22 April 2015 | bkoganbing
Mondier family values
Smoke In The Wind a film located in the post Civil War Ozark Mountains in Arkansas is known as the last film of Walter Brennan. Brennan died before it was released. I suspect it played mostly in red state areas. When I was doing my weekend warrior thing and did summer camp in the south I was always interested in the number of films like this played there and would never be seen in a place like New York City.
It concerns the Mondier family who went with Union when most of their neighbors were Confederates. Now John Russell is bringing back his two boys John Ashley and Billy Hughes, but they face trouble from the neighbors who look on them as scalawags, the term used for those who stayed loyal to the USA. Of course the Ozarks were not an area of plantations so these people were not slaveholders. Still one did not turn against one's state. Myron Healey is leading a band of Confederates who are mortal enemies of the Mondiers.
Brennan plays the philosophical old storekeeper, a role hearkening back to his Oscar nominated performance in Sergeant York. I'm sure Brennan must have longed to be doing scenes with old friend Gary Cooper. Most of the cast is made up of locals and their performances aren't even at high school level. The contrast just makes the Hollywood folks look even better, even in a bad film.
I will say the location cinematography of the Ozarks is nice. But it can't make up for the rest of the film.