Tourneur's horror work and his outstanding Out of The Past deserve their acclaim but they sadly overshadow his true masterpiece. Watching this film, it's hard to believe that this was not directed by John Ford, as the level of care and attention put into creating a sense of community around the characters is matched only by his. In general, this might be the best representation of the south in any American film.
Tourneur masterfully paints a picture of a community that has the ability to peacefully live beside each other and help to build up their livelihood together, but he also realizes it's potential to destroy itself from within when being taken over by hatred, ignorance,greed or racism. Though I have to admit that the judgmental approach within the "Logic vs. Faith" themes were a little off putting for my taste.
In 1950, while Hollywood's Blacklist was ruining thousands of careers and lives for purported Un-American activities, Stars in My Crown offered audiences a Hollywood vision of Protestant Americana waving the Bible and its calico morality. And though it wraps itself in historical myth, Jacques Tourneur's direction highlights underlying themes of education which poisons, racism, and God's Will as situational solution.
As much as I've praised his horror films this may be Tourneur's best work. It's certainly his most impressive and encompassing storytelling drawing together an entire community with multiple conflicts in 90 mins and doing so with elements of nostalgia but his economic storytelling makes for a depiction of life that isnt quite idealized either and at times even harsh. Masterpiece.