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Powell and Pressburger's potboiler
didi-53 March 2007
'Gone to Earth', in its original form (not as revised and reordered under the helm of Reuben Mamoulian), is a powerful realisation in shimmering Technicolor of both Mary Webb's novel and the savage pull of the forces of nature.

Hazel (Jennifer Jones, imported from Hollywood, as you would expect from Selznick's involvement in this film), is an innocent, an animal lover with a head full of fantasy, fairies, and spells. Her father (played beautifully by Esmond Knight), plays the harp while she sings in strange, ethereal tones.

Enter the sacred and the profane in the forms of Cyril Cusack as the minister (understated as ever), and David Farrar as the lusty Squire (in his third appearance in P&P films, and in some ways the character is a close cousin to Black Narcissus's Mr Dean). Hazel is desired by them both, but in very different ways, and her naiveté and innocence may well prove to be her undoing.

Against the backdrop of country fairs, fox hunts, flowers trodden into the mud, fairgrounds, parish councils, and disapproving parents (Sybil Thorndike, memorable as the parson's mother), this film proves to be a gem.

There's a couple of nice roles for Hugh Griffith and George Cole as well. And Jones, despite a sometimes dodgy accent, always seemed to look half her age and inhabits the Shropshire hills perfectly as the ill-fated Hazel, in close company with her pet fox.

In many ways. 'Gone to Earth' is as much a potboiler as any Catherine Cookson, but it has enough to keep you watching.
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The Archers hit the bullseye
jandesimpson16 April 2002
I saw this glorious film when it first appeared. The following week I tracked it down to a small London cinema where they screened single films continuously several times a day without supporting features. I hadn't intended seeing it more than once on this occasion but I can recall being so mesmerised that I watched the programme through three times. Clearly I was out of step with the climate of critical opinion. The reviewers had slated it and the audience around me was distinctly hostile. There was a lot of fidgeting and derisory shouts. Quite a few walked out. Behaviour was often bad in British cinemas in the 'fifties particularly if viewers got bored. The manager called the police in during a screening I attended a few years later of "The Trouble WIth Harry" and I can even remember screaming at the usherettes to stop talking when I first saw "A Face in the Crowd". I had to wait many years before I heard good things being said about "Gone to Earth". It was in 1988 when someone introduced a showing of it on British television most enthusiastically. Whatever one thinks about the relative merits of Powell and Pressburger's films (I am clearly in a minority in thinking this their finest) there is no doubt that they are now appreciated in a way they never were when they first appeared. But if passion for what is still considered one of their minor works may seem rather over the top, let me say but one thing; where else in the whole of cinema is there a more haunting and magical evocation of English landscape! Christopher Challis, a brilliant cinematographer, is the real star of the film. Undoubtedly (and this is perhaps at the core of its original problems) style matters more than content. The plot is little more than Victorian melodrama - lecherous squire deflowers simple country girl who has married local vicar - and the dialogue is curiously stilted. However this hardly matters in a work cinematically choreographed with such brilliance. The final foxhunting sequence, where the film's many strands are brought together, is visually and aurally one of the most spellbinding in all cinema. The huntsman's cry of "Gone to earth!" at the very end has haunted me for well over half a lifetime.
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A Foxy Tale
m0rphy23 April 2003
I now own this title on a DVD since it has recently been issued in the UK in its' new digital, re-mastered version.The colours are certainly impressive.I also visited Much Wenlock, Shropshire recently and photographed us next to the town clock (seen at the beginning of the film) which commemorates Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in 1897, the year the film is set.

The music of Brain Easdale has a haunting quality and I don't think enough credit has been given to this by other reviewers since it adds immeasurably to the atmosphere of the film.While in Much Wenlock I bought a review of Mary Webb's short stories, including "Gone To Earth" as I always like to read the book from which films are adapted (to see where the film plot diverges).Yes it is rather a corny Victorian melodrama but the acting is convincing enough.I could not help but think there were certain parralls with her (Jennifer Jones) previous epic of "Duel in the Sun" (1946).For Lewton McCanless read Jack Reddin, for Jesse McCanless read Reverend Marston, for Mrs Marston read Senator McCanless etc etc.In both films Jennifer Jones plays a half breed, Native American to Gypsy and is discriminated on accordingly by society.

