The Shepherd of the Hills. 1941. USA. Directed by Henry Hathaway. 98 min.
Screenplay by Grover Jones, Stuart Anthony, based on the novel by Harold Bell Wright. With John Wayne, Betty Field, Harry Carey, Beulah Bondi, Ward Bond. John Wayne is the tormented Ozark Mountains moonshiner who seeks to avenge the death of his abandoned mother. Harry Carey is the Christ-like stranger who mysteriously enters his life, bringing miracles to Moaning Meadow, and Betty Field is the beautiful, faithful woman who tries to ground him. The Shepherd of the Hills marked the first of Wayne’s six collaborations with Henry Hathaway, a versatile filmmaker who used Technicolor in evocative ways in The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, The Black Rose, and Niagara (all shown in this exhibition). Harold Bell Wright’s bestselling melodrama is told in a roughhewn Appalachian vernacular—John Ford regulars Ward Bond and John Qualen provide the regional twang—which finds its visual counterpart in the warm, earthy tones of Charles Lang, Jr. and W. Howard Greene’s location cinematography. 35mm print from UCLA Film & Television Archive; courtesy NBC Universal.