Synopsis by Hal Erickson
N. Richard Nash's play The Rainmaker has always attracted the most flamboyant of performers, and this 1956 film version is no exception. Burt Lancaster all but bursts from the screen with his arm-waving portrayal of a confidence artist who works the drought-ridden Southwest, promising to bring rain for a flat fee of a hundred bucks. During his latest campaign, Lancaster takes up residence in the home of farmer Cameron Prud'homme (repeating his Broadway role) and his three offspring: rambunctious Earl Holliman, suspicious Lloyd Bridges, and ugly-duckling Katharine Hepburn. In a scene which has since become a standard in high school acting classes, Lancaster works his carnival-huckster charm on Hepburn, convincing her that she's the most gorgeous creature on earth. Armed with new self-confidence, Hepburn stops her tomboyish behavior and becomes a delectable object of affection for local suitor Wendell Corey. After performing this "miracle," Lancaster's last-act ability to conjure up a cloudburst seems almost anticlimactic. The probing lens of the movie camera does little to hide the fact that virtually everyone in the film is too old for their roles, but The Rainmaker makes up its shortcomings with sheer unbridled energy.
con/scam, small-town, weather, naivete, spinster, worldly, love, romance, wealth, late-bloomers, self-confidence