This film has been hidden from view for too long since its' release in 1950 by the major tv networks and viewers should certainly see this Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger film if they can, especially if they enjoyed their other films like "Black Narcissus", "The Red Shoes" or "A Matter of Life & Death" from 1946.Technicolour has rarely been put to such good use.I suppose the main reason why you would watch "Gone To Earth" is to see the ravishing Jennifer Jones in the role of Hazel Woodus although all the cast are very effective.If viewers would like to see another example of David Farrar I saw him in "They Met in the Dark (1944) with James Mason and Joyce Howard.
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An American fan of the Archers.
gregcouture6 May 2003
Somehow this film was made without the incessant tinkering for which David O. Selznick was notoriously famous, presumably because he had allowed his wife, Jennifer Jones, to travel to Great Britain and work her magic untrammelled by his day-to-day presence on the set and in the screening room as rushes were viewed. By all reports, however, he was so horrified by what Powell and Pressburger had wrought that what we on this side of the Atlantic were allowed to view bears only a faint resemblance to the intentions of those English artists,

It has been years since I saw, on a television broadcast, a no doubt truncated and heavily reedited version under its U.S. title, "The Wild Heart" but, as I had before, I was amazed at the "Archers" beautiful, almost florid, use of Technicolor and their apparently reckless disregard for the expectations of an audience weaned on American pablum and the more refined output of their English peers of the cinema.

