|Genre: Drama, Gay/Lesbian, Military, Religion, Cult Classic|
Tagline: Try FRIENDLY PERSUASION: It's Powerful!
Plot: When William Wyler acquired the script for FRIENDLY PERSUASION by Michael Wilson, he wanted it focused on Jess Birdwell and what he would do, as a Quaker pacifist, if his wife and family were threatened. Jessamyn West, author of the stories on which Wilson’s script was based, was persuaded to rework the script with Wyler’s brother, Robert. The result is this entertaining, discursive film.
Although the Civil War is an ever-present threat, life goes on for the Birdwells. The family is tempted by the lures of a county fair--daughter Mattie by dance, Josh by wrestling, and Jess by a shooting contest. On a seed-selling trip, Jess and Josh meet the widow Hudspeth (Majorie Main) and her rapacious daughters. Jess trades his beautiful but slow horse for the widow’s ugly but fast horse--affecting the outcome of the weekly races. And Sam’s son Gard Jordan (Mark Richman) courts Mattie.
Then the war arrives. Gard leaves Mattie (Phyllis Love, movingly capturing the hopes and dreams and fears of a young girl). Josh makes his choice. And, ironically, Eliza comes close to betraying her beliefs when she defends her pet goose, Samantha, while Jess manages to defend himself without betraying himself.
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| Directed by|
Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday, The Best Years of Our Lives