Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1951. King Brothers Productions. Screenplay by Philip Yordan, Sidney Harmon, based on the story by Hollister Noble. Cinematography by Lionel Lindon. Produced by Frank King, Maurice King. Music by Dimitri Tiomkin. Production Design by William Cameron Menzies. Costume Design by Jay A. Morley Jr.. Film Editing by Richard V. Heermance.
Barbara Payton‘s beautiful life on her southern plantation is interrupted by the outbreak of Civil War, which sends her husband up north to fight and brings home an old flame who is still in love with her. He himself has his life complicated by the fact that his best friend is a Yankee now fighting on the other side. Like many of the films directed by William Cameron Menzies, this one benefits from his exquisite skills as production designer and general image maker while suffering an uncomfortable blend of story elements that range from serious to slightly campy melodrama. Payton is terrific in the lead, the closest to Gone With the Wind quality that the film can hope for, while the closing sequence is wonderfully tense.