6.5/10
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35 user 13 critic

Tobacco Road (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 7 March 1941 (USA)
Hillbilly family life in 1941 rural Georgia.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Erskine Caldwell (based on the novel by), Jack Kirkland (stage play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charley Grapewin ... Jeeter
Marjorie Rambeau ... Sister Bessie
Gene Tierney ... Ellie May
William Tracy ... Dude Lester
Elizabeth Patterson ... Ada Lester
Dana Andrews ... Captain Tim
Slim Summerville ... Peabody
Ward Bond ... Lov
Grant Mitchell ... George Payne
Zeffie Tilbury ... Grandma
Russell Simpson ... Chief of Police
Spencer Charters ... County Clerk
Irving Bacon ... Teller
Harry Tyler ... Auto Dealer
Charles Halton ... Mayor
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Storyline

Shiftless Jeeter Lester and his family of hillbilly stereotypes live in a rural backwater where their ancestors were once wealthy planters. Their slapstick existence is threatened by a bank's plans to take over the land for more profitable farming; subplots involve the affairs and marriages of son Dude and daughter Ellie May. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Produced by the men who gave you..."GRAPES OF WRATH" See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El camino del tabaco See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,900,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The early-1941 Ford Super De Luxe Convertible Club Coupe, driven by Harvey Parry, survived its ordeal. During filming it had been crashed into a 100-year-old sycamore tree, then backed out of the debris and driven fast to jump over a 20-foot stream (with the aid of a ramp), and thereafter smashed through several fences, sideswiped a two-ton truck (forcing the truck off the road), rammed through a tool shed (cut from final release), jumped a curb, splintered a park bench, rammed a station wagon, ran into two other trees and skidded until finally overturning. Following this, the car was set right by the crew and driven back to the studio by Parry. A studio employee, Arthur Webb, purchased the badly-damaged convertible from 20th Century-Fox and, with his brother Don, commenced to repair it with hundreds of hours of personal labor and $125 in new parts from a Beverly Hills dealership. See more »

Goofs

When Dude angrily pushes Jeter out of the way from his new car, the hood is up. When he drives away, the hood is down. See more »

Quotes

Lov Bensey: I want a young wife. I ain't gonna take no 23 year old woman for a wife, have everybody laughin' at me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Grindhouse (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Brighten the Corner Where You Are
(uncredited)
Music by Charles Gabriel
Lyrics by Ina Duley Ogden
Sung a cappella by Marjorie Rambeau
Reprised by her and William Tracy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A rarely televised classic that should be on VHS or DVD!
10 December 2002 | by grjordan48See all my reviews

I really enjoyed reading Erskine Caldwell's TOBACCO ROAD, and I was certainly glad when American Movie Classics finally offered the rarely televised film "Tobacco Road" for several months. I don't understand why this classic by famed director John Ford has never been available on VHS or DVD.

The film is based on the long-running Broadway stage production of "Tobacco Road" which was based on Caldwell's book, but still the essence of the book is mostly there, in my opinion. (I've read that Erskine Caldwell liked the stage production but not the film version of his famous novel, however.)

With perhaps a bit more satire, but less bawdiness and tragedy than the book, the film depicts the plight of the dirt-poor Lester family around the time of the Great Depression. Jeeter Lester's father and grandfather before him had prospered on the once rich Georgia farmland, but the land became fallow, leaving the family to scrape for food (like raw turnips) and with little hope of escaping "the poor farm."

Despite the appearances of Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, and Ward Bond, Charles Grapewin (as Jeeter Lester) is the star of "Tobacco Road." As many times as I've enjoyed watching "Tobacco Road," I'd still like to see a remake, even a televised mini-series, that more closely follows the original storyline and presents the characters as they truly are: grotesque, risque, and pathetic.


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