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Stars in My Crown – 1950 Tourneur
- Joel McCrea is rock solid Jimmy Stewart stand-in and the supporting cast here is loaded with steady actors—but it is the great Jacques Tourneur’s direction, particularly early on in the film, that makes it more than just a good story
- Tourneur has a slow reverse crane shot of the church in the opening shot—he pauses on a very nice black and white photograph of the church as the choir sings the title song
- There is a nostalgic voice-over of a small town- Walesburg and the story of Joel McCrea’s preacher
- The camera movement again makes it more than run of the mill—as McCrea gets off the steamer—the camera pulls up and elevates as he walks through town. Tourneur is framing and reframing four to five times—I think it is because we’re still using the voice-over at the beginning and the camera is untethered by catching dialogue.
- McCrea is folksy, likeable, and at 6 foot 2 ½, he’s an admirable lead here. Dean Stockwell here at 14 years old was already a Hollywood veteran, Arthur Hunnicutt and Alan Hale are as likeable as it gets, and the evil Ed Begley is perfectly cast as well.
- The narrative is strong- we have the typhoid story and the KKK story trying to boot Juano Hernandez’s Uncle Famous character from his property
- At 57 minutes- a standout shot in the doorway—McCrea has his left arm on the rocking chair through the doorway.
- Not quite a strong but still worthy of praise a shot of Tourneur’s camera between the Klansman for McCrea’s big speech
- Ends like the film began with the camera pulling back to reveal the impressive church
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1950