Bick Benedict, owner of the sprawling Reata ranch in Texas, travels to Maryland in order to buy horses but also ends up with the daughter (Leslie) of his host as his wife. Bick and Leslie return to Texas and the immense Victorian house that sits isolated in the middle of Reata. There Leslie soon comes into conflict with Bick’s sister Luz who has until then been running the house.
Other conflicts arise, involving: the swallowing-up of land by the developing oil industry throughout the territory; Jett Rink, a young ranch-hand who soon strikes oil himself on a small tract of Reata land willed to him by Luz after her untimely death; and prejudice against Mexicans highlighted by Leslie’s efforts to improve their living and working conditions. As time passes, later generations of the Benedicts sharpen the conflicts by virtue of the different viewpoints and interests that distance themselves from Bick and Leslie.
Leslie, and Bick particularly, must learn to accept fundamental changes in their view of life in order to adapt to the new Texas that emerges and the influences on family and friends that result. –DVDVerdict
American producer/director/cinematographer George Stevens made his professional acting debut at age five in the company of his actor parents. Developing an interest in photography as a hobby, Stevens became an assistant movie cameraman at the age of 17. From 1927 through 1930, he was principal cameraman at Hal Roach Studios, shooting such classic two-reelers as Laurel and Hardy’s Two Tars (1928) and Below Zero (1930), as well as a handful of feature films, including the 1927 Western No Man’s Law. Stevens was elevated to director in 1930 for Roach’s Boy Friends series. Dismissed from Roach during an economy drive in 1931, Stevens moved to Universal and then to RKO to direct comedy shorts (he later professed to hate two-reel comedies, though he enjoyed the company of the comedians with whom he worked, especially Laurel and Hardy). RKO promoted Stevens to features in 1934; after several medium-budget projects, he was assigned the “A” feature Alice Adams (1935) over the protests of the… read more
One of the best films ever made about Texas, an epic work of myth, bourgeois decadence and humor. Its high points are its masterful cinematography, its graceful ensemble acting with a killer early performance by Dennis Hopper, and the beauty and talent of a young Elizabeth Taylor. Bravo.
For this year’s incarnation of the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow, someone had the excellent idea of commissioning the artist formerly