Shenandoah


1h 45m 1965
Shenandoah

Brief Synopsis

A Virginia farmer fights to keep his family together during the Civil War.

Film Details

Also Known As
Fields of Honor
Genre
Drama
War
Western
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
Houston opening: 3 Jun 1965
Production Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

Prosperous Virginia farmer Charlie Anderson, who believes that the Civil War is of no concern to him, lives with his six sons, his daughter, his daughter-in-law, and his infant granddaughter. Though they occasionally have to fight off soldiers who want their animals or supplies, they try to remain neutral. His daughter, Jennie, falls in love with and marries Sam, a Confederate officer who is called to duty on their wedding day. Charlie's youngest son, Boy, picks up and wears a discarded Confederate cap, and he is taken prisoner by Union soldiers. Leaving James, James's wife, and their baby behind to watch the farm, the others set out to find Boy and bring him back. Instead, they find Sam in a Union prison camp; and returning to the farm, they find that James and Ann have been murdered by Confederate looters, though the baby has been spared. Then another son, Jacob, is accidentally killed by a Confederate sentry. One Sunday, in the middle of church services, Boy comes limping into church to join his family.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Fields of Honor
Genre
Drama
War
Western
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
Houston opening: 3 Jun 1965
Production Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Sound

1965

Articles

Shenandoah


A perfect example of a movie made watchable and interesting due entirely to its star, Shenandoah (1965) stands as one of the better films in James Stewart's post-fifties career. It's the story of a prosperous Virginia farmer (Stewart) who has raised six sons and a daughter on his sprawling, self-contained farm since his wife died in childbirth. It's 1863 and the Civil War is taking place all around him, but Stewart maintains a neutral stance. Morally opposed to slavery, he wants no part of a war based on it - as long as the conflict does not touch him personally. The war, however, eventually does take a toll on the family, starting when Stewart's new son-in-law is called into Confederate service on his wedding day. Then Stewart's youngest son is captured by the North and suspected of being a Confederate soldier. Showing some of the determination and sense of purpose that marked his earlier Anthony Mann westerns, Stewart sets out to find him, taking most of his other sons with him on the journey.

Shot on lush, pretty locations near Eugene, Oregon, by director Andrew V. McLaglen, Shenandoah nonetheless has a visual look that resembles television shows of the period. McLaglen's father was Victor McLaglen, a stock actor for John Ford, and the younger McLaglen seems to have inherited Ford's fondness for big, burly action movies - but without the emotional intensity or picture-perfect compositions of the master director. That said, there are two set-pieces in Shenandoah that are particularly well-staged, one involving a cow on a battlefield and the other a shocking rape/murder sequence that uses the power of suggestion rather than explicit detail. McLaglen went on to direct three more features with Stewart, but this was by far the highest-grossing, perhaps partly due to the fact that its antiwar tone touched a chord as America agonized over Vietnam.

Stewart's performance, however, was surely the main reason for Shenandoah's popularity. Grizzled and tough, his teeth perpetually clenched on a cigar stub, Stewart totally dominates the movie. While he is convincing as the strict patriarch who rules his family with a stern hand, his tender side peaks through as well, revealing a soft heart. (He is still, after all, James Stewart!) It's an appealing contrast and in one scene, for example, Stewart advises his new son-in-law (Doug McClure) in the ways of women. "They expect things they never ask for," says Stewart. "And when they don't get them, they ask why. Sometimes they don't ask. And then they just go ahead and punish you for not doing what you didn't know you were supposed to do in the first place."

And only Stewart could pull off, with such poignance and sensitivity, two scenes in which he must speak to his wife's grave. One famous speech well sums up Shenandoah's attitude toward war: "I don't even know what to say to you, Martha. There's nothing much I can tell you about this war. It's like all wars, I suppose. The undertakers are winning it. Politicians talk a lot about the glory of it. The soldiers, they just want to go home." Despite Stewart's fine performance, he didn't receive an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor but the movie did garner an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound.

Producer: Robert Arthur
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Screenplay: James Lee Barrett
Cinematography: William H. Clothier
Film Editing: Otho Lovering
Costume Design: Rosemary Odell
Music: Frank Skinner
Cast: James Stewart (Charlie Anderson), Doug McClure (Sam), Glenn Corbett (Jacob Anderson), Patrick Wayne (James Anderson), Rosemary Forsyth (Jennie Anderson), Phillip Alford (Boy Anderson), Katharine Ross (Ann Anderson), Charles Robinson (Nathan Anderson), James Best (Carter), Denver Pyle (Pastor Bjoerling), George Kennedy (Col. Fairchild), Warren Oates (Billy Packer), Strother Martin (Engineer).
C-106m. Closed captioning. Letterboxed.

