The Sea of Grass (1947)

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    • The Sea of Grass (1947)

      THE SEA OF GRASS

      DIRECTED BY ELIA KAZAN
      METRO-GOLDWYN- MAYER (MGM)

      spencer-tracy-katharine-hepburn-the-sea-of-grass-1947-CC75DH.jpg

      INFORMATION FROM IMDb

      Plot Summary
      This western begins with St. Louis resident Lutie Cameron (Katharine Hepburn) marrying New Mexico cattleman Col. James B. 'Jim' Brewton (Spencer Tracy) after a short courtship. When she arrives in "Salt Fork, NM" she finds that her new husband is considered by the locals to be a tyrant who uses force to keep homesteaders off the government owned land he uses for grazing his cattle--the so-called Sea of Grass. Lutie, has difficulty reconciling her husband's beliefs and passions with her own.
      Written by kzmckeown

      Cast
      Spencer Tracy ... Col. James B. 'Jim' Brewton
      Katharine Hepburn ... Lutie Cameron Brewton
      Robert Walker ... Brock Brewton
      Melvyn Douglas ... Brice Chamberlain
      Phyllis Thaxter ... Sara Beth Brewton
      Edgar Buchanan ... Jeff, Cook on Brewton Ranch
      Harry Carey ... Doc J. Reid
      Ruth Nelson ... Selina Hall, Sam Hall's Wife
      William 'Bill' Phillips ... Banty, Brewton Ranch Hand (as Wm. 'Bill' Phillips)
      Robert Armstrong ... Floyd McCurtin (Brewton's attorney)
      James Bell ... Sam Hall, Homesteader
      Robert Barrat ... Judge Seth White, Salt Fork
      Charles Trowbridge ... George Cameron
      Russell Hicks ... Major Dell Harney
      Trevor Bardette ... Andy Boggs, Homesteader
      Morris Ankrum ... A.J. Crane, Attorney
      Hank Worden ... Bill, Salt Fork Townsman (uncredited)
      and many more...

      Directed
      Elia Kazan

      Writing Credits
      Conrad Richter ... (novel)
      Marguerite Roberts
      Vincent Lawrence

      Produced
      Pandro S. Berman

      Music
      Herbert Stothart

      Cinematography
      Harry Stradling Sr.

      Trivia
      In his autobiography, Elia Kazan said of this film: "It's the only picture I've ever made that I'm ashamed of. Don't see it."

      Originally announced by MGM in 1939 to star Myrna Loy opposite Spencer Tracy.

      This film was very successful at the box office, earning MGM a profit of $742,000 ($8.1M in 2017) according to studio records. This was the most profitable of all the Tracy-Hepburn MGM films.

      Director Kazan was initially excited by the prospect of filming on location in the Great Plains, but to save money the producers decided that most of the film would be shot in the studio using rear-screen projections and MGM's vast stock of process footage.

      When Chamberlain is questioning Col. Brewton about how much land he controls, he asks if it's a million acres, or he's heard it's 100 square miles. There is quite a difference between the two. 1,000,000 acres equals 1,562.5 square miles, while 100 square miles is only 64,000 acres.

      Robert Walker makes his first appearance an hour and a half after the movie starts

      Crazy Credits
      Card at beginning: This story takes place for the most part against the background of the sea of grass - that vast grazing empire which once covered the western part of north America from the great plains to the rocky mountains, and beyond.

      Goofs
      Unknown

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, USA
      Plains of San Augustin, Magdalena, New Mexico, USA
      Wood Lake, Nebraska, USA
      Gallup, New Mexico, USA
      Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park - 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Rd., Agua Dulce, California, USA
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios - 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, California, USA (studio)
      Best Wishes
      Keith
      London- England

      The post was edited 