The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936)

99-100 or 102 mins | Drama | 13 March 1936

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HISTORY

This film was shot on location in Chatsworth, at Big Bear (in the San Bernardino Mountains), and at the Santa Susana Pass in CA. According to news items in DV , shooting at Big Bear took place in mid-Oct 1935, and the crew began four all-night sessions of exterior shooting at Santa Susana Pass on 5 Dec 1935. The onscreen foreword to this film outlines the feud between the "Falins" and the "Tollivers," "shut-in valley people of the mountains of America." Novelist Rupert Hughes was commissioned by Walter Wanger to write the foreword. In a prologue, a Falin-Tolliver shoot-out, which occurs during the birth of "June Tolliver," is depicted. A Los Angeles preview for this film on 18 Feb 1936 was 110 minutes long; the New York premiere the following day was only 100 minutes. The New York and Miami premieres of this film occurred within two days of each other, and each boasted record attendance. This film was the first feature-length outdoor film to be shot in three-strip Technicolor. A contemporary NYT review states: "We can no longer doubt the inevitability of the color film," while MPH called the film "a Wow!" saying the Westwood preview received the "greatest burst of applause heard in years." Contemporary reviews mention the poor quality of the color blue in the film, but color designer Alexander Toluboff stated in an article in MPH on 18 Jan 1936 that the sky's natural color appeared artificial in the film because it was naturally "too blue." A MPH ad lists Toluboff as art director. An article by director of photography Robert C. ... More Less

This film was shot on location in Chatsworth, at Big Bear (in the San Bernardino Mountains), and at the Santa Susana Pass in CA. According to news items in DV , shooting at Big Bear took place in mid-Oct 1935, and the crew began four all-night sessions of exterior shooting at Santa Susana Pass on 5 Dec 1935. The onscreen foreword to this film outlines the feud between the "Falins" and the "Tollivers," "shut-in valley people of the mountains of America." Novelist Rupert Hughes was commissioned by Walter Wanger to write the foreword. In a prologue, a Falin-Tolliver shoot-out, which occurs during the birth of "June Tolliver," is depicted. A Los Angeles preview for this film on 18 Feb 1936 was 110 minutes long; the New York premiere the following day was only 100 minutes. The New York and Miami premieres of this film occurred within two days of each other, and each boasted record attendance. This film was the first feature-length outdoor film to be shot in three-strip Technicolor. A contemporary NYT review states: "We can no longer doubt the inevitability of the color film," while MPH called the film "a Wow!" saying the Westwood preview received the "greatest burst of applause heard in years." Contemporary reviews mention the poor quality of the color blue in the film, but color designer Alexander Toluboff stated in an article in MPH on 18 Jan 1936 that the sky's natural color appeared artificial in the film because it was naturally "too blue." A MPH ad lists Toluboff as art director. An article by director of photography Robert C. Bruce in FD on 23 Jan 1936 states that for close-ups of the film's stars, the cameramen had to do all their work before three p.m. because after that hour, when the sun was low in the sky, it cast a yellowish tinge on actors' faces. The Call Bureau Cast Service credits Norman Willis as playing "Old Dave" in the prologue, although FD and NYT credit Frank McGlynn, Jr., and MPH credits Frank McGlynn, Sr. in the role. McGlynn, Sr. is also credited in the role of a preacher by the Call Bureau. According to an article in the NYT on 29 Mar 1936, the funeral scene in the film was eliminated by censors because the minister recited "The Lord's Prayer." A 16 May 1936 HR news item states that Australian censors cut the entire burial scene (nearly half a reel of footage) from the film. According to HR , this film was renamed Song of the Forest People for its release in Sweden. John Fox, Jr.'s novel was adapted into a play of the same title by Eugene Walter (New York, 29 Jan 1912) and was the source for three other films of the same title: one produced by Broadway Picture Producing Co. in 1914, starring Dixie Compton; a second made by Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co. in 1916, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Charlotte Walker, who also starred in the stage version (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.4537 and F1.4538); and a third made by Famous Players-Lasky in 1923, directed by Charles Maigne and starring Mary Miles Minter and Antonio Moreno (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.5810). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Oct 35
p. 3.
Daily Variety
4 Dec 35
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 Dec 35
p. 5.
Daily Variety
19 Feb 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 Jan 36
p. 15.
Film Daily
10 Feb 36
ad following p. 4.
Film Daily
17 Feb 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 Feb 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Feb 36
pp. 11-14.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 35
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 36
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 37
p. 15.
Motion Picture Daily
25 Feb 36
pp. 3-6.
Motion Picture Herald
23 Nov 35
p. 27.
Motion Picture Herald
18 Jan 36
p. 36.
Motion Picture Herald
29 Feb 36
ad pp. 27-30, p. 45.
New York Times
20 Feb 36
p. 23.
New York Times
29 Mar 1936.
---
Variety
26 Feb 36
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Foreword wrt by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Technicolor photog
Technicolor color dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Settings in color des and exec by
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Trail of the Lonesome Pine by John Fox, Jr. (New York, 1908).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Trail of the Lonesome Pine," music and lyrics by Harry Carroll
"Twilight on the Trail" and "A Melody from the Sky," music by Louis Alter, lyrics by Sidney D. Mitchell.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Song of the Forest People
Release Date:
13 March 1936
Premiere Information:
World premiere: 17 February 1936
New York premiere: 19 February 1936
Production Date:
began 9 October 1935 on location at Big Bear
5 December--8 December 1935 on location at Santa Suzanna Pass
ended 14 December 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
13 March 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6253
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
99-100 or 102
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1859
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