Miss Jones is vibrantly beautiful and endlessly fascinating as she plays Hazel Woodus and it goes without saying that her support from a memorable cast of carefully chosen players, professional and, I would guess, amateur is of an order that one can always confidently expect from the British both on stage and on screen. It's wishful thinking, at this late date, I suppose but a VHS or DVD version, available to us here in the U.S., would be a remarkable addition to a movie-lover's library.
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Magical adaptation of Mary Webb's novel
zebulonguy12 October 2007
I heartily recommend this film, but as others have said before me, avoid the dreadfully hacked version- The Wild Heart. It amazes me that Selznick could ruin such a wonderful piece of cinema. For me the locations are stunningly beautiful yet bleak. Based on the Mary Webb novel the movie was filmed in Shropshire , the book , as most of Webb's were, was also set there. The windswept Stiperstones and The Devil's Chair are not make believe. They really do exist and you can easily visit these locations.I always wanted to visit Shropshire, as a child I loved the Lone Pine stories by Malcolm Saville that were set there ( I still do ). They, as Webb's stories all were set in real places. The little church ( Godshill ) in the film is still standing and you can still make out the shape of the baptism pool in the garden. It's a beautiful, atmospheric place.I have now visited these locations several times. The long chimney you see standing in several sequences can still be found in the ruins of the old Snailbeach mines. It is so wonderful to stand in these places, on these hills ( the stiperstones, the Long Mynd ) and imagine 57 years ago when all the actors and crew stood in the very same place, you can't explain how you feel, but it's something very extraordinary.The film itself is a strangely evocative piece that features eerily scored music, wild but effective performances. Cyril Cusack stands out in a restrained, dignified part as the sad parson.It is his character that I felt so sorry for.Although poor Jennifer Jones ( Hazel ) is a tormented soul that you can't help but feel attracted to.A glorious piece of cinema of the past with wonderful locations. The plot may be all too familiar but the scenery, the characters and yes, Foxy all help pass the time in a blink of an eye. Watch it a couple of times, each viewing brings out something else that you may have missed.
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Magical escapism
thorp-319 August 2006
I first saw this film when it came out in 1950 when I was a child and was fascinated by the beautiful landscapes which reminded me so much of my former home in Ireland with its soft and dreamy countryside. I did not know at the time that it had been shot in Shropshire and was not aware that there was such a place as Shropshire. I was living at the time in the smoky outskirts of Manchester which had been despoiled by the worst excesses of the Industrial Revolution which co-incidentally had first seen the light of day in Shropshire of all places. For some reason the Industry moved out of Shropshire leaving behind a few traces such as the mine shafts, one of which figures so tragically in this film and others such as the first ever iron bridge which of course can be found at Ironbridge near where the film was made. Some years later I happened to go on an outing to Shropshire and was told by the people living near Church Stretton that the film had been made at Much Wenlock which was quite near there. I never got to go to Much Wenlock but I regularly visit there in spirit when I watch the film on my video. at this stage I must have seen it about 40 times - I watch old films whilst breakfasting at my home in Ireland to which I finally returned after 29 long years in Lancashire. I have read some of the other comments and I would agree that plot wise it is little more than a run of the mill Victorian bodice ripper. But I must heartily agree with one of the people who commented that this film evokes the quintessential essence of English landscape at its best. If it was a painting it would be by John Constable who captured the special something that Gone To Earth epitomises.
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A Magnificent Classic of British Cinema, Lost for 51 Years
robert-temple-130 August 2008
This amazing film was made in 1950 but was never released and has apparently never been shown in a commercial cinema. A mangled form of it minus 35 minutes, reedited, and with some extra linking scenes was released in 1952 as 'The Wild Heart'. This was because Jennifer Jones, the star, was the wife of the control freak David Selznick, who could not bear the fact that this masterpiece had been made without his supervision and represented something authentic, of which he himself was incapable. For the film which Powell and Pressburger really made, it was necessary to wait until 2001 when it was released in a restored version, with the most beautiful Technicolor cinematography, on DVD as part of the Powell and Pressburger retrospective revival. Of this film for more than half a century, therefore, one could truly say it had 'gone to earth', as the huntsman's cry has it in the final devastating scene. The film is based on a novel by Mary Webb, who died in 1927 aged only 46. Another novel of hers, 'Precious Bane', has been filmed more than once, and helped make the reputation of the British actress Janet McTeer. Jennifer Jones is totally stunning in this film as Hazel, a semi-wild half-Gypsy girl with a pet fox named Foxy, a pet raven, rabbits, and a small menagerie of other creatures. She lives with her Celtic harp-playing father in an isolated cottage. He is wonderfully played by Esmond Knight, with true country humour. The wild gypsy girl who roams the hills was a motif well known to Mary Webb from Theodore Watts-Dunton's fictional Welsh gypsy characters Sinfi Lovell and Rhona Boswell, who were based on real people. This film is shot on the Welsh borders as they were in 1949, and in Shropshire. The landscape is wild and wonderful, magnificently filmed, and the movie is like a paean to the wilds. The story is like a Thomas Hardy tale, though less sophisticated and with more than a touch of Victorian melodrama. Cyril Cusack does a superbly restrained job of playing a quiet vicar who cannot express himself and is paralyzed by inactivity, like the main character in John Cowper Powys's novel 'Wolf Solent'. He marries Hazel but 'respects' her too much to touch her and so does not consummate the marriage. That kind of thing often happened in those days. Along comes the monstrously egotistical and unrestrained squire, played to full effect by David Farrar, who becomes obsessed by Hazel, with dire consequences all round. One of the finest performances is by Hugh Griffith as Farrar's valet. It was one of the greatest moments of that fine character actor's career. Jennifer Jones is entirely magical and captivating, with her weird looks and her expression of always seeing the fairies. She does a superb job, as does Edmond Knight, of speaking a genuine rough country dialect. Since British viewers have to put up with Brooklyn and other mangled and horrible accents, it seems only right that Americans should have to try to decipher Welsh Border dialect for once, but of course they are too spoilt to try, and this has been a cause of complaint. However, the film has full authenticity and is a miraculous preservation in aspic of a lost world. The sets are very good indeed, and all the locations are genuine. This is no fantasy, it is real in what it portrays, only the story is a bit over the top melodramatically. Otherwise, this was then, and now is now. This film can be watched repeatedly by those who want to comprehend a world that is gone forever, like that of the film 'Owd Bob' (see my review of it). It would not be fair to refrain from pointing out that Foxy the fox deserved an animal Oscar, as he is in nearly every scene.
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Not one of Powell and Pressburger's best
drrap21 January 2007
I am an enormous admirer of Powell and Pressburger, but this Technicolor melodrama was a great disappointment to me once I had tracked down, with some effort, a Korean DVD. I think the problem is that the main character is simply not very bright - I miss the intelligent , spirited women of I Know Where I'm Going, Black Narcissus, Contraband, and A Canterbury Tale. Here, the character who ought to be carrying the story is reduced to almost animalistic status, a prey in a world of hunters, well-intentioned and not so well intentioned. Nevertheless, the cinematography is stunning as ever, and the choir, and the harp playing, are divine indeed -- as always with P&P, there are gems even in this murky, overheated yarn of country parson versus country squire.
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Appreciation of unique style.
Jimlad12 October 1999
A beautifully made and gently rolling film, almost surreal in content.