by Jeremy Arnold
Shenandoah

Shenandoah

A perfect example of a movie made watchable and interesting due entirely to its star, Shenandoah (1965) stands as one of the better films in James Stewart's post-fifties career. It's the story of a prosperous Virginia farmer (Stewart) who has raised six sons and a daughter on his sprawling, self-contained farm since his wife died in childbirth. It's 1863 and the Civil War is taking place all around him, but Stewart maintains a neutral stance. Morally opposed to slavery, he wants no part of a war based on it - as long as the conflict does not touch him personally. The war, however, eventually does take a toll on the family, starting when Stewart's new son-in-law is called into Confederate service on his wedding day. Then Stewart's youngest son is captured by the North and suspected of being a Confederate soldier. Showing some of the determination and sense of purpose that marked his earlier Anthony Mann westerns, Stewart sets out to find him, taking most of his other sons with him on the journey. Shot on lush, pretty locations near Eugene, Oregon, by director Andrew V. McLaglen, Shenandoah nonetheless has a visual look that resembles television shows of the period. McLaglen's father was Victor McLaglen, a stock actor for John Ford, and the younger McLaglen seems to have inherited Ford's fondness for big, burly action movies - but without the emotional intensity or picture-perfect compositions of the master director. That said, there are two set-pieces in Shenandoah that are particularly well-staged, one involving a cow on a battlefield and the other a shocking rape/murder sequence that uses the power of suggestion rather than explicit detail. McLaglen went on to direct three more features with Stewart, but this was by far the highest-grossing, perhaps partly due to the fact that its antiwar tone touched a chord as America agonized over Vietnam. Stewart's performance, however, was surely the main reason for Shenandoah's popularity. Grizzled and tough, his teeth perpetually clenched on a cigar stub, Stewart totally dominates the movie. While he is convincing as the strict patriarch who rules his family with a stern hand, his tender side peaks through as well, revealing a soft heart. (He is still, after all, James Stewart!) It's an appealing contrast and in one scene, for example, Stewart advises his new son-in-law (Doug McClure) in the ways of women. "They expect things they never ask for," says Stewart. "And when they don't get them, they ask why. Sometimes they don't ask. And then they just go ahead and punish you for not doing what you didn't know you were supposed to do in the first place." And only Stewart could pull off, with such poignance and sensitivity, two scenes in which he must speak to his wife's grave. One famous speech well sums up Shenandoah's attitude toward war: "I don't even know what to say to you, Martha. There's nothing much I can tell you about this war. It's like all wars, I suppose. The undertakers are winning it. Politicians talk a lot about the glory of it. The soldiers, they just want to go home." Despite Stewart's fine performance, he didn't receive an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor but the movie did garner an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound. Producer: Robert Arthur Director: Andrew V. McLaglen Screenplay: James Lee Barrett Cinematography: William H. Clothier Film Editing: Otho Lovering Costume Design: Rosemary Odell Music: Frank Skinner Cast: James Stewart (Charlie Anderson), Doug McClure (Sam), Glenn Corbett (Jacob Anderson), Patrick Wayne (James Anderson), Rosemary Forsyth (Jennie Anderson), Phillip Alford (Boy Anderson), Katharine Ross (Ann Anderson), Charles Robinson (Nathan Anderson), James Best (Carter), Denver Pyle (Pastor Bjoerling), George Kennedy (Col. Fairchild), Warren Oates (Billy Packer), Strother Martin (Engineer). C-106m. Closed captioning. Letterboxed. by Jeremy Arnold

Quotes

When are you going to take this war seriously, Anderson?
- Lieutenant Johnson
Now let me tell you something Johnson, before you get on my wrong side. My corn I take seriously, because it's mine. And my potatoes and tomatoes and my fence I take note of because they're mine. But this war is not mine and I don't take note of it.
- Charlie Anderson
I don't even know what to say to you any more, Martha. There's not much I can tell you about this war. It's like all wars, I guess. The undertakers are winning. And the politicians who talk about the glory of it. And the old men who talk about the need of it. And the soldiers, well, they just wanna go home. I guess you're not so lonely any more, with Ann and James and Jacob. And maybe the boy. You didn't know Ann, did you? Well, you'd like her. You'd like her, Martha. Why, she and James are so much alike, they're just like...no...no...we were never that much alike, were we Martha? We just sorta grew alike through the years. But I wish, I wish I could just know what you're thinking about it all, Martha. And maybe it wouldn't seem so bad to me if I knew what you thought about it.
- Charlie Anderson
You never give up, do you?
- Charlie Anderson
They come closer every day, Pa.
- Jacob Anderson
They on our land?
- Charlie Anderson
No, sir.
- Jacob Anderson
Then it doesn't concern us. Does it?
- Charlie Anderson
Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvest it. We cook the harvest. It wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be eating it if we hadn't done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you Lord just the same for the foos we're about to eat, amen.
- Charlie Anderson
Where'd you get the hat, boy?
- Charlie Anderson
Down by the creek, sir.
- Boy Anderson
Some fella down there handing out hats?
- Charlie Anderson

Trivia

The opening battle scenes are taken from Raintree County (1957) and are printed as a mirror image of the original footage. (The same scenes can also be seen in, among other films, How the West Was Won (1962).)

Notes

Location scenes filmed near Eugene, Oregon. Working titles: Fields of Honor and Shenandoah Crossing.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1965

Katherine Ross makes her screen debut.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1965