Film and TV

Flick Pick

When the great French director Jean Renoir immigrated to the United States, he wasted no time making an American masterpiece that is, in the view of many film scholars, the equal of Grand Illusion or The Rules of the Game. The Southerner, released in 1945, chronicles the struggle of a poor cotton farmer (Zachary Scott), his wife (Betty Field) and their family to gain a measure of independence. But everything goes wrong: A storm savages the crops; a malicious neighbor ruins the vegetable garden; one of the children falls ill from malnutrition. Simply shot and poetically imagined, this tale of stubborn pride amid great anxiety may be Renoir's best U.S. film. Adapted from a George Sessions Perry novel, it enjoyed a bit of script tinkering by no less a literary figure than William Faulkner, and the assistant director was Robert Aldrich, who went on to make everything from The Big Knife to The Dirty Dozen.

The Southerner screens at 7 p.m. Friday, January 21, at the Boulder Public Library, 1000 Canyon Boulevard, as part of the library's terrific free film program. For information, go to www.boulder.lib.co.us/films.

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Bill Gallo
Contact: Bill Gallo

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