The Hoosier Schoolmaster
Edward Eggleston's best-selling novel The Hoosier Schoolmaster was brought to the screen in 1935 by Monogram Pictures, which specialized in such bucolic entertainments. Norman Foster plays the title character, an ex-Union soldier named Ralph. After the Civil War, Ralph takes a schoolteacher job in a small Indiana community where resentment against "Damn Yankees" still runs high. Before long, he gets mixed up in local politics, hoping to purge the town of the crooked politicians who've been squandering land-grant money on themselves. He is also forced to confront town bully Bud (Fred Kohler Jr.) over the affections of pretty heroine Hannah (Charlotte Henry) and to face down a hooded band of night riders. The film deftly blends small-town charm with vivid melodrama, most notably in a spelling-bee sequence which segues into a near-riot. The Hoosier Schoolmaster was one of the last productions from the "old" Monogram outfit before its absorption by Republic Pictures.