The Great Meadow (1931)

80 mins | Drama | 24 January 1931

Director:

Charles Brabin

Cinematographers:

William Daniels, Clyde De Vinna

Editor:

George Hively

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

       After the film's credits, a written statement reads: "America has enshrined in her soul those unlettered men and women whose courage and strength established her frontiers in 1777. They had but a glimpse of the mighty cause they served. Those devoted wives and sweethearts, who endured martyrdom for love's sake, lie quiet and unsung in the great meadow. Women of the Wilderness, we salute you!" According to the film's pressbook, Chief Whitespear, a Cherokee Indian, "was placed in charge" of the Indian actors, and led them in the film. According to NYT and the film's pressbook, scenes of the Indian attacks were filmed at "the 'Lake Sherwood' region or the old Canterbury Ranch," which was an 8,000 acre area located about fifty miles from Hollywood; and Fort Harrod was recreated on the 23,000 acre Russell Ranch, also located about fifty miles from Los Angeles. A NYT news item notes that director Charles Brabin and writer Edith Ellis consulted various southern Chambers of Commerce and historical organizations about the history of Fort Harrod, and also obtained authentic artifacts from them to use as props. This was the second and final film produced by M-G-M in its 70mm wide screen Realife ... More Less

       After the film's credits, a written statement reads: "America has enshrined in her soul those unlettered men and women whose courage and strength established her frontiers in 1777. They had but a glimpse of the mighty cause they served. Those devoted wives and sweethearts, who endured martyrdom for love's sake, lie quiet and unsung in the great meadow. Women of the Wilderness, we salute you!" According to the film's pressbook, Chief Whitespear, a Cherokee Indian, "was placed in charge" of the Indian actors, and led them in the film. According to NYT and the film's pressbook, scenes of the Indian attacks were filmed at "the 'Lake Sherwood' region or the old Canterbury Ranch," which was an 8,000 acre area located about fifty miles from Hollywood; and Fort Harrod was recreated on the 23,000 acre Russell Ranch, also located about fifty miles from Los Angeles. A NYT news item notes that director Charles Brabin and writer Edith Ellis consulted various southern Chambers of Commerce and historical organizations about the history of Fort Harrod, and also obtained authentic artifacts from them to use as props. This was the second and final film produced by M-G-M in its 70mm wide screen Realife format. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
15 Mar 31
p. 10.
HF
6 Sep 30
p. 24.
HF
22 Nov 30
p. 24.
Motion Picture Herald
9 May 31
pp. 32-33.
New York Times
14 Mar 31
p. 23.
New York Times
15 Mar 31
p. 6.
New York Times
22 Mar 31
p. 5.
New York Times
24 Apr 1932.
---
The Exhibitor
6 Dec 30
p. 27.
Variety
18 Mar 31
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
SOUND
Rec dir
Rec eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Great Meadow by Elizabeth Madox Roberts (New York, 1930).
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 January 1931
Production Date:
early September--mid November 1930
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
2 February 1931
Copyright Number:
LP1946
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
gauge
35mm and 70mm (Realife)
Widescreen/ratio
1.37:1 and 2.13:1
Duration(in mins):
80
Length(in feet):
7,242
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1777, the Hall family of Virginia listens to a speech by Daniel Boone, the idol of Berk Jarvis, who is the eldest Hall daughter Diony's favorite beau. Impressed by Boone's descriptions of Kentucky's bounties, Berk, his brother Jack and their mother Elvira start a wagon train to be led by Berk. Berk asks Diony to marry him, and after the ceremony they set off. The journey to Kentucky is longer and more difficult than they had imagined, and Jack is killed during an Indian attack, but after six months the ragged little band reaches Ft. Harrod. The happy couple settle in, and are soon expecting a baby. One day, Diony and Elvira go outside the fort's walls to pick corn and are attacked by Black Fox, a Shawnee. Elvira bravely defends Diony and is killed and scalped. Black Fox is scared off before he can kill Diony, and everyone mourns the Jarvis' loss. Before long, however, Berk must leave to replenish the fort's supply of salt. Berk is gone for four months, during which time Diony gives birth to their son Tommy. On the night of Berk's return, the settlers have a celebration, which is interrupted by an attack by Black Fox and his warriors. Black Fox taunts Berk with Elvira's scalp, and the incident preys on Berk's mind until he tells Diony he must hunt down Black Fox and avenge Elvira. Diony tries to dissuade him, but acquiesces once she sees how determined he is. Berk leaves, and Diony and Tommy are taken care of by Evan Muir, one of Diony's former beaus from Virginia. ... +


In 1777, the Hall family of Virginia listens to a speech by Daniel Boone, the idol of Berk Jarvis, who is the eldest Hall daughter Diony's favorite beau. Impressed by Boone's descriptions of Kentucky's bounties, Berk, his brother Jack and their mother Elvira start a wagon train to be led by Berk. Berk asks Diony to marry him, and after the ceremony they set off. The journey to Kentucky is longer and more difficult than they had imagined, and Jack is killed during an Indian attack, but after six months the ragged little band reaches Ft. Harrod. The happy couple settle in, and are soon expecting a baby. One day, Diony and Elvira go outside the fort's walls to pick corn and are attacked by Black Fox, a Shawnee. Elvira bravely defends Diony and is killed and scalped. Black Fox is scared off before he can kill Diony, and everyone mourns the Jarvis' loss. Before long, however, Berk must leave to replenish the fort's supply of salt. Berk is gone for four months, during which time Diony gives birth to their son Tommy. On the night of Berk's return, the settlers have a celebration, which is interrupted by an attack by Black Fox and his warriors. Black Fox taunts Berk with Elvira's scalp, and the incident preys on Berk's mind until he tells Diony he must hunt down Black Fox and avenge Elvira. Diony tries to dissuade him, but acquiesces once she sees how determined he is. Berk leaves, and Diony and Tommy are taken care of by Evan Muir, one of Diony's former beaus from Virginia. Berk is captured by Indians, sold to the British and imprisoned for a year, but after he is freed, he continues his quest. He finds Black Fox and kills him, but is captured by the Shawnee. Evan receives news that Berk has been killed, and as time passes Diony's sorrow lessens and she marries Evan. Two years after Berk's departure, he escapes from the Shawnee, and returns to the fort. He finds Evan and Diony, who gently tells him that she married Evan, for she could not remain in the wilderness alone. The two men are on the verge of fighting when Diony reminds them of the wilderness law which says that if a man leaves his wife, and she thinks he is dead and remarries, it is for her to choose between the two men if her first husband returns. They agree to abide by her decision, and Diony tells them that although Berk is the great love of her life, she cannot forget Evan's great kindness and devotion, and so she chooses Evan. Berk prepares to depart, but when Evan sees how Berk's attention to sleeping Tommy brings tears to Diony's eyes, he realizes that she and Berk belong together. Evan tells Diony how much he will treasure their time together and leaves the reunited couple to begin their life together again. +

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

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