Some moments almost seem off cue and through a breathtakingly simple narrative visual style, comes a story of innocence, passion and ultimate tragedy. The music is hypnotic and compliments the flow of the film.

Superb performance by all - including 'Foxy'! If this film was made today it would be showered with Oscars.

Finally, it is hard to see a comparable style in the British film industry prior to this and certainly nothing after it. It is this fact that I believe contributes to the films unique qualities.
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Strange, bold, compellingly beautiful. An utterly fearless Jennifer Jones.
donhogsett20 May 2008
Among the strangest, and loveliest, of the Archers films. As with so many of their films, its real subject is the profound, almost mystical, connection of people to their physical environment, most notably the British countryside. The much under-rated Jennifer Jones gives an utterly fearless performance, throwing herself into a role that sounds unplayable on paper. The Christopher Challis three-strip Technicolor photography is bold and gorgeous, underlining the central importance of the landscape. Strange in the best possible sense, in that it takes us somewhere we've never really been. Even the Bronte sisters couldn't capture rustic England as well. But they never had the benefit of Technicolor.
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Gone to Earth (1950) with Jennifer Jones
carollangdonuk7 August 2005
Saw this film August 2005 at the National Film Theatre, London had been longing to see it since reading the book "Gone to Earth" by Mary Webb. It used to appear on TV from time to time but no longer.

I have to say it was well worth the long wait and the trip to London. It was remarkable how the film kept atmosphere of the countryside and the buildings as in the book. The acting all round was brilliant and Jennifer Jones was superb. All right her local dialect had to be understood by an American public, but there are plenty of people with mixed accents. The photography was outstanding.

In a story of sombre characters and places, humour was provided by the local squire's manservant, anything but servile. "She'll do" says David Farrar on picking up Jennifer Jones for the first time, "but will you do" mutters the manservant.

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End of a search
dl-berghuis1320 April 2004
I believe I saw this movie perhaps 50 plus years ago, as a young man. It must have been in the mid 1950s or around then. I found Jennifer Jones to be a marvelous actress in this movie and found that to be true in other movies she starred in. But I was overwhelmingly struck with the beauty of the Shrophire countryside which to some extent was almost as much of an attraction to me as Jennifer Jones. I have searched for a long time for this movie...but all I could truly remember of it , with the obvious exception of Miss Jones, was the scream or shout at the end of it ----Gone to Earth. I only know have found out what the meaning of that call was. I will be wanting to purchase this movie soon. Don Berghuis
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Superstitious gypsy lives with nature & fox in harmony.
rogerjillings6 April 2005
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger's weird & wonderful film of a young Shopshire superstitious gypsy Hazel Woods(Jennifer Jones) who is at ease with nature & lives with her pet fox(foxy) & her Father away from the local community,full of Celtic symbolism & myth.This is how she lives until the Minister(Cyril Cusack) comes calling & eventually marry where upon she pursued by the local fox hunting squire Jack Reddin(David Farrer) & try's to resolve her problem by her Mother's book of spells & end's up with the squire only to see the error of her way's & desperately tries to get back to the pastor with her fox in tow,only for a twist of fate to intervene mixed with irony.Nice photography & shot in Techicolour & a haunting music score.Jennifer Jones regional accent enhances her beauty & charm to this film.
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Wondrously atmospheric drama
ackstasis30 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger are celebrated, not necessarily for their story lines, but for their exquisite attention-to- detail. 'Gone to Earth (1950)' was shot on-location at Much Wenlock in Shropshire, England (with some interior filming at Shepparton Studios), and you'll rarely find a more glorious example of a natural setting used to evoke atmosphere. Even from the opening sequence, there's something magical about the English countryside – the wind seems to whisper with the music of a harp; the trees shudder in the breeze as though awaking from a stupor; the clouds stir overhead, signalling discontent in the heavens. Christopher Challis' stunning Technicolor photography captures every natural detail and imbues it with a mystical charm that is stifling and almost oppressive. The Archers produced the film in association with Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick, the latter of whom was so disappointed with the end result that he commissioned Rouben Mamoulian to extensively re-shoot scenes for the film's North American release, which was retitled 'The Wild Heart (1952).'

