Swamp Water


Crime / Drama

IMDb Rating 7.1


Downloaded 617 times
5/27/2019 6:47:09 AM

88 min
P/S 0 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Bunuel1976 7

If one didn&#39;t know beforehand who directed this film (which proved to be Renoir&#39;s U.S. debut), he would be excused for thinking it was made by John Ford - given the presence of a good number of his stock company of actors (Walter Brennan, John Carradine, Ward Bond, Russell Simpson) and the music score utilizing themes from THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940), which was also a 20th Century-Fox production! Still, Renoir&#39;s uniquely humanist outlook is unmistakable - which is only betrayed by the one-dimensional Tweedle-Dee/Tweedle-Dum pairing of Bond (here practically duplicating his villainous role in Ford&#39;s YOUNG MR. LINCOLN [1939]) and Guinn Williams.<br/><br/>An altogether impressive production, with the overpowering atmosphere of the Okefenokee beautifully captured by Renoir and veteran cinematographer Peverell Marley (despite some obvious back-projection); the use of shadowy lighting is especially striking. Its concern with realism also extends to some rather physical violence for the time and a couple of unnerving scenes involving prowling alligators and snakes! Consequently, the film is vastly underrated in the director&#39;s canon (especially having now watched all his American features). While it may have served as a sort of dry run for Renoir&#39;s own THE SOUTHERNER (1945), the film also looks forward to INTRUDER IN THE DUST (1949) - which, similarly, dealt with a miscarriage of justice.<br/><br/>With regards to casting, I don&#39;t agree with Leonard Maltin who felt that Walter Brennan&#39;s fugitive constituted &quot;bizarre miscasting&quot; (certainly no more than his uncharacteristic if brilliant turn as Old Man Clanton in Ford&#39;s MY DARLING CLEMENTINE [1946]): despite receiving top billing, he appears very little but his presence permeates the entire film. Walter Huston is never less than good in anything he does, but his gruff patriarch here isn&#39;t all that central to the plot; interestingly, the actor later appeared in a film by another expatriate French director - Rene&#39; Clair&#39;s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (1945). Conversely, Dana Andrews makes quite an impression as his rebellious but subsequently heroic young son - and this film must surely have put him on his way to becoming a veritable leading-man. The film also has Andrews forsaking egotistical village belle Virginia Gilmore for the raggedy but radiant Anne Baxter (whose real identity has been shielded from most of the community). To spite Andrews, the former takes up with another man: the actor&#39;s face was familiar to me but I couldn&#39;t quite place it, that is, until I saw his name during the end credits - it was none other than Matt Willis, who would go on to play Bela Lugosi&#39;s werewolf acolyte in THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (1944)! Similarly, Huston&#39;s young bride (played by Mary Howard) is pursued by an atypically meek, almost pitiful Carradine - though it later transpires that he was involved in Brennan&#39;s framing! <br/><br/>Surely one of the film&#39;s most endearing aspects is the unconditional love shown by both Andrews and Brennan to the former&#39;s wayward dog, hence the name of Trouble (which even occupies the film&#39;s very last shot via a well-deserved close-up!). As for the attractively-packaged DVD itself, the overall quality of the film&#39;s transfer was acceptable (though print damage was evident on occasion); I don&#39;t usually buy bare-bones discs, but the very reasonable price-tag and the fact that this rarely-screened film is as yet unavailable on R1 made the purchase virtually a no-brainer - and it has certainly made me game to pick up some more exclusive R2 stuff, above all the SE of Lewis Milestone&#39;s war drama THE PURPLE HEART (1944), also featuring Dana Andrews and a film I missed out on during my tenure in Hollywood...

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Reviewed by artzau 9

I can remember seeing this movie as a kid and getting the bejesus scared out of me. The darkness and uncertainty of the swamp terrified my young imagination and the image of the skull atop a cross touched all my Roman Catholic primal fears. My impression of the swamp, i.e., crocs, gaters and snakes, topped with a dark image of the fugitive played by Walter Brennan, lasted for years. Now, I do recall there being a video (although none is listed here), because I did see it again a few years back. The shock of the darkness of the film was dulled by over 50 years of life but the Gothic quality of the story along with the fine characterization of Renoir makes this film a classic. Walter Huston is great in his curmudgeon role as the young Dana Andrews&#39;s father married to a younger woman who&#39;s getting moves laid on by ever villainous John Carridine. The presence of great character actors Guinn&quot;Big Boy&quot; Williams, Ward Bond and gravel-voiced Eugene Palette adds much to the texture of the film. Too, the young Anne Baxter is superb as the daughter of Brennan and the female interest of Dana Andrews. The story line seems a bit tame, by today&#39;s standards but holds up well. All in all, this is a satisfying film well done and provocative. Check it out.

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Reviewed by MartinHafer 7

Considering that Hollywood&#39;s view of the South consisted of films like &quot;L&#39;il Abner&quot; and &quot;Swing Your Lady&quot; during this era, the fact that &quot;Swamp Water&quot; turned out so good is a bit of a surprise. What&#39;s even more surprising is that this film about the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia was directed by a Frenchman, Jean Renoir.<br/><br/>The film is set along the edges of the swamp. Apparently the locals all are a bit afraid of going into the treacherous swamp and if they do, it&#39;s only in groups. Considering all the gators and snakes, it&#39;s easy to see why they avoid it! However, when Dana Andrews&#39; dog gets lost there, he ventures into the swamp alone. Instead of dying or never finding his way back, he meets up with a wanted man (Walter Brennan). Despite Brennan being wanted for murder for the last five years, it soon becomes apparent he&#39;s too nice a guy to have killed anyone--and Andrews agrees to keep his whereabouts secret and become his partner in the fur trapping trade.<br/><br/>In addition to this major plot thread, several other seemingly divergent plot elements occur during the course of the film--and by the end they all come together. First, Andrews&#39; mother has been allowing an old boyfriend (John Carradine) to spend time at the house when her older husband (Walter Huston) is gone on hunting trips. While she rebuffs Carradine&#39;s advances, you wonder why she doesn&#39;t tell him to leave---so it&#39;s obvious she&#39; ambivalent about this. When the husband finds out she&#39;s been with another man, things get tense--but he has no idea who the man was. And, there is another plot involving two rough and nasty brothers (Ward Bond and Guinn Williams) who just seem to be up to no good! Finally, there is a blossoming love between Brennan&#39;s daughter (Anne Baxter) and Andrews.<br/><br/>So why did I like the film? Well, I appreciated how although the actors approximated accents of the locale, it was NOT exaggerated and the people were not made out to be a bunch of ignorant yokels. While I am sure the film would not be one recommended by the Georgia Department of Tourism, the film clearly is not offensive or overdone. The acting is good, the complex plot involving and interesting. While not exactly a great film, it did have some nice tense moments and was quite enjoyable.<br/><br/>By the way, despite the nice Midwest sort of &#39;perfect&#39; accent, Dana Andrews was Mississippi-born! Interesting.

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