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Parrish - “Parrish” Directed by Delmer Daves


									“Parrish” Directed by Delmer Daves
Troy Donahue-Parrish McLean
Claudette Colbert- Ellen McLean
Karl Malden- Judd Raike
Dean Jagger- Sala Post
Connie Stevens- Lucy
Diane McBain- Alison Post
Sharon Hugueny- Paige Raike

Based on the novel by Mildred Savage, “Parrish” takes place in the late 1950s in a
Connecticut valley. Parrish (Donahue) and his mother (Colbert) go to live on Sala Post’s
(Jagger) tobacco farm so Ellen can be a maid for Post’s daughter (McBain). Parrish
works on the farm and learns about cultivating and harvesting tobacco. The main plot of
the story is the rivalry between the two main tobacco farms in the valley: Post’s and
Raike’s. Sala is a kind and hardworking man, respected by his workers, while Judd is
cruel and ruthless in making sure that his is the only tobacco farm in the valley. A sub-
plot is Parrish’s relationships with three women: field hand Lucy, Post’s daughter Alison,
and Raike’s daughter Paige. Overall, “Parrish” is a coming of age story about a young
man who is able to learn and make a life for himself farming tobacco.

I couldn’t find many professional criticisms of “Parrish”. One from Movieline Magazine
by reviewer Kevin Hennessey: “Unintentionally hilarious hothouse teen soap opera”.
This critic thought that the casting was badly done in Troy Donahue and the three love
interests, and that the film ruined the careers of Malden and Colbert.
Most non- professional reviewers (from imdb) enjoyed the “soap” factor of the film, and
admitted that you couldn’t take the romance part of it that seriously. Most didn’t remark
on the younger cast member’s acting and thought that the really great characters were
those played by Jagger and Malden. Also, many praised the score and the beauty of
where it was filmed, but overall, reviewers were not concerned with the aspects of the
film that involved the actual focus on tobacco farming and the rivalry between the farms,
which I found the most interesting.

Historical Accuracy:
Since this film took place in the 1950s, it isn’t very historical…but the subject matter is.
The film deals with the cultivation of tobacco, which was a very popular plant to cultivate
in the colonial times. So I am grading this film, not exactly on historical accuracy, but on
the accuracy with which the tobacco farming was portrayed. At first I was surprised to
see that “Parrish” takes place in Connecticut because I didn’t think tobacco was farmed
that far north, but actually Connecticut is where the finest wrapper leaves (for cigars) are
harvested, and this is addressed in the film. Also, the scenes of actually planting,
replanting because of various problems, harvesting, hanging in the sheds to dry, etc. was
exactly the way the cultivation was described in the research I did. I really enjoyed seeing
the entire season acted out, from seed to harvesting. This portrayal was very accurate, so I
gave the film an A for historical value.

I mostly enjoyed the storyline about the rival farms and the contrast between the two
characters of Raike and Post. I also liked the coming of age tone of the film, even though
it was not acted that amazingly by Donahue. The part I didn’t like was all the romance,
that indeed made it feel like a silly soap opera at times. Overall, I liked this movie a lot
and gave it a B+ for entertainment value.

Review by Dana Peebles

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