Even though Powell and Pressburger effectively ignored Selznick's insistent recommendations for improvement, the producer's influence is still readily seen. For one, the film starred Jennifer Jones, by then Selznick's wife, who looks luminous while retaining that earthy homeliness of an English country girl. Her character, Hazel Woodus, in many ways recalls Pearl Chavez from 'Duel in the Sun (1946),' Selznick's costly Western epic. Both women, at first naive and uncorrupted, must choose between marriage to a reliable if unexciting suitor (Joseph Cotten in one film, Cyril Cusack in this one) and the embrace of an unpleasant, morally-barren scumbag (Gregory Peck or David Farrar). In Selznick's Western, Pearl's half-Injun ethnicity is shamelessly exploited to offer her character some sort of uncontrollable base sexuality. In 'Gone to Earth,' that Hazel's mother was a gypsy is utilised for similar purposes, her physical attraction to the repulsive Jack Reddin apparently stemming from this shady half-heritage, in direct opposition to the noble Christianity of her parson husband.

Being mostly about atmosphere, 'Gone to Earth' doesn't have the exquisitely well-rounded characters of 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)' or 'I Know Where I'm Going! (1945).' Nevertheless, the main cast is to be commended for their understated roles. Jennifer Jones' British accent wavers on occasion, but her character is gorgeous and sympathetic, one whose transgressions we're willing to forgive on account of her general innocence; there's certainly a childlike naiveté in her unashamed affinity with nature, particularly her affection towards a pet fox. Less affable is David Farrar, whose oppressive, fox- hunting squire is a perpetual affront to Hazel's virginity. His character, at times, reminded me of Vincent Price's role in 'Dragonwyck (1946),' in which Gene Tierney's virtuousness is similarly destroyed by a uncouth and opportunistic nobleman. Cyril Cusack's clergyman, however honourable, embodies the adage that "nice guys finish last." The film quietly rebukes Edward Marston's unwillingness to take charge of his marriage to Hazel, and yet he overcomes his timidity only to lose everything he's ever cared about.
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A young woman attuned to her own instincts is hunted down (gone to earth) by conventional male behaviors.
c-partridge24 October 2008
In making GONE TO EARTH Powell built on his childhood memories of rural England. The finished film owes a lot to Christopher Challis' superb photography and Brian Easedale's music.

But it owes even more to Jennifer Jones' portrayal of an adolescent girl in tune with the prechristian countryside: her love for a tamed fox symbolizes this special relationship with the pagan past.

She was 30 years old when she romped over the Shropshire hills and the Shepperton studio but she has the energy and bodily rhythms of a 16-year-old as she plays her pagan princess. This doomed princess has the ironic fate of being forced into relationships with two contemporary masters of the present-day Christian landscape: one is a mother-haunted cleric, the other a bodice-ripping squire.

Playing these stereotypes is not easy and the two actors, Cyril Cusack and David Farrar, make an ill-balanced pair.

Like Powell's earlier BLACK NARCISSUS, this film works on a symbolic and psychological level; but both story and dialogue have painful weaknesses made worse by censorship and the dreadful U.S.commercial cut.

Avoid older versions of GONE TO EARTH: they usually contain censorship cuts which change the rhythm of several scenes and mutilate the climax. See the whole film - now available on DVD - on the largest screen you can obtain. Then you will appreciate Powell's skill in capturing the colours of the English countryside and projecting Jennifer Jones' energy as the pagan princess.
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Archers Vision of a Magical Rural Idyll
Waerdnotte29 March 2012
This film is one of the Powell and Pressburger films that have received less attention than many of their more well-known works, and it is a real beauty of a film.

With some excellent acting from Jennifer Jones, Cyril Cusack and David Farrer (Farrer rarely reached this level of believability in any other Archers film) Powell's direction is ahead of the game, and with the photography of Christopher Challis the film evokes the early New Hollywood style of the mid sixties, with many more long shots of groups of people and a far more mobile use of camera than Powell had previous used. The colouring is sumptuous, with many close-up head shots surrounded by the rich colours of sky and countryside.

The story of a naive country girl courted by two suiters; a country priest and a local squire is very reminiscent of post-war westerns, and Powell shows the relationships between the three as a battle between the order and probity of the priest's lifestyle and beliefs and the squire's passion and unrestrained desires, a Hardyesque reflection of British society in the 19th century, a view found in the Archer's other films such as A Canterbuty Tale and I Know Where I'm Going. It is a look back to what might be considered a more genteel Englishness, but does it with far more style than the contemporary Ealing Studio films.

