The Shepherd of the Hills (1941)

98 mins | Melodrama | 18 July 1941

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HISTORY

HR news items report the following about the production: Actors Tyrone Power, John Garfield, Lynne Overman, Robert Preston and Burgess Meredith were considered for lead roles in this film. William LeBaron took over as producer to replace Stuart Walker during pre-production, and Jack Moss took over for LeBaron during production. The forest fire scene was shot at Moon Ridge in the San Bernardino Mountains, CA, and was supervised by forest rangers and members of the Civilian Conservation Corps. According to information in the film's press book, Paramount music director Troy Sanders coached Harry Carey on playing the spinet in this film. Big Bear Lake and Bartlett Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains, CA, were also used as locations. Previous films based on religious author Harold Bell Wright's novel, all entitled The Shepherd of the Hills , are Harold Bell Wright Story Picture Corp.'s 1919 production, co-directed by Wright and L. F. Gottschalk and starring Harry G. Lonsdale, Cathrine Curtis and George McDaniel; First National's 1928 picture, directed by Albert Rogell and starring Alec B. Francis, Molly O'Day and John Boles; and Macco Productions' 1964 picture, directed by Ben Parker and starring Richard Arlen, James W. Middleton and Sherry Lynn. (For more information on these films, see the entries above and ... More Less

HR news items report the following about the production: Actors Tyrone Power, John Garfield, Lynne Overman, Robert Preston and Burgess Meredith were considered for lead roles in this film. William LeBaron took over as producer to replace Stuart Walker during pre-production, and Jack Moss took over for LeBaron during production. The forest fire scene was shot at Moon Ridge in the San Bernardino Mountains, CA, and was supervised by forest rangers and members of the Civilian Conservation Corps. According to information in the film's press book, Paramount music director Troy Sanders coached Harry Carey on playing the spinet in this film. Big Bear Lake and Bartlett Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains, CA, were also used as locations. Previous films based on religious author Harold Bell Wright's novel, all entitled The Shepherd of the Hills , are Harold Bell Wright Story Picture Corp.'s 1919 production, co-directed by Wright and L. F. Gottschalk and starring Harry G. Lonsdale, Cathrine Curtis and George McDaniel; First National's 1928 picture, directed by Albert Rogell and starring Alec B. Francis, Molly O'Day and John Boles; and Macco Productions' 1964 picture, directed by Ben Parker and starring Richard Arlen, James W. Middleton and Sherry Lynn. (For more information on these films, see the entries above and below). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Jun 1941.
---
Daily Variety
16 Jun 1941.
---
Film Daily
18 Jun 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 40
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Nov 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 41
p. 3.
Life
21 Apr 41
p. 68.
Motion Picture Herald
21 Jun 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
31 May 41
p. 147.
New York Times
31 Jul 41
p. 13.
Variety
18 Jun 41
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
Mus score
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
COLOR PERSONNEL
For the Technicolor Company: Color art dir
Assoc
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright (New York, 1907).
SONGS
"There's a Happy Hunting Ground," music and lyrics by Sam Coslow.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 July 1941
Production Date:
early September--mid November 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
11 July 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10599
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
98
Length(in feet):
9,946
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In the Ozark Mountains, Jim Lane is shot by marshals while guarding the moonshine distillery run by the Matthews family. Lane successfully hides his wound from the marshals and is saved only when an apparent stranger, Daniel Howitt, appears at his house and helps Lane's daughter Sammy remove the bullets. Sammy soon grows fond of the good-natured stranger, who later saves a local child from choking, and expresses his desire to purchase land in the hill community. Sammy, who is in love with Young Matt Matthews, suggests Daniel buy land from the Matthews family. Young Matt's uncle, Old Matt, and aunt, Mollie Matthews, have experienced nothing but misery since the death of Mollie's sister Sarah, Young Matt's mother. Young Matt is embittered by years of having the superstitious community blame his family and the ghost of his mother for all their ills, and has sworn vengeance against his father, whose abandonment years earlier hastened his mother's death. Against Young Matt's wishes, Daniel purchases "Moaning Meadows," which is reportedly haunted by Sarah's ghost. Daniel feels at home there, and Sammy, whose love Young Matt resists to protect her from his tainted family, convinces Young Matt to befriend Daniel, whom Young Matt has threatened to kill. Daniel's gentle nature has already inspired many of the mountain folk to stop drinking and pursue a better way of life. When blind neighbor Granny Becky returns from a visit to a city doctor, for which Daniel has paid, the Matthewses attend the unveiling of her bandages. Her vision restored, Granny declares that Daniel is Young Matt's father, a fact that Sammy had already suspected. Young Matt becomes angry and grabs his ... +


In the Ozark Mountains, Jim Lane is shot by marshals while guarding the moonshine distillery run by the Matthews family. Lane successfully hides his wound from the marshals and is saved only when an apparent stranger, Daniel Howitt, appears at his house and helps Lane's daughter Sammy remove the bullets. Sammy soon grows fond of the good-natured stranger, who later saves a local child from choking, and expresses his desire to purchase land in the hill community. Sammy, who is in love with Young Matt Matthews, suggests Daniel buy land from the Matthews family. Young Matt's uncle, Old Matt, and aunt, Mollie Matthews, have experienced nothing but misery since the death of Mollie's sister Sarah, Young Matt's mother. Young Matt is embittered by years of having the superstitious community blame his family and the ghost of his mother for all their ills, and has sworn vengeance against his father, whose abandonment years earlier hastened his mother's death. Against Young Matt's wishes, Daniel purchases "Moaning Meadows," which is reportedly haunted by Sarah's ghost. Daniel feels at home there, and Sammy, whose love Young Matt resists to protect her from his tainted family, convinces Young Matt to befriend Daniel, whom Young Matt has threatened to kill. Daniel's gentle nature has already inspired many of the mountain folk to stop drinking and pursue a better way of life. When blind neighbor Granny Becky returns from a visit to a city doctor, for which Daniel has paid, the Matthewses attend the unveiling of her bandages. Her vision restored, Granny declares that Daniel is Young Matt's father, a fact that Sammy had already suspected. Young Matt becomes angry and grabs his gun from his little cousin Pete, but Sammy urges Young Matt against violence. However, Mollie fuels Young Matt's desire for revenge and struggles with her son for the weapon, which discharges into the boy. As he lays dying, Pete regains the voice he lost years earlier on the night of Sarah's death. Pete tells his mother that he remembers when she was gentle and loving but that she is now the one who curses the family. At dawn, Mollie lights a funeral pyre around her son and stays with him as the house is engulfed in flames. Young Matt confronts his father in Moaning Meadows and Daniel shoots his son. After an operation to save his life, Young Matt hears that years before, his father had been taken away by authorities after he killed a man and was unable to contact the family because he was serving a lengthy prison sentence. This experience convinced him to shoot Young Matt so that his son would not repeat his youthful mistake. Young Matt experiences a rebirth upon hearing his father speak, abandons his oath of vengeance, and opens his heart to love and to Sammy. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.