Of Human Hearts

Overview

Clarence Brown directed this heart-tugging piece of Americana, set during the Civil War era. Walter Huston plays a stern family patriarch, a preacher who thrusts his family into poverty in order to set an example for his parishioners. As a result, his son James Stewart grows up to resent him. He looks to travel East and go to medical school, but his father's iron-fisted vow of poverty holds him back from education. Defying the father, his mother Beulah Bondi sells off part of her dowry to finance her son's ...
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Overview

Clarence Brown directed this heart-tugging piece of Americana, set during the Civil War era. Walter Huston plays a stern family patriarch, a preacher who thrusts his family into poverty in order to set an example for his parishioners. As a result, his son James Stewart grows up to resent him. He looks to travel East and go to medical school, but his father's iron-fisted vow of poverty holds him back from education. Defying the father, his mother Beulah Bondi sells off part of her dowry to finance her son's education. The young man travels East and becomes so embroiled in his studies he neglects to stay in contact with his family, returning only when he receives news of his father's death. After father's passing, he goes off to war as a doctor, leaving his mother abandoned back home. Having heard nothing from her son since his departure for the Civil War, mother thinks he may have died and contacts President Lincoln John Carradine to investigate his whereabouts. Surprisingly, Lincoln responds to the mother's pleas and seeks to find out about the status of her son.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
It's difficult for a movie to wear its heart on its sleeve without coming across as falsely sentimental and/or manipulative; Of Human Hearts manages to indulge its sentimentality honestly, and while some may find its approach a bit too naïve, it's undeniably heartfelt and powerful. True, there are some elements that are simply over the top, most notably the idea that an American president would not only take the time out to personally follow up on the request of a single, non-influential citizen -- but would also track down a son and personally reprimand him for the error of his ways! But director Clarence Brown doesn't let reality bother him; he understands this is about essence and spirit and treats it accordingly. Indeed, it's Brown's strong hand that gives the film its impact; he is firmly committed to the ideals presented herein, and his belief in humanity shines through in every frame. He's aided enormously by his actors, all of whom turn in pitch-perfect performances. James Stewart and Walter Huston shine, of course, but they are matched by Beulah Bondi, in what is possibly her finest performance, as well as John Carradine, whose Lincoln is wonderfully convincing. Throw in a stirring Herbert Stothart score and you get a lovely, touching, and beautiful film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/24/2013
  • UPC: 883316812730
  • Original Release: 1938
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:43:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 15,311

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Walter Huston Ethan Wilkins
James Stewart Jason Wilkins
Beulah Bondi Mary Wilkins
Guy Kibbee George Ames
Charles Coburn Dr. Charles Shingle
John Carradine Abraham Lincoln
Ann Rutherford Annie Hawks
Charles Grapewin Jim Meeker
Leona Roberts Sister Clarke
Gene Lockhart Quid
Arthur Aylesworth Mr. Rufus Inchpin
Gene Reynolds Jason at age 12
Leatrice Joy Gilbert Annie Hawks at Age 10
Sterling Holloway Chauncey at Age 18
Charles Peck Chauncey at Age 12
Robert McWade Dr. Lupus Crumm
John Miljan Capt. Griggs
Guy Bates Post Horse Buyer
Clem Bevans Elder Massey
Minor Watson Capt. Griggs
Ward Bond Lout
Esther Dale Mrs. Cantwell
Stanley Fields Horse Owner
Joe Forte Intern
Brenda Fowler Mrs. Ames
Rosina Galli Mrs. Ardsley
Frank McGlynn Sr. Lout
Roger Moore Attendant
Jack Mulhall Soldier
Anne O'Neal Mrs. Hawks
William Stack Salesman
Phillip Terry Intern
Morgan Wallace Dr. Crandall
Technical Credits
Clarence Brown Director
John W. Considine Jr. Producer
Clyde de Vinna Cinematographer
Bradbury Foote Screenwriter
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Frank E. Hull Editor
Harry Oliver Art Director
Herbert Stothart Score Composer
Dolly Tree Costumes/Costume Designer
Slavko Vorkapich Special Effects
Charles E. Whittaker Consultant/advisor
Edwin B. Willis Art Director
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