Stars: James Stewart, Katharine Ross, Jim McMullan, James Best, Doug McClure
Genre: Drama, War, Western
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 106 minutes
Shenandoah, a film well-liked in its day, recalls Friendly Persuasion and foreshadows The Patriot as it tells of an American clan traumatized by war on native soil. Virginia farmer James Stewart has never owned slaves, owes allegiance to no one beyond his own kin, and adamantly disregards the North-South strife rumbling just over the hill: "This war is not mine and I take no note of it." That changes when youngest son Philip Alford (To Kill a Mockingbird's Jem) is carried off by Yankees, and the family must ride out to reclaim him. Shenandoah has several affecting moments--notably a homefront atrocity--but much of it is lit and played like a television show. Script and direction are formulaic, Stewart falls back on cozy shtick, and the supporting cast is a collection of bland studio contract players. As the closing credit says: "filmed entirely at Universal City." --Richard T. Jameson
I don't even know what to say to you any more, Martha. There's not much I can tell you about this war. It's like all wars, I guess. The undertakers are winning. And the politicians who talk about the glory of it. And the old men who talk about the need of it. And the soldiers, well, they just wanna go home. I guess you're not so lonely any more, with Ann and James and Jacob. And maybe the boy. You didn't know Ann, did you? Well, you'd like her. You'd like her, Martha. Why, she and James are so much alike, they're just like... no... no... we were never that much alike, were we Martha? We just sorta grew alike through the years. But I wish, I wish I could just know what you're thinking about it all, Martha. And maybe it wouldn't seem so bad to me if I knew what you thought about it.
You never give up, do you?
Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvest it. We cook the harvest. It wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be eating it if we hadn't done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you Lord just the same for the food we're about to eat, amen.
Can you give me one good reason why I should let my sons march down that road like a bunch of damn fools?
Virginia needs all her sons Mr. Anderson.
They don't belong to the state they belong to ME! When they were babies I never saw the state comin' around here with a spare tit!