9 March 1999 | Varlaam
Hatfields and McCoys in bluegrass country
Tarnation, that Loretta Young is a mighty purty filly, and she darn near always wears a fetchin' ribbon, or sprig o' ivy, in her hair t' show off this here newfangled Technicolor process, y'all. But warn't thar a War Between the States? No'm. Tha's why ya still got yer two kinds o' nigra. First, thar's yer field nigra -- when he's not happy 'n' singin' like a chil', he's lazy 'n' stealin'. Then thar's yer house nigras -- a right reg'lar passel o' Uncle Toms 'n' Aunt Jemimas.
Surely this is not intended to represent the reality of Kentucky in 1938? Which century is this supposed to be? Blacks in the '30's had good reason to be concerned about how they were portrayed in Hollywood films. Then there's the whole silliness of the film's basic premise -- feudin', mansion-dwelling, horse-breeding aristocrats. And I certainly don't want to hear "My Old Kentucky Home" again any time soon.
In spite of everything, this corn pone still managed to make for an entertaining horseracing yarn however. Yes'm, it did.
Moroni Olsen plays his usual stalwart patriarch, and Walter Brennan is convincingly cussed 'n' ornery.
There is an unusual documentary sequence in mid-film showing and extolling the great racehorses of Kentucky, Man-O'-War included. And all in glorious early Technicolor.