Beautiful to look at, forward-looking cinematography and some cracking music by Brian Easdale who had already worked on The Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes, this is classic Powell and Pressburger. It can be seen as the pinnacle of their 1940s work, bringing together the technicolour beauty of films like The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death and the rural idealism of A Canterbury Tale.
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Gone To Earth (The Wild Heart):The Powell and Pressburger cut.
morrison-dylan-fan2 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Over the last ten years or so,I have been hearing a lot of people,from directors in great documentary's to people in the local DVD shop having conversations,and giving endless praise to what seems to be one of the now-most loved film making duo of the last sixty years:Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell.And whilst I have seen some clips of A Matter of Life and Death and Peeping Tom,they have always been near the top of my list,of film makers whose work I should search out for.

Sadly over the years I have kept them stuck on my list as peoples whose films I would pick up "next time",which has meant that I have always put them at the back of the queue. Recently,I was very surprised when my dad came back home one day,and he showed me that he had picked up a very rare restored Powell and Pressburger film,And from the moment that my eyes became transfixed on the great opening to this film,I realised that I had to make this my first Powell & Pressburger film right away..

The plot:

Whilst living with her cellist,coffin maker father,in a small house that is based in the rural town of Shropshire.Gypsy Hazel Woodus (who still reads her mothers old books of good spells and charms to help herself get through the day),one day finds a fox during her morning scroll.Feeling a special connection with the animal,Hazel decides to adopt the fox,and to give it a name (Foxy).

Although her father's anger about her bringing the fox back with her,due to "Foxy" constantly trying to kill all of his chickens,Hazel remains extremely firm that show is not going to give Foxy away,and that he is going to remain her pet.On her walk back home,after having helped out some of the residents in the local area,Hazel is left startled when a horse and cart almost run her over!.With the man (John "Jack" Reddin) feeling very sorry about what had happened,John decides to give Hazel a ride to his place,so that she is able to relax and clean herself up a bit before he takes her home.

As they arrive to his place Hazel is at a lost for words,when she realises that Reddin is a very wealthy man,who also has a stunning mansion.After having had a chance to relax Hazel seems to be developing some feelings for John.Stupidly,John loses patients and becomes a lot more aggressive in how he shows his feelings for her.Panicking Hazel (and Foxy) make a run for it to get back to their small village as fast as possible.Shortly after returning,Hazel impresses everyone by singing very beautifully at the local fair.

Sadly,with the constant fear of Reddin returning to try and get together with her again,Hazel announces to her father that she will marry the first man that she sees.To everyones surprise,that man turns out to be the highly respected local vicar Edward Marston.Soon after Hazel and Edward have a very quick marriage and become man and wife.And although he is a very kind,sweet man,Marston becomes very uncomfortable when Hazel tries to show him any romantic gesture at all.

Shortly after the marriage,Hazel is stunned when she finds out that John Reddin is going around her town,searching for her.And whilst she had first thought that John was not "her type" at all when they first met,she now feels a pretty strong attraction to Johns rugged looks,which leads to Hazel having to make the very tough decision if she should stay with her husband,or if she (and Foxy) should give Reddin a second chance..

View on the film:

With the screenplay of the film that Powell and Pressberger wrote,which is based on the book by Mary Webb.I feel that whilst it is not the most complex screenplay that has ever been written,it is still able to look at the issues that the film addresses in a very sophisticated manner.

One of the main things that the film looks at is Hazel changing from being in an environment that is on the outskirts of town,where she and her father are able to live there lives the way their want,to her trying to fit into a much more wealthier environment,whilst trying to adopt her past learnings into an acceptable style.

whilst most film makers would have turned this into a My Fair Lady-style film,with Hazel trying to become upper-class,Powell and Pressburger instead show,that the more Reddin tries to pull Hazel away from her life as a Gypsy,Hazel becomes more annoyed at how much Reddin is trying to get her to leave all her values on life behind,which she has used to follow her life by.

Although all the cast give excellent performances,the shining star of the film is easily the gorgeous directing from Powell and Pressburger,and the cinematography by Christopher Challis.For the first half of the film the directors and Challis give the film the appearance of an enchanting Red Riding Hood/Brothers Grimm story,with the film being filled with Autumn colours that make all the excellent scenes of Hazel and her father living in the countryside almost looking like a living water colour painting!

