Home from the Hill (1960)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama  |   Release Date - Mar 3, 1960 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 150 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

At first glance, Home from the Hill seems to be something of a Giant-wannabe, a "big" Texas-flavored epic, but as the film progresses, it's clear that director Vincente Minnelli is more interested in the relationships at the heart of the story. Minnelli's sensitive direction keeps the film on an even keel, preventing it from giving in to its more melodramatic impulses (until the end, at least). He and cinematographer Milton Krasner shoot Home with a loving attention to detail, and there's a rich lushness to the picture's visuals -- its compositions, angles, and juxtaposition of colors -- that is quite enticing. If Home's screenplay is a trifle overripe (and overlong), it does provide the opportunity for some fine performances. Robert Mitchum uses his quiet strength and understatement to good advantage, creating a character that is more complicated -- and appealing -- than he seems on the surface. George Hamilton is good as the legitimate son, and Eleanor Parker does well with a part that is not as fleshed out as it might be, but the real acting honors go to George Peppard, whose Rafe is a small masterpiece. Peppard's performance is all nuance, saying a great deal with a half smirk or a sidelong glance, all of which is buoyed up by the sheer likeableness that Peppard imparts. Home is not a great film, but it has a number of moments (the revelation scene between Hamilton and Peppard, the boar hunt) and performances that are exceptional.