Ruby Gentry (1953)

82 or 85 mins | Melodrama | January 1953

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HISTORY

King Vidor's director credit appears in the form of a signature. Voice-over narration by Bernard Phillips, as "Dr. Saul Manfred," is heard intermittently throughout the film. According to a 17 Jun 1952 HR news item, Jane Darwell was originally set to play "Ma Corey" but had to withdraw from the production due to conflicting commitments. According to a modern source, Joan Fontaine was originally considered for the leading role. Athough HR production charts and a 3 Jul 1952 HR news item include Howard Negley, Earl Lee, Arthur Lovejoy and Hazel Keener in the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed.
       HR news items and studio publicity reported that the picture was partially shot on location in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, San Marino, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and Vidor's ranch in Willow Creek, CA. Background footage was shot in North Carolina, where, according to studio publicity, Jennifer Jones spent several weeks prior to production to perfect her Southern accent. Numerous modern sources have pointed out the similarities between Ruby Gentry and Duel in the Sun , the 1947 Vanguard Films production that was directed by Vidor and starred Jones and Charlton Heston as antagonistic lovers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). "Ruby," the theme from Ruby Gentry , became a popular instrumental hit, to which lyricist Mitchell Parish later added words. The song then became one of Ray Charles' most popular ... More Less

King Vidor's director credit appears in the form of a signature. Voice-over narration by Bernard Phillips, as "Dr. Saul Manfred," is heard intermittently throughout the film. According to a 17 Jun 1952 HR news item, Jane Darwell was originally set to play "Ma Corey" but had to withdraw from the production due to conflicting commitments. According to a modern source, Joan Fontaine was originally considered for the leading role. Athough HR production charts and a 3 Jul 1952 HR news item include Howard Negley, Earl Lee, Arthur Lovejoy and Hazel Keener in the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed.
       HR news items and studio publicity reported that the picture was partially shot on location in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, San Marino, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and Vidor's ranch in Willow Creek, CA. Background footage was shot in North Carolina, where, according to studio publicity, Jennifer Jones spent several weeks prior to production to perfect her Southern accent. Numerous modern sources have pointed out the similarities between Ruby Gentry and Duel in the Sun , the 1947 Vanguard Films production that was directed by Vidor and starred Jones and Charlton Heston as antagonistic lovers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). "Ruby," the theme from Ruby Gentry , became a popular instrumental hit, to which lyricist Mitchell Parish later added words. The song then became one of Ray Charles' most popular standards. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Dec 1952.
---
Daily Variety
23 Dec 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Dec 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 52
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Dec 52
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
22 Jan 1953.
---
Motion Picture Daily
24 Dec 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Dec 52
pp. 1662-63.
New York Times
25 Dec 52
p. 32.
New York Times
26 Dec 52
p. 20.
Newsweek
12 Jan 1953.
---
Variety
24 Dec 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Supv film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Spec gowns for Jennifer Jones
MUSIC
Mus supv
SOUND
MAKEUP
Hair styles for Jennifer Jones created by
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Jennifer Jones's shooting instructor
STAND INS
Stand-in for Karl Malden
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1953
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 25 December 1952
Los Angeles opening: 21 January 1953
Production Date:
3 June--11 July 1952 at Motion Picture Center
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
19 December 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2353
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
82 or 85
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16052
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the rural town of Braddock, North Carolina, newcomer Dr. Saul Manfred is curious to meet Ruby Corey, a spirited beauty who intrigues Saul despite the fact that the class-conscious citizens of Braddock disdain her for having been born on the "wrong side of the tracks." Jim Gentry, the richest man in town, takes Saul to the hunting lodge run by Ruby's father Jud, and there Saul meets influential townsmen Judge Tackman, Clyde Pratt, Neil Fallgren and Cullen McAuliffe. Saul, who has admired Ruby from afar, is shy with her, but is nonetheless jealous of her obvious attraction to Boake Tackman, her high school sweetheart, who has just returned from a long stay in South America. Ruby's mother and religious brother Jewel warn her that Boake, who is from a poor but aristocratic family, will toss her aside as he did before, but Ruby is determined to make him marry her. During dinner, Boake explains his plan to drain his family's salt water swamped land and raise crops, and Jim offers to help him financially. Later, Jim tells Saul that when Ruby and Boake were in high school, Boake tried to take advantage of her and Ruby stabbed him with an oyster knife. Jim and his invalid wife Letitia then took Ruby in for a couple of years to protect her, and Letitia taught Ruby gracious manners and how to run a large house. Ruby had to return to the lodge, however, when Jud needed help, and now Jim wonders if it was unkind to give Ruby a glimpse of a life she can never have. Boake and Ruby's antagonistic, obsessive relationship intensifies ... +


