The Rainmaker

( 1 )

Overview

N. Richard Nash's play The Rainmaker has always attracted the most flamboyant of performers, and this 1956 film version is no exception. Burt Lancaster all but bursts from the screen with his arm-waving portrayal of a confidence artist who works the drought-ridden Southwest, promising to bring rain for a flat fee of a hundred bucks. During his latest campaign, Lancaster takes up residence in the home of farmer Cameron Prud'homme repeating his Broadway role and his three offspring: rambunctious Earl Holliman, ...
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Overview

N. Richard Nash's play The Rainmaker has always attracted the most flamboyant of performers, and this 1956 film version is no exception. Burt Lancaster all but bursts from the screen with his arm-waving portrayal of a confidence artist who works the drought-ridden Southwest, promising to bring rain for a flat fee of a hundred bucks. During his latest campaign, Lancaster takes up residence in the home of farmer Cameron Prud'homme repeating his Broadway role and his three offspring: rambunctious Earl Holliman, suspicious Lloyd Bridges, and ugly-duckling Katharine Hepburn. In a scene which has since become a standard in high school acting classes, Lancaster works his carnival-huckster charm on Hepburn, convincing her that she's the most gorgeous creature on earth. Armed with new self-confidence, Hepburn stops her tomboyish behavior and becomes a delectable object of affection for local suitor Wendell Corey. After performing this "miracle," Lancaster's last-act ability to conjure up a cloudburst seems almost anticlimactic. The probing lens of the movie camera does little to hide the fact that virtually everyone in the film is too old for their roles, but The Rainmaker makes up its shortcomings with sheer unbridled energy.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The most popular of playwright N. Richard Nash's explorations of reality vs. illusion, The Rainmaker comes to the screen with much of its power diluted. This is not due to any serious flaws in the production, but rather to the fact that Nash's highly romantic, intentionally artificial story and style plays much more naturally on-stage. Placed on film, the language seems a little stilted, the plot a little schematic; in addition, some modern viewers may not be totally comfortable with the implication that Lizzie needs a man to in some way spur her on to fulfilling her potential and completing her life. Despite its flaws, the screenplay does offer its stars two meaty roles with the appropriate "big" moments that they get to play all out, and Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn do not disappoint. She may be too old for the part, but most viewers will overlook this to appreciate her sensitive but powerful portrayal and her willingness to take Lizzie past mere vulnerability so that she borders on the pitiful before pulling back in a kind of unacknowledged shame. Lancaster puts his impressive physical presence to good use here, creating a Starbuck that really does seem a force of nature. Most importantly, there's a wonderful chemistry between the two; despite the manipulative nature of the material, it's hard not to get swept up in the romantic climax. The Rainmaker may miss out on being great drama, but as a showcase for its performers, it's hard to beat.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/1/2013
  • UPC: 883929316182
  • Original Release: 1956
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount Catalog
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 12:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 11,163

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Burt Lancaster Bill Starbuck
Katharine Hepburn Lizzie Curry
Wendell Corey File
Lloyd Bridges Noah Curry
Earl Holliman Jim Curry
Cameron Prud'Homme H.C. Curry
Wallace Ford Sheriff Thomas
Yvonne Lime Snookie
Dottie Bee Baker Belinda
Dan White Deputy
John Benson Townsman
James F. Stone Townsman
Tony Merrill Townsman
Ken Becker Phil Mackey
Joe E. Brown Townsman
Technical Credits
Joseph Anthony Director
C.C. Coleman Asst. Director
Sam Comer Set Decoration/Design
John P. Fulton Special Effects
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Arthur Krams Set Decoration/Design
Charles B. Lang Cinematographer
Warren Low Editor
N. Richard Nash Screenwriter
Paul Nathan Producer
Alex North Score Composer
Hal Pereira Art Director
Walter Tyler Art Director
Hal B. Wallis Producer
Wally Westmore Makeup
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Tornado Rod [5:13]
2. Starbuck Arrives at Three Point [5:01]
3. Lizzie [10:02]
4. Pop's Idea [6:22]
5. Deputy File [9:24]
6. The Curry Ranch [7:32]
7. Enter the Rainmaker [7:50]
8. The Deal Is Set [10:18]
9. Big Brother [5:55]
10. A Gentleman Visitor [:24]
11. Old Maid [12:50]
12. Little Dreams [5:18]
13. Young Lovers [10:46]
14. Looking for Tornado Johnson [5:31]
15. "I'm Beautiful!" [4:13]
16. A Beau [4:39]
17. Rain [4:33]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Set Up
      Audio Options: English Mono
      Audio Options: Fran├žais Mono
      Subtitle Options: English
      Subtitle Options: None
   Scene Selection
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Love this movie

    This is one of my favorite movies. Burt Lancaster plays a traveling snake oil salesman who shows up on the doorstep of a ranch where Katherine Hepburn, her father and two brothers live. He tells them his name is Starbuck, a rainmaker. Their town is in the middle of a drought and they've lost several cattle as a result. Starbuck tells them that for $100.00 he will bring rain. Lloyd Bridges is the oldest brother and the practical one who doesn't trust Starbuck. Earl Holliman plays the younger, not terribly bright but very sweet younger brother. Katherine is their plain looking old maid sister who they have been trying to marry off to the towns Sheriff, a man who claims to be a widow but in truth his wife left him.

    Katherine also doesn't trust Starbuck but eventually he helps her sorely lacking self confidence and convinces her that she is beautiful.

    She starts out with no beau but in the end has to choose between Starbuck the dreaming con man or File, the sensible down to earth Sheriff.

    I really love this movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews