Friendly Persuasion (1956)
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|About an indiana quaker family's pacifist beliefs harrowingly tested by the civil war. Special features: subtitles in english and french, dual-layer widescreen, production notes, original international theatrical trailer, new digital transfer, bonus behind-the-scenes nbc-TV wide wide world documentsegment.|
Editor's NoteIndiana, 1862. Quakers Jess and Eliza Birdwell (Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire) live on their family farm. There are only minor ruffles in their quiet life--youngest son, Little Jess, has a running battle with the pet goose, Samantha; Eliza disapproves when Jess turns their weekly buggy ride to worship into a race with neighbor Sam Jordan (Robert Middleton). But the Civil War threatens their calm. Will the Quaker men defend themselves against the invading Confederate Army? Their oldest son, Josh (Anthony Perkins), is torn between beliefs and desires. And what will Jess do when put to the test?
Cast & Crew
|Peter Mark Richman|
|Michael Wilson - Screenwriter|
|Ted Haworth - Production Designer|
|Robert Belcher - Editor|
|Ellsworth Fredericks - Cinematographer|
|Emile LaVigne - Makeup|
|Jessamyn West - Source Writer|
|Robert W. Swink - Editor|
|Dorothy Jeakins - Costume Designer|
|William Wyler - Producer|
|Edward A. Biery - Editor|
|Dimitri Tiomkin - Composer|
|Joseph Kish - Set Designer|
|William Wyler - Director|
Plot SummaryWhen William Wyler acquired the script for FRIENDLY PERSUASION by Michael Wilson, he wanted it focused on Jess Birdwell and what he would do, as a Quaker pacifist, if his wife and family were threatened. Jessamyn West, author of the stories on which Wilson's script was based, was persuaded to rework the script with Wyler's brother, Robert. The result is this entertaining, discursive film.Although the Civil War is an ever-present threat, life goes on for the Birdwells. The family is tempted by the lures of a county fair--daughter Mattie by dance, Josh by wrestling, and Jess by a shooting contest. On a seed-selling trip, Jess and Josh meet the widow Hudspeth (Majorie Main) and her rapacious daughters. Jess trades his beautiful but slow horse for the widow's ugly but fast horse--affecting the outcome of the weekly races. And Sam's son Gard Jordan (Mark Richman) courts Mattie.Then the war arrives. Gard leaves Mattie (Phyllis Love, movingly capturing the hopes and dreams and fears of a young girl). Josh makes his choice. And, ironically, Eliza comes close to betraying her beliefs when she defends her pet goose, Samantha, while Jess manages to defend himself without betraying himself.