In the rural town of Braddock, North Carolina, newcomer Dr. Saul Manfred is curious to meet Ruby Corey, a spirited beauty who intrigues Saul despite the fact that the class-conscious citizens of Braddock disdain her for having been born on the "wrong side of the tracks." Jim Gentry, the richest man in town, takes Saul to the hunting lodge run by Ruby's father Jud, and there Saul meets influential townsmen Judge Tackman, Clyde Pratt, Neil Fallgren and Cullen McAuliffe. Saul, who has admired Ruby from afar, is shy with her, but is nonetheless jealous of her obvious attraction to Boake Tackman, her high school sweetheart, who has just returned from a long stay in South America. Ruby's mother and religious brother Jewel warn her that Boake, who is from a poor but aristocratic family, will toss her aside as he did before, but Ruby is determined to make him marry her. During dinner, Boake explains his plan to drain his family's salt water swamped land and raise crops, and Jim offers to help him financially. Later, Jim tells Saul that when Ruby and Boake were in high school, Boake tried to take advantage of her and Ruby stabbed him with an oyster knife. Jim and his invalid wife Letitia then took Ruby in for a couple of years to protect her, and Letitia taught Ruby gracious manners and how to run a large house. Ruby had to return to the lodge, however, when Jud needed help, and now Jim wonders if it was unkind to give Ruby a glimpse of a life she can never have. Boake and Ruby's antagonistic, obsessive relationship intensifies the next day, when Ruby slips away from Saul during a duck hunt to meet with Boake. Ruby rebukes Boake for taking her for granted, and is angered later that day by Boake's deferential treatment of Tracy, McAuliffe's daughter. Despite everyone's assumption that Tracy and Boake will marry, Ruby pursues Boake and enjoys a tempestuous affair with him. Boake, who is making a success of his land reclamation business, eventually tells Ruby that he is engaged to the wealthy Tracy, and Ruby angrily rejects his suggestion that they continue seeing each other after the wedding. Soon after, Saul summons Ruby to town to care for Letitia, who is dying. Letitia is comforted by her last fews days with Ruby, and after Letitia dies, Jim proposes to Ruby. Ruby is hesitant, as she wonders if Jim will someday believe that she only married him for his money or to spite Boake, but Jim convinces her of his love, and the couple marry in New York. Despite Jim's prominence in the community, Ruby is snubbed by Braddock's oldest families, which irritates Jim. Then, one night at the country club, Ruby and Boake engage in a slow, romantic dance, and the jealous Jim provokes a fistfight with Boake. Jim and Ruby exchange harsh words, but the next day, while they are sailing, Ruby assures Jim that she does love him. Their reconciliation is short-lived, however, as a sudden wind arises and Jim is swept overboard. Despite Ruby's genuine grief over her husband's death, everyone in Braddock assumes that she murdered Jim. Saul stands by Ruby, but is astonished as, in revenge, she begins to foreclose on the many businesses to which Jim leant money. Soon, virtually all the businesses in Braddock are either shut down or are in debt to Ruby, for which Jewel castigates her. Ruby bitterly replies that she is merely getting back at the people who were cruel to her, and soon after, Boake comes to the Gentry mansion. Ruby offers to forgive his loan from Jim and expresses her desire to rekindle their relationship, but Boake coldly refuses both offers. Infuriated, Ruby not only assumes ownership of Boake's land but stops the reclamation process so that the land is once again covered by salt water. Crushed by his loss, Boake goes with Ruby to the Coreys' hunting lodge, where he forcefully resumes their romance. The next day, while they are duck hunting in the swamp, Ruby is unnerved by Boake's intimidating manner. Boake is softened by Ruby's heartfelt apology, however, and ruefully wonders how things would have differed if they had been social equals. Suddenly, a bullet whizzes by as Jewel, unbalanced by his obsession with Ruby's "sins," tries to murder his sister and her lover. Jewel succeeds in wounding Boake, after which Ruby shoots and kills her brother, then shoves his body into the swamp. Cradling the dying Boake, Ruby sobs, and years later, the embittered Ruby pilots a fishing boat and lives a reclusive life to atone for her past willfulness. +

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.