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Spencer's Mountain

Spencer's Mountain(1963)


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  • disappointing

    • CALVIN
    • 10/6/17

    I found this dvd on sale at Barnes and Noble and bought it last week and just watched it. It's sort of an adequate story but it's full of holes. One scene that drove me nuts was the sister of Clayboy spying on him and that bimbo who is home from college after spending a year developing a warped mind while they were in that library or whatever it was. Anyway, that sister runs all the way home (bare footed as I recall and over rocks) just to rat out her older brother. I don't know why that bugs me so much. Maybe it's because she is a clone of her judgmental mother and cannot wait to give somebody a hard time. It's just a dumb scene. The movie is OK although mediocre, but if I had to spend more than the $4.99 sale price I would be really angry.

  • Lame

    • Bluto
    • 10/1/17

    Wally Cox plays the only decent character. The others are such stereotyped mannequins that it's painful to sit through this movie. Maureen O'Hara always plays such harsh and self-centered characters. She comes across as ice cold. This just isn't a well put together movie.

  • Nice Try

    • Habitat 67
    • 9/28/17

    I wonder why Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara even agreed to do this film. They were doing well and in demand but this movie is so weak and they must have known the script had been badly changed. The whole thing is beneath their abilities. I know this movie paved the way for The Waltons but I always think of Carol Burnett's spoof called "Walnut's Mound." She pays "Momma Woman." When I saw this a few weeks ago on TCM I kept thinking of O'Hara as Momma Woman and Fonda as Poppa Man. I don't know what to think of Clayboy but based on the comments below, his girlfriend/lust interest would be Harlot Girl. Lousy movie.

  • I agree with OK--this is not an "essential"

    • Troy
    • 9/17/17

    If Spencer's Mountain is supposed to spark a US political rant, then maybe it deserves a higher rating in that category, but I agree with a previous post that the film is not all that well made. I think the earlier comments about Clayboy's girlfriend are hilarious and very true. How could a god-fearing family with a mother so self-righteous as Maureen O'Hara's character tolerate a chick like that girlfriend? That girl should be wearing leather and carrying a whip and chains. That mountain mother would have seen that girl as sinful, a vamp, a temptress and nothing more and she would've steered her kid toward anything better than selling his soul to the likes of her. The girlfriend character just doesn't belong in the script. Yes, there are heartwarming scenes but some aren't logical. Here's one: Who builds a house on the top of a roadless, treeless, wind-swept mountain top in the Rockies? Give me a break. I lived in Alberta. Summer is four months long and winter is fifteen. That family would have been snowed in and then found frozen solid when and if spring ever arrived. That is all the result of switching the setting from western Virginia to the US Rockies. The script should have been adjusted but it was not. And while I like Henry Fonda, his character is confusing. The script calls for a hard drinking, rough man and there are hints of that but he melts into a man reduced to begging for money even if his cause is worthy. Again, it doesn't make sense. This is a script problem no more and no less.Maybe some people see the movie as just OK not because there is a problem with the message but because there are problems with the script, the performances and the overall presentation. Americans like political rants but I prefer to evaluate the movie on its merits and not on any form of political agenda. So, Spencer's Mountain is a nice, happy story but it is not an "essential" because it has too many production flaws.

  • It's ok??

    • Alice
    • 9/17/17

    How good does a story and movie have to be? This film is a classic in so many ways. The story itself is one that sadly, is not a common one today. We have less and less of the strong family ties exhibited in this film in the American life today. It was the strong family unit that set the example for the strong national unity that once was The UNITED States of America. We have forgotten at our own peril what Abraham Lincoln said; "United we stand; divided, we fall." I pray we wake up before it is too late.In addition, this film is a classic by our dear departed friend, Robert Osborne's definition. He used to say that one of the ways we could tell a classic film is that we can continue to enjoy the film year after year as though it was the first time we were watching it. Classic films, with classic stories, made in classic ways with classic acting and classic directing will live forever in those folks like us who love and appreciate this never to be seen again, "golden age of film".So, I respectfully disagree with the descriptive category of "ok" for this beautiful film. Thank you TCM. On behalf of all of us who love this film, Thank you. Please keep showing this one and all of them like this one.

