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Tobacco Road (1941)

Director: John Ford
    see all cast/crew...
Genre: Classics, Classic Comedy, Classic Drama

Synopsis
Erskine Caldwell's once-scandalous novel Tobacco Road resulted in an equally steamy stage play by Jack Kirkland, which became one of the longest-running productions in Broadway history. This story of indigence and amorality amongst inbred "poor whites" (based on people Caldwell had known while growing up in Georgia) had to be heavily expurgated for movie consumption, put there was plenty of comedy and colorful characterizations to suit the purposes of director John Ford. Charley Grapewin stars as Jeeter Lester, shiftless patriarch of a large backwoods clan. The Lesters are about to be thrown off their land for nonpayment of rent, but anyone who tries to help them--or to alter their lifestyle--is chased away by the poverty-stricken but intensely proud Jeeter. Tobacco Road succeeded on the basis of its title alone, even though no one expected the film to be anywhere near as earthy as the stage version (it would have been impossible under prevailing censorship to include the play's famous opening scene, in which the family watches intently while a teenage girl masturbates!)



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