Bright Leaf

Overview

Bright Leaf, a sprawling saga of the tobacco industry in North Carolina, began as a novel by Foster Fitzsimmons, a native Carolinian who for many years taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's theatre department. The film version of Bright Leaf has been simplified and reshaped to serve as a traditional Gary Cooper vehicle. Cooper stars as tenant farmer Brant Royle, who after being driven from his home town by autocratic tobacco tycoon Major Singleton Donald Crisp returns in triumph with a ...
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Overview

Bright Leaf, a sprawling saga of the tobacco industry in North Carolina, began as a novel by Foster Fitzsimmons, a native Carolinian who for many years taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's theatre department. The film version of Bright Leaf has been simplified and reshaped to serve as a traditional Gary Cooper vehicle. Cooper stars as tenant farmer Brant Royle, who after being driven from his home town by autocratic tobacco tycoon Major Singleton Donald Crisp returns in triumph with a revolutionary cigarette-making machine. Royle's streamlined techniques soon drive Singleton out of business. Margaret Singleton Patricia Neal, Royle's old flame, agrees to marry him to save her father from ruin--whereupon the Major commits suicide. The vengeful Margaret then does everything she can to destroy Royle. The question remaining: can Brant Royle save himself and find ultimate happiness with his true love, Sonia Kovac Lauren Bacall? Also appearing in Bright Leaf are Jack Carson as Royle's flamboyant business partner Chris Malley and Jeff Corey as John Barton, the inventor of the "miracle" cigarette-making apparatus.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Bright Leaf is a moderately engaging would-be epic about old guard vs. new guard forces in the tobacco industry. It clearly wants to be a "big" picture, but it ends up feeling like a run-of-the-mill melodrama blown out of proportion. Much of the problem is that it can't find a way to reconcile its "personal" storyline with its "ambition" storyline. Oh, the two plots intersect nicely, and the characters move between them with ease -- but somehow the pieces don't seem to fit together just right. It also doesn't help that the melodramatics amount to just so much shouting. Director Michael Curtiz is an experienced old pro at pulling off movies like this, but he doesn't seem to have been able to get a real grip on this one. Fortunately, he has a first rate cast to work with, even if most are not quite operating at the top of their form. Gary Cooper is a treat, as usual; he's not ideally cast and can't quite convince us of his vengeful nature, but his charisma carries him through this. Lauren Bacall is quite good, though the period styles keep her from looking her best, and though Patricia Neal overdoes things a bit, she's still fascinating to watch. Donald Crips, in a supporting role, gives the best performance, filling out a part that could easily become a one-note caricature. And mention must be made of Karl Freund's gorgeous cinematography, which practically spills off the screen.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/2/2009
  • UPC: 883316125304
  • Original Release: 1950
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:50:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 36,320

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gary Cooper Brant Royle
Lauren Bacall Sonja Kovac
Jack Carson Chris Malley
Patricia Neal Margaret Jane Singleton
Donald Crisp Maj. James Singleton
Gladys George Rose
Elizabeth Patterson Tabitha Jackson
Jeff Corey John Barton
Taylor Holmes Lawyer Calhoun
Thurston Hall Phillips
Marietta Canty Queenie
William Walker Simon
James Adamson Black Peddler
Shelby Bacon Fauntleroy
Marshall Bradford Farmer
Chick Chandler Tobacco Auctioneer
Boyd Davis Official
Elzie Emanuel Black Boy
Pat Flaherty Farmer
Pat Goldin Cousin Arthur
James Griffith Ellery
Pete Kellett Farmer's Son
Leslie Kimmell Hopkins
Lyle Latell Clay
Celia Lovsky Dressmaker
Cleo Moore Cousin Louise
Paul Newlan Blacksmith
John M. Pickard Devers
Nita Talbot Cousin Theodora
Chalky Williams Sheriff
Ira Buck Woods Black Peddler
Technical Credits
Michael Curtiz Director
Marjorie Best Costumes/Costume Designer
Henry Blanke Producer
Benjamin S. Bone Set Decoration/Design
Stanley Fleischer Art Director
Karl W. Freund Cinematographer
Stan Jones Sound/Sound Designer
Ranald MacDougall Screenwriter
Owen Marks Editor
Leah Rhodes Costumes/Costume Designer
Sherry Shourds Asst. Director
Perc Westmore Makeup
Victor Young Score Composer
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