  • It's OK

    • Calvin
    • 9/17/17

    There are some good moments in this film but there are flaws that cause problems. Fonda and O'Hara are good and the setting is wonderful. But the entire film centers on James MacArthur's character which is ok but it reduces everyone else to supporting roles. There is also an odd twist on gender roles in the film. Clayboy, MacArthur's character, although a high school graduate, is about as innocent and unaware as a newborn puppy. When the young girl down the road returns home from schooling at some private school, she is nothing less than a nymphomaniac. She is all over Clayboy. She comes across as cheap, selfish and conniving and she has absolutely no awareness of his financial situation, his goals or anything other than her own desires. In short, she just doesn't fit into the film at all and it makes no sense why she is even in the script. The only other young woman is the far too young wife of a man from whom the Spencers hope to obtain a $500 loan for Clayboy's college tuition. But this woman is evil and vindictive and will not allow her husband to assist the Spencers. O'Hara's character later calls this younger woman "a harlot." This leaves us with O'Hara as the mother of so many children that the family could qualify as an emerging new nation and Grandma who has nine adult sons as well. These prolific breeders are both so stereotyped that it's difficult to take them seriously. And for a family than finds $37 to be a small fortune, they live in a remarkably beautiful mountain community, in a charming cabin and own land equal to the size of Rhode Island. And they have enough land to divide equally among those nine brothers. While there are some good moments, the bigger pieces of the puzzle do not fit together very well and this film just is not very well made. I realize it was the spark for the television show, The Waltons," but that show was sometimes so syrupy sweet that it probably triggered the diabetes epidemic in the US.

  • spencer's mountain

    • kevin sellers
    • 1/15/15

    The kind of heartwarming movie that makes you want to scream obscenities at the screen.

  • Missed the movie, got to see JFK!!

    • Anne
    • 1/14/15

    I have seen this movie and was very happy to, however, when I went down to NYC as a child of 12 in grammar school to Radio City Music Hall, we were banned from the Catholic review to see the movie. Instead we took a boat trip to Liberty Island and after arriving back in Battery Park there was a huge crowd gathering. The reason was that JFK was coming through in an open car. With great intuition, I grabbed my pocket mirror out of my purse and held it up over the crowd so I was able to catch a glimpse of JFK. That is my fond memory as a 12 year old!

  • Much too fanciful!

    • RedRain
    • 8/11/13

    At first blush, this appears to be a family film and it is a good enough story; however, there is much wrong with this film. It is set in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming but the Hamner family actually lived in Appalachian Virginia. Fonda's character, the father, is a raging alcoholic. There is infidelity and prostitution that would be difficult to explain to a child. A few black actors are in the film, as churchgoers with the white folk, but that wouldn't have occurred in Appalachia. This was a gratuitous gesture that was out of place and uncalled for. Fonda and O'Hara are well cast as the parents but the entire film revolves around James MacArthur who plays the eldest son who wants to go to college. I particularly enjoy seeing Wally Cox as the parson and he gives a really nice performance. On a personal note, it really rankled me to see Fonda hugging and kissing the children in this film when he wouldn't do it with his own kids in real life. I know he was just acting but my knowing how he treated his own children made me cringe when he embraced his film children. Henry Fonda was a great actor but a lousy human being!

  • Heart-warming movie

    • ellis
    • 7/23/12

    Agree with the other reviewers. This is a great movie, heart-warming story, well acted. Fonda is very convincing as the no-nonsense, down-to-earth family patriarch. Great photography too! This was the last movie of Donald Crisp, a great English character actor.

  • Spencer's Mountain

    • Bruce
    • 7/9/11

    A wonderful movie that does not get enough air time. As everyone knows, orshould know it is the foundation of one of America's best loved shows in the1970's - the Waltons. Has a great cast with Fonda, O'Hara, MacArthur and Dub Taylor! Fonda's line about the Teton's has always stayed with me throughoutmy life. Highly recommended movie for everyone to watch. Great storyline,great acting, moves quickly from frame to frame (scene). Obviously, this isa five star movie.

  • values and love

    • jamie graham
    • 7/9/11

    though in this movie he did not become a writerthe values were there and spit fair of pa pa spenceraka john walton i love it because my family is of the same clanfor my sister wife of of the clan name the browns wanted me to be her brother after my mom died my sister was my friend not bloodbut because of love of GOD i became a part of the growing clan of north east missourilong live this movie and its pure values

  • Fonda and O Hara in A Lovely Film

    • David Atkins
    • 11/22/10

    Delmer Daves a fine director who made smash hits at WB such as Parrish, and Rome Adventure and made a star of Troy Donahue, switched gears here and made this quiet and lovely film with two professionals Henry Fonda and Maureen O Hara. James MacArthur is also cast. Wonderful old fashioned and welcome film.Kudos to Delmer Daves.PS Daves and O Hara would re united in The Battle of the Villa Fiorita at WB a few years later.

  • The best family movie!!

    • Gary
    • 3/21/10

    I'm pretty sure this is the way life is supposed to be! Not always money but family!! Location and the actor's doesn't get much better than this. My favorite.


    • steve
    • 7/26/09

    I remember watching this movie when I was a kid, and I'd watch it everytime I could catch it on. Time well spent in front of the tube. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. CLASSIC TWO THUMBS UP.

  • Absolutely worth the time to watch this movie.

    • Rickie
    • 5/27/08

    I saw in 1963 and it is one of the finest movies I ever saw.

  • Fonda and O'Hara

    • Vixie
    • 10/27/07

    Delightful and sweet

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