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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Johnny Reb

The Proud Rebel (1958) on IMDb

Plot Overview

George Washington portraitLincoln's faceA man out of place meets a woman out of time. Erst­while Georgia land­owner John Chandler (Alan Ladd,) now a widower, quits any rebuilding efforts in the post Civil War South to head north with his ten-year-old mute son David (David Ladd.) They're looking for a doctor to cure the lad's hysterical voice paralysis. In Aberdeen, Illinois he meets mis­ad­ven­ture from hostile Yankees and is given a $30 fine or 30 days in jail. He can't afford the fine.

plowingMeanwhile, arriving on the scene is a “handsome” local woman Linnett Moore (Olivia de Havilland) who has put off getting “respectably married” until the right man comes along. Instead the Civil War produced a glut of widows to compete for the few remaining men, and Linnett does need a man to help run her 200 acre barley ranch now that her brother and father are dead. Having compassion on the boy attached to his about-to-be-jailed father, she pays Chandler's fine in exchange for his working on her ranch. It's a workable arrangement.

applying makeupA little personal attention and the handsome woman waxes beautiful. When her sheep­herding neighbors one-armed Burleigh (Dean Jagger) and his sons Jeb and Tom (Tom Pittman & Harry Dean Stanton) perceive that Chandler isn't leaving any­time soon (“I'd like to stay,”) their hopes of expanding their pasture land over to Linnett's failing farm plummet. They set out to ambush the inter­loper when he comes a calling to negotiate about a dog.


The theme is a classic portrayal of, (Psalm 68:6) “God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” The good guys can be classed according to, (Micah 6:8) “what the LORD doth require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” Chandler did justly in giving the lady her money's worth working off his debt and then some. Linnett mercifully cared for the boy. Their Quaker doctor Enos Davis (Cecil Kellaway) walked humbly with his God. The comeuppance that came down on the trouble-making neighbors can be seen in, (Hosea 14:9) “the ways of the LORD [that] are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the trans­gressors shall fall therein.”

This movie being set in patriotic times, we should make allowance for our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, here shown by their limits. God instituted via Noah capital punishment, (Gen. 9:6) “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” When the bad guys started shooting at Chandler, he had the right to shoot back, at least in this western he did. As for liberty and the but recently freed Negro slaves, writer Bodie Hodge (134) quotes “Bible Questions and Answers,” The Golden Age (July 24, 1929): p. 702.

Question: Is there anything in the Bible that reveals the origin of the Negro?

Answer: It is generally believed that the curse which Noah pronounced upon Canaan was the origin of the Black race. Certain it is that when Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren,” he pictured the future of the Colored race.

Chandler a southerner from the Bible Belt would have been familiar with this teaching, and he probably believed it him­self. It stems from the days of Noah whose father Lamech had (Gen. 5:29) “called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.” After the flood one day, Noah took some leisure time, stripped down, and got drunk in his tent where he was observed by his youngest son Ham who then complained to his two brothers (Gen. 9:20-23). He was perturbed that his father had gotten naked with­out setting about to procreate per God's command. (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth over­spread.” But Noah sired no more children after the flood. Ham also didn't like Noah taking a recess from rebuilding the wrecked world. Noah's response was along the lines of, “Oy vey! You want we should have children and work hard? Okay, your descendants (Canaan) can be slaves to your brothers. Oy vey!” (Gen. 9:24-27). For the record Cush was the eldest son of Ham (Gen. 10:6), settling in Africa. Cush is Hebrew for black.

In this movie, however, white Chandler gets railroaded into involuntary servitude, and when he visits his neighbors who were responsible, he finds the father drinking a jug of hooch and his two sons lazing shirt­less in the store­room. How­ever much fault the Yanks may view his beliefs about slaves, at least he walked a mile in their shoes. The woman embodied mercy as did some southerners who set their slaves free. And the Quakers were the first abolitionists. They were also pacifists who wouldn't have fought a bloody war over it (“Can't condone fighting.”)

As for happiness, it's harder to pursue if one can't talk about it, and the doc they were referred to had only a 50% cure rate for mutes. Some of their debili­tating traumas were likely due to so-called acts of God, which we live with despite our claimed God-given inalienable right to pursue happiness. At any rate God did confound our language back at the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:5-9) so we'd have a harder time communi­cating our goals to one another.

Production Values

” (1958) was directed by Michael Curtiz. Its screenplay was adapted by Lillie Hayward & Joseph Petracca from the story, “Journal of Linnett Moore” by James Edward Grant. It stars Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, and Dean Jagger. We saw great acting by de Havilland, Ladd, and Ladd's real life son David. Jagger made a believable villain playing against type. The dog was smarter than Lassie. Cecil Kellaway playing a Quaker doctor was a credit to the faith.

The 1958 Certificate was Approved in the United States and the movie was rated TVPG. It was filmed in Kanab, Utah, USA giving it a more western feel than Illinois where it was officially set. It has a run­time of 103 minutes. The camera work was excellent, and the music score by Jerome Moross was powerful.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I found the human interest touching and the western action engrossing. It was an altogether good movie for quiet, home viewing. The dog added welcome relief. This one is a good bet to please diverse audiences.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for Groups. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.