarrassment and bangs fist against mirror, cries lavishly; "I think it's come" writhing on bed (--> war news); "There's another one, that was dark! - Did they throw it away?"; comes back from shopping day in Indianapolis and freaks out about a missing letter, costumed in a dark, Chinese-inspired dress, hulking blue-black bed behind her; "I know something about that fire nobody else knows"; S,LS asylum practice; cured by promise of love against stained, stony cell wall; ET and her bullet breasts grasp that EMS inspires MC to better things, "You sill love him"; "I wonder if things would have gone better for you, if you could have found your raintree"; charges upstairs to kill herself, cloudy face diss into MC in specs at desk; oops! it's just to pack and leave, "find the raintree"; she says it like "white diamonds"; her sincerity helps, naive though it is; no, no - it IS to kill herself; where's lil Jim?; doll in the brackish water!; D

Academy Award Nominations:
Best Actress: Elizabeth Taylor
Best Art Direction: William A. Horning & Urie McCleary; Edwin B. Willis & Hugh Hunt
Best Costume Design: Walter Plunkett
Best Original Score: Johnny Green

Golden Globe Nominations:
Best Supporting Actor: Nigel Patrick

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