Underrated film improves with time Aug 17, 2011
by Kathleen M
This gentle 1956 film about a Quaker family living in pre-Civil War southern Indiana has been criticized for inadequately portraying Quakerism. To my mind, the central story is the Gary Cooper role of Jess Birdwell, the family patriarch. A convert to the pacifist way of life by virtue of his marriage to a Quaker wife, one is never quite sure of the depth of Jess's Quaker convictions. He brings an organ into the house; he succumbs to the urge to race his horse against that of a fellow Quaker on their way to Friends' Meeting. As the Civil War comes to their doorstep, family and neighbors deal with conflicting decisions in a story that seems to make no endorsements of any one particular point of view. A wonderful movie.