Of Human Hearts


Drama / Western

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

James Stewart Photo
James Stewart as Jason Wilkins
Gene Lockhart Photo
Gene Lockhart as Quid
Sterling Holloway Photo
Sterling Holloway as Chauncey Ames
John Carradine Photo
John Carradine as President Lincoln
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
950.03 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 43 min
P/S 10 / 19
1.72 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 43 min
P/S 10 / 41

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by utgard147 / 10

"We can't all do what's right."

Jason Wilkins (James Stewart) grows up poor and resentful towards his minister father Ethan (Walter Huston). Ethan is a good man but stern and rigid in his beliefs. Ethan's self-sacrificing wife Mary (Beulah Bondi) tries to balance his hardness by being as kind and gentle to their son as she can. When Jason is older he leaves home to go study to become a doctor. He's supported through this by money his parents send him from things they sell. After Ethan's father dies, Jason begins to neglect his mother more, writing home less and less except to ask for money. Eventually he stops writing altogether.

This is an interesting one. I expected after reading some of the lukewarm reviews that it would be a stinker but I actually liked it. It's flawed, for sure, but it's also unique. There is a somewhat muddled message I suppose. The first half of the movie, where Jason is a child (excellently played by Gene Reynolds) creates a sympathetic portrait of him and an unsympathetic one of his father. But after Jason has grown up, he's a selfish ingrate who needs to be slapped around. His father, while still a hard-ass, is shown to have a kinder side and a genuine concern for his fellow man. The two halves do not necessarily have to be out of sync with one another. It's perfectly reasonable to assume that Jason's harsh upbringing has led him to being bitter and selfish. The problem is that the film doesn't seem to take this point of view. Once Jason is an adult, the focus is on his faults only and there's never a hint that his father was ever wrong at all. Add to that the shameful treatment of his saintly mother and Jason becomes downright villainous.

Still, it's an interesting drama with a homespun folksy charm and healthy doses of humor sprinkled throughout. The leads are all good. Guy Kibbee, Charles Coburn, Gene Lockhart, Charley Grapewin, and Sterling Holloway are among the wonderful character actors who brighten things up. Adorable Ann Rutherford is always nice to see, even though she gets little to do here but look pretty. The most famous scene from the movie is where Abraham Lincoln (John Carradine) lays the verbal smack down on Jason. This scene is mocked by many but I loved it. Was it hokey? Sure, but it was also fun and added a nice twist to the movie's climax. A better movie than I think its given credit for being. Stewart and Huston fans should enjoy it.

Reviewed by vincentlynch-moonoi8 / 10

Gloriously old-fashioned and sentimental

This is a gloriously old-fashioned and sentimental film. The type that went out of style right around the time of World War II, when the country quickly grew up. But this film gives one quite a good idea of what rural life may have been like in pre-Civil War era America.

To me, the real star of this film is one of the greatest female character actresses of all time -- Beulah Bondi. Here she plays a minister's wife who endures poverty and hardship while living in a dinkwater town along the Ohio River.

Her son is brilliantly played as a boy by Gene Reynolds, and as an adult by Jimmy Stewart.

Another "star" of this film would have to be the horse Pilgrim. What a beautiful animal, and so key to the plot.

Walter Huston is excellent as the minister/father, who is all too strict with his young son to be as likable as he typically is in most of his film roles.

Another welcome feature of this film is rather stunning scenery, with outdoor scenes actually filmed outdoors and in beautiful settings.

The pivotal point in the film comes when the father beats the son one more time, even though he is -- at that point -- a young adult. This leads the son to leave home, much to his mother's distress, and head for medical school. While it's easy to criticize the son for his selfishness in not realizing his mother's sacrifices, a 21st century interpretation of the story would be more sympathetic toward the son whose mother did nothing to stop the physical abuse by the father. Clearly, mores have changed a great deal since this film was made in 1938. However, once he graduates from medical school, his selfishness toward his now widowed mother becomes more unforgivable.

Then comes the Civil War, and his mother even sells Pilgrim to pay for the son's uniform as he becomes a surgeon. This leads to the climactic and famous scene where the son is called to Washington to meet President Lincoln who severely chides him for neglecting his mother. Corny? For sure. But a dramatic tear jerker for anyone with a heart.

And, there are a number of supporting roles here that are well done -- Charles Coburn (not his usual crusty self),Guy Kibbee, John Carradine (as Lincoln),and others.

Reviewed by bkoganbing9 / 10

Mom's Unconditional Love

Though both Walter Huston and James Stewart were billed above her, Of Human Hearts is really about Beulah Bondi and what she does for her small family. It's probably her best performance on screen.

The setting is ante-bellum Ohio and the Wilkins family has just arrived. Walter Huston is to be the new minister for the town. It's a poor place he's been sent and the family lives on hand me downs, castaways, and the charity of the community.

In the pious tradition of his profession Walter Huston accepts this as part of the price for his calling to the ministry. Son Gene Reynolds who grows up to be James Stewart cannot accept this. He's a bright kid and gravitates towards Charles Coburn, the town doctor. His mind turns towards medicine and he makes up his mind to become a doctor.

That puts him in conflict with Huston and poor Beulah is caught in the middle between them.

Walter Huston played three preachers on screen, the uptight Reverend Davidson in Rain, the satirical Sin Killer Jubal Crabby in Duel in the Sun and Reverend Ethan Wilkins here. Of the three of them, Ethan Wilkins is the best man and the best performance.

The conflict is generational and what gets the audience involved is that they can absolutely see both points of view. Huston is not some bible thumping clown, he feels his call very deeply and he's not stupid. One of my favorite scenes is Huston outsmarting Guy Kibbee and Charley Grapewin when try to sell him a defective horse.

James Stewart gives voice and interpretation to every young man who wants to go out in the world see something more and accomplish more than he would in staying in a backwater town. Very similar to his performance in It's A Wonderful Life. Come to think of it, Beulah Bondi was his mother there too.

Beulah is the star. In How Green Was My Valley the adult Hugh Morgan says that while Dad was the head of the house, Mother was it's heart. It could be applied here even better. After Huston dies, Bondi sacrifices everything and lives as a pauper for her son to go to medical school and become a doctor. Stewart graduates, but the Civil War begins and he enlists.

Bondi doesn't hear from him for almost three years and she writes to President Lincoln to find out about him. For what happens and how Lincoln deals with the situation you'll have to see the film. But her performance will tug at you if you are made of stone.

John Carradine plays a very good Lincoln. He certainly has the lean,tall body, angular features, and deep voice to be a convincing one. I'm surprised he was never again cast as Lincoln.

The other performance of note I would single out is Guy Kibbee. He's the town Babbitt, a part he was certainly familiar with. It's a pleasure to see how Huston deals with him.

A really fine and poignant tale that I can't recommend too highly.

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