Southerner, The

45. THE SOUTHERNER (1945-USA). Directed and written by JEAN RENOIR. With ZACHARY SCOTT, BETTY FIELD, BEULAH BONDI, J. CARROL NAISH. From the brilliant director Of “Grand Illusion” and ÒThe Rules Of the Game”: an American film Of extraordinary sensitivity and power. This is a warm, poignant drama Of a poor Southern sharecropper and his family, who are determined to succeed on an abandoned farm, despite their lack Of funds, a ramshackle house, unyielding land, impossible weather, and hostile neighbors. Renoir lovingly observes his characters as they progress bravely through each season, his camera posing them beautifully against sky and horizon lo convey their heroism and their ultimate mastery Of the environment. After managing to survive a bitterly cold winter and the near-death Of their son, they celebrate the blooming Of a full cotton crop in the springÑonly to see almost everything washed away by torrential floods. Their decision to stick it out and start over is a gloriously moving climax to this inspiring celebration Of the human spirit. Of Renoir’s five Hollywood films, this is unquestionably the finest. In its subject and emotional effect, it recalls “The Grapes Of Wrath.” In fact, although relatively unknown, it stands as one Of the masterworks Of the American cinema. 92 minutes Drama