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Rachel And The Stranger
USA 1948
Directed by Norman Foster
Running time 79 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


Rachel And The Stranger is a lightweight but enjoyable, almost Disney-like, Western about a pioneer farmer (William Holden) who buys a bondwoman (Loretta Young looking as unglamorous as possible) to replace his deceased wife but has to face a challenge from his wandrin' buddy (Robert Mitchum) for her charms and stave off an Injun attack in the process. 

The day-to-day life of the new settlers is treated with a rosy hue and the unhurriedly pace of the film is quite charming although it is made particularly watchable by the trio of Hollywood stars effortlessly playing their backwoods characters (Mitchum and Young also sing) from what is an equally smoothly-written script by an uncredited Waldo Salt from a novel, Rachel, by Howard Fast.

FYI: The status of bondwoman or “bondslave”, as Rachel is referred to appears to be a historically factual legal title held over a debtor who must use their labour to pay off a debt. In Rachel’s case it was to repay the debt of her deceased father.

The film also has been released in a 93 min and a computer-colourised version, the latter being very gaudy but more appropriate to the postcard-pretty settings and Young's flaming red locks.


 

 

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