For years the Falins and Tollivers, hill families of Kentucky, have been feuding for reasons long forgotten. As another generation upholds the vengeful "code of the Lonesome Pine," city engineer Jack Hale comes to mine the coal on their land and bring the railroad to the area. When Hale first arrives at the Tolliver home, he finds Dave, a visiting nephew, dying of gangrene and saves his life. Dave plans to marry his cousin June, but she quickly becomes infatuated with the educated Hale. Judd Tolliver refuses to sign Hale's contract when he learns the railroad will cross Falin land, but acquiesces when Hale promises financial prosperity for his indigent family. June visits Hale frequently with her young brother Buddy, who idolizes the engineer. When Hale encourages June to get an education, she insists on following him into Gaptown, hoping to become sophisticated there. Dave, believing Hale's business deals are a subterfuge for stealing June, goes after the couple with a rifle, but comes into trouble with the Falins, who wait for him in Gaptown. After defending himself against Dave, Hale fights the Falins, while Dave escapes with June. When June refuses to return home, Hale sends her to his sister's home in Louisville. As winter descends upon the hills, Buddy learns the alphabet from Hale, but Dave, resistant to change, leaves the Tollivers. When the Falins dynamite the bridge to the mine, Buddy is accidentally killed, and June returns for the funeral. Hale then swears his love for June, who is now the sophisticated lady she always had wanted to be, but when he refuses to avenge Buddy's death except through the ... +


For years the Falins and Tollivers, hill families of Kentucky, have been feuding for reasons long forgotten. As another generation upholds the vengeful "code of the Lonesome Pine," city engineer Jack Hale comes to mine the coal on their land and bring the railroad to the area. When Hale first arrives at the Tolliver home, he finds Dave, a visiting nephew, dying of gangrene and saves his life. Dave plans to marry his cousin June, but she quickly becomes infatuated with the educated Hale. Judd Tolliver refuses to sign Hale's contract when he learns the railroad will cross Falin land, but acquiesces when Hale promises financial prosperity for his indigent family. June visits Hale frequently with her young brother Buddy, who idolizes the engineer. When Hale encourages June to get an education, she insists on following him into Gaptown, hoping to become sophisticated there. Dave, believing Hale's business deals are a subterfuge for stealing June, goes after the couple with a rifle, but comes into trouble with the Falins, who wait for him in Gaptown. After defending himself against Dave, Hale fights the Falins, while Dave escapes with June. When June refuses to return home, Hale sends her to his sister's home in Louisville. As winter descends upon the hills, Buddy learns the alphabet from Hale, but Dave, resistant to change, leaves the Tollivers. When the Falins dynamite the bridge to the mine, Buddy is accidentally killed, and June returns for the funeral. Hale then swears his love for June, who is now the sophisticated lady she always had wanted to be, but when he refuses to avenge Buddy's death except through the law, she rebukes him. Dave, who also has returned for Buddy's funeral, then goes to the Falins' unarmed, and Buck Falin, the father, apologizes to Dave for Buddy's death. When he leaves, however, Wade Falin, who is still angry about Dave's earlier murder of his brother, shoots him in the back. Before carrying Dave home, Buck wounds Wade. After Dave tells his aunt and uncle he fell on his own gun, the fathers make peace before he dies, leaving June free to marry Hale. +

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.