As Hazel starts distancing herself from her country life,the film makers take the look of the film into a brilliant,opposite direction.With the Reddins mansion,that due to being owned by a very rich person should be filled with light ,instead being filled with very dark,dimly lit shadows,the suggest that whilst the mansion may look as beautiful as the countryside on the outside,it is actually an almost nightmarish forest,that will try to keep you lost in the darkness of the building and the inhabitants in it,for a very long time..

Final View on the film:

One of the most beautiful looking film that I have ever seen.
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A Wild, Dark, Pagan Beauty
Fiahm21 October 2019
This was a hard film to see for a very long time, at least in any form that would do it justice. But the small snippets of it I'd caught made me steadfastly wait for the day I could view it, and having done so, I can say it's considerably better than its fairly middling reputation.

Maybe the easiest way to describe it is as Powell & Pressburger's "Wuthering Heights" - it's set in that gothic period drama genre, anyway - but at root it's a grown-up, thoughtful and adult romance-of-sorts set on windswept fairy-tale moors.

The two films it fits closest to in their body of work would be "I Know Where I'm Going" (for the elemental setting) and especially Black Narcissus, for the matchless colour photography and mood of suppressed eroticism bubbling savagely beneath the surface. You can feel the invisible forces of superstition and desire affecting events, the tiny figures swamped by a greater Nature beyond their understanding or powers.

As I've already said, this is a grown-up film, a good 15 years or more before its time in its depiction of adultery and complexity of emotion in a potboiler setting. The sexuality in it is not explicit, but it's firmly engraved in stone between the lines of the script and in small moments of quiet force - flickers of understanding, judgement or confusion passing over every face throughout, speaking volumes.

There's a lurid, hyperreal, almost cartoonishly painterly look to the colour films of the 40s and 50s, which was never seen again afterwards, and is now impossible to recreate. This one has the texture of Singin' In The Rain but is, unusually, set largely outdoors, in the real world, in wide open spaces. Because of this, the nature scenes look, gorgeously, straight out of Bambi.

Gone To Earth is not P&P's greatest film, but it's a real treasure nonetheless. A wild, dark, pagan beauty.
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surprisingly modern and deep storytelling here,,,
richardcrawford-18 February 2018
What struck me about this movie was the sheer depth of the story and the smart way in which it is written. It starts off with the feel of something whimsical but turns into something way darker, with poor Hazel caught in a trap, no matter which way she turns. The fox in the story is obviously a symbol for her own wild nature, innocent and yet hunted and never knowing why. I would recommend this to anyone who writes feature scripts, as a strong example of how to keep the audience sympathy juddering around, seeing good in everyone, and bad in everyone, too. Only Hazel comes off as the character who is doing nothing more than follow her nature. A very deep script.
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Period love triangle , with luscious Jennifer Jones caught in the middle.
weezeralfalfa16 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Jennifer Jones is great as a carefree mountain Gypsy girl, ripe for matrimony with any man who can tear her away from her love of wild animals, and especially, her 'Foxy'. In its most basic form, this film much reminds us of the prior"Duel in the Sun", in which Jennifer plays a half breed. In both cases, she is a marginal member of conventional European society. Also, in both films, she has a choice between a conventional gentlemanly suitor, and an impatient bully, who nonetheless turns her on physically, and pursues her relentlessly. In the present film, the gentlemanly suitor is Pastor Edward Marston(Cyril Cusack), and the bully is squire Jack Riddin(David Farrer). She is not overly enthusiastic about marrying either, as her mother warned that, for the woman, marriage promises endless toll and suffering. Actually, Jack should have been favored as her husband by the promise to her father that she would marry the first man to pass by their cottage. This was, in fact, Jack, who came looking for her, but didn't know exactly where she lived. She hid when he knocked on the door, so he passed on. Later, the pastor, also smitten by her beauty and personality he experienced at a church social, comes calling, and after they get to know each other a bit, proposes marriage, he being judged the first to stop by their cottage, even though Jack actually was first. But she had had some unpleasant experiences with Jack, hence he was discounted. Soon, she would come to regret this decision, as Jack refused to give up the chase even after she was married. She came to seek his unrelenting passion over the unexciting Pastor Marston, and stayed a while in Jack's mansion. The parson showed up at Jack's mansion and quarreled with the two. It was decided that she would go home with Marston. But, now, Marston's mother who had lived with him for many years, voiced her determination to leave his house, if Hazel were to stay. Also, some churchmen came calling to advise Marston that he should give up Hazel, as her affair with Jack was now commonly known. Marston replied that he was giving up the clergy. Jack would express his frustration in being rejected by organizing a fox and hound event, in which he hoped that Hazel's Foxy would be caught. But, Hazel ran out of the house looking for Foxy, whom she found, and carried toward safety. But, she didn't quite make it. In her haste, falling down a deep well or mine shift that should have been covered. Jack had unwittingly destroyed not only Hazel's Foxy, but she herself.

Edmond Knight was memorable as Hazel's father, who made some money playing his harp and repairing such, as well as making coffins, and other wooden objects. Several times, Jennifer sang a mellow song, with or without his accompaniment.....The meaning of the title is that the fox or whatever prey has gone into its burrow, where the hounds are too big to get in. It could also be applied to Hazel's unfortunate demise.

We could, perhaps, project the theme to encompass all of the natural world as the victim of human overpopulation, overexploitation of natural resources, and moving into cities, away from their traditional ties with the natural world, which marginal peoples such as Gypsies still sometimes cared for.

See it at YouTube
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Incredibly misogynistic
elmsyrup21 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
One of Powell and Pressburger's more troubled films, Gone To Earth features the rapist as romantic hero.

Jennifer Jones is the quarry, the innocent young maiden who's pursued by, and eventually succumbs to the local squire despite her repeated refusals and her marriage to the parson. It's this fantasy women used to have when they felt ashamed of their sexuality- if I protest and he FORCES me, I can't be to blame. Or, alternatively, they really do want to say no but don't have the power to. Either way I can't help but view this with modern eyes and I find it offensive.

At the end of the film, Hazel dies while being literally hunted (with hounds) by the squire she eventually rejected because, it seems, she is a loose woman and can't be allowed to live. Again, this is just shocking.

As for the actors, Jennifer Jones is rather an odd actress with a dreadfully mangled accent. Especially at the beginning of the film, her English country girl sounds like she's from the Deep South of America. She was David O. Selznick's discovery and his wife which is why she got the part, but she was really the wrong choice for this role. David Farrar plays the rogue of the piece with a Nivenish, villainous flair and Cyril Cusack is sweetly sad as the mild parson, a noble creature who gets a raw deal throughout the film. The other actors aren't bad and the Technicolor scenery and the music is magnificent, to P&P's credit. I only wish they hadn't chosen this story.
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Pretty and colorful...but a rather slow film as well and the main character a bit stupid.
MartinHafer8 February 2016
"Gone to Earth" is a very, very pretty film. It was made in the UK and the colorful English countryside is quite nice. However, the film also is incredibly slow to be point of being tedious. It also features a main character who is a bit stupid and difficult to like. For me, this film was very tough going.

Hazel (Jennifer Jones) is a sort of free spirit who loves nature and lives her own odd life. While somewhat pretty, this alone didn't explain why both the Parson and Squire were so smitten by her. The Parson's love was sincere but lacked passion and the Squire's had plenty of passion but nothing else. During the course of the film, Hazel vacillates between the two...though you wonder why any sane woman would want either of these losers.

Overall, the film just didn't pay off for me. Pretty English countryside aside, the movie just seemed tedious and many of the characters nonsensical. It did, however, have a happy ending.
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Glorious depiction of tragic tale
stonethrower8812 October 2014
Does anyone know if Jennifer Jone's voice was over-dubbed? It almost sounds like it. The accent doesn't seem to fit her true voice.

cinematography is some of the best ever especially considering the 1950's release

great acting beautiful costumes a little too wordy

But nevertheless quite impressive

inspired Kate Bush, perhaps even sampled by her as well.

characterizations are so pressburger and powell

jennifer jones while impressive seems a bit out of place if it truly be taken for an English tale though she still impresses.
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Gone to Earth aka The Wild Heart
blackcat195913 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I remember this movie very well, and I always liked both movies, but since I saw it as a child...I got confused between the Gone to Earth original and the Wild Heart version.....I did like the version where the dogs jump on her dress that causes her to fall to her doom while holding her pet fox....and I truly didn't understand the meaning Gone to Earth at the end, but now...i realize that is what is yelled when they can't find the little fox for hunting it down....it had disappeared off the face of the earth....that sort of thing.... but, I always enjoyed this movie...Jennifer Jones is always a delight to watch....and this film always made an impression.
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