Shenandoah [1965]

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
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

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