The Shepherd of the Hills Screen 3 articles

The Shepherd of the Hills

1941

The Shepherd of the Hills Poster
  • One gorgeous image will stay with me forever, that of Marc Lawrence's mentally handicapped character, Pete, crouched in a dark corner of a house, reaching out and grabbing floating specks of dust made glowing by sunlight beaming through the window. An inconsequential moment in terms of plot, it stands still and alone as a striking (almost Tarkovsky-like!) testament to the transience of filmed magic.

  • With her brazen, face-forward nature, rolled jeans and front-tucked sweater, tromping through puddles and over hills with considerable verve and rarely wearing shoes, [Betty] was probably thought a rural tomboy by 1941 audiences, but in 2015 she stands firm in the frame as a very modern young woman, already looking, moving, and behaving with the darting consciousness and moods of a playful Parisian heroine of the French New Wave, or a resilient and fiercely tender Williamsburg hipster.

  • Shepherd is a delicate, strange and mournful drama of the breakdown of an insular Ozark Mountain community, one trapped in a cycle of intergenerational violence. John Wayne stars alongside his childhood Western hero Harry Carey, and the film acts as a series of lessons from Carey to Wayne, on and off screen.