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The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936)

A railroad man from the city befriends a mountain girl in a Kentucky family feud.

Director:

Henry Hathaway

Writers:

Grover Jones (screen play), John Fox Jr. (based on the novel by) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sylvia Sidney ... June Tolliver
Fred MacMurray ... Jack Hale
Henry Fonda ... Dave Tolliver
Fred Stone ... Judd Tolliver
Nigel Bruce ... Major Thurber
Beulah Bondi ... Melissa Tolliver
Robert Barrat ... Buck Falin
George 'Spanky' McFarland ... Buddie Tolliver
Fuzzy Knight ... Tater
Otto Fries Otto Fries ... Corsey
Samuel S. Hinds ... Sheriff
Alan Baxter ... Clayt Tolliver
Fern Emmett ... Lena Tolliver
Richard Carle ... Ezra Tolliver
Henry Brandon ... Wade Falin (as Henry Kleinbach)
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Storyline

A feud, the origins of which can barely be remembered, has been boiling for decades between two sheltered mountain families, the Tollivers and the Falins. With plans to build a railroad through both families' land and mine coal deposits beneath it, enterprising outsider Jack Hale (Fred MacMurray) inadvertently becomes entangled in the region's politics. He soon captures the attention of the beautiful June Tolliver (Sylvia Sidney) and quickly becomes involved in a love triangle with her and her cousin Dave (Henry Fonda) Written by tonyman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The technicolor spectacle that blazes the trail to an all time high-in adventure!


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 March 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The costumes were not designed for color, yet. All were tones of brown and grey, as was customary for black and white photography. The sets and props were similarly tones of brown. A couple exceptions included multi-colored pencils on a desk and apples in baskets. See more »

Goofs

The mud on June Tolliver changes thickness and shape between shots. It also changes from wet to dry and then back to wet. See more »

Quotes

Melissa Tolliver: I was born old...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits (except for the Paramount logo) all appear as if they had been printed on tree barks. See more »

Connections

Version of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1914) See more »

Soundtracks

Twilight on the Trail
Music by Louis Alter
Lyrics by Sidney D. Mitchell
Sung by Fuzzy Knight, aided by Nigel Bruce (humming) and Fred MacMurray (whistling)
See more »

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User Reviews

Don't Let the Obscurity Fool You
24 March 2014 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

The movie's an affecting tale of feuding backwoods families, who must also make adjustments to encroaching modern world. I was expecting a Romeo-Juliet situation with the families, but that's surprisingly not the case. Instead June (Sidney) has to decide between her cousin Dave (Fonda) and outsider Hale (MacMurray). Tradition favors Dave, but her heart favors Hale. At the same time, railroad developers are crossing land owned by each family, and neither the Tollivers nor the Falins wants to accommodate their hereditary enemy. They'd rather shoot each other if they get the chance. And who knows how the enmity started, except now it's part of both families' tradition. If the movie's flawed, it's with the use of of popular backwoods stereotypes.

Apparently this was the first outdoor Technicolor feature (IMDB), but you'd never know it. Visually the film is quite striking, with a lot of beautiful outdoor compositions. Also, you'd never guess these were filmed just 35-miles east of LA in the San Bernardino mountains. The acting too is first-rate—a soulful Sydney, an ornery Fonda, and an underrated MacMurray. Then there's Sherlock Holmes' favorite Dr. Watson, Nigel Bruce, in a non-comedic role. Needless to say, that took some adjustment for this old Sherlock fan. In fact, there're a couple other unexpected cast members, as well: Little Rascal Spanky McFarland and comedic Fuzzy Knight. And, of course, mustn't forget everyone's favorite hard-scrabble mom, Beulah Bondi, as the long-suffering ma Tolliver.

I like the way the movie works the culture clash between tradition and modernity into the plot. The railroad company pays big money for land use, and that along with a railway to service the expected coal deposits, is bringing the backwoods into the modern age, as June's evolution shows. Of course, not everyone's supportive of change, particularly dad Tolliver (Stone). The movie has some uncommonly poignant moments, especially that final sequence, which conveys an extraordinary emotional power. As a kid, I recall bawling at it, and even now as a geezer, it brought a tear to the eye. As I see it, Fuzzy and his dog are mourning not only friends but the passing of a simpler way of life.

All in all, the movie is surprisingly good, with a strong story, commanding visuals, and a thoughtful subtext. So don't pass it up because of a relative obscurity.


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