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The Southerner


Jean Renoir's classic tale of a cotton picker (Zachary Scott) who moves his wife (Betty Field) and children to a run down farm in hopes that they can grow their own cotton and make for a better future.

The Southerner is a 1945 American film directed by Jean Renoir, based on the novel Hold Autumn in Your Hand by George Sessions Perry. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Director, Original Music Score and Sound. Renoir was named Best Director by the National Board of Review Awards 1945, which also named the film the third best of 1945.<></>
Future director Robert Aldrich was an assistant director on this film.
Filming location for flood is below the site of where Millerton Lake is located today. The flood was created by releases from the then recently completed Friant Dam.


Sam Tucker is a cotton picker in Texas who decides to start his own farm. He and wife Nona and children Jot and Daisy set out with nothing but two mules and a bit of seed.
The land they lease has no working well, so neighbor Devers reluctantly lets the Tuckers share his water supply. They nearly starve and freeze during a hard winter. Come spring, the child Jot falls ill and desperately needs vegetables and milk to survive, but general store owner Harmie uses the Tuckers credit.
Sam's friend Tim offers to help find him a city job in a factory. Sam remains determined to make the farm work, and Harmie answers the family's prayers with the gift of a cow. Cotton blooms and a vegetable garden is planted. The bitter Devers and his man Finley conspire to ruin the Tuckers, though, because Devers wants their land.
After a fight, Devers comes armed with a gun, only to find Sam about to catch a catfish that Devers has been after for years. In return for the fish, he agrees to leave Sam's family alone. Harmie ends up marrying Sam's mother and life seems fruitful at last, only to have a terrible thunderstorm ravage the Tuckers' home. They must start over once more.


The movie is in the Public Domain.<></>


  • Zachary Scott as Sam Tucker
  • Betty Field as Nona Tucker
  • J. Carrol Naish as Devers
  • Beulah Bondi as Granny Tucker
  • Percy Kilbride as Harmie
  • Charles Kemper as Tim
  • Blanche Yurka as Mama Tucker
  • Norman Lloyd (actor) as Finlay
  • Estelle Taylor as Lizzie
  • Paul Harvey (actor) as Ruston
  • Noreen Nash as Becky Devers
  • Jack Norworth as Dr. White
  • Nestor Paiva as Bartender
  • Paul E. Burns as Uncle Pete Tucker
  • Jay Gilpin as Jot Tucker
  • Jean Vanderwilt as Daisy Tucker

Critical reception

The staff at Variety (magazine) magazine gave the film a favorable review and wrote, "The Southerner creates too little hope for a solution to the difficulties of farm workers who constantly look forward to the day when they can settle forever their existence of poverty with a long-sought harvest - a harvest that invariably never comes&nbsp;... Zachary Scott and Betty Field give fine performances, as do Beulah Bondi, the grandmother, Percy Kilbride, Charles Kemper and J. Carrol Naish.


  • National Board of Review: NBR Award, Best Director, Jean Renoir; 1945.
  • Nominations
  • Academy Awards: Oscar, Best Director, Jean Renoir; Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Werner Janssen; Best Sound, Recording Jack Whitney (Sound Services Inc); 1946.< name="Oscars1946"></>

  • Category:1945 films
    Category:American films
    Category:English-language films
    Category:1940s drama films
    Category:American drama films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:Films based on novels
    Category:Films directed by Jean Renoir
    Category:Films set in Texas
    Category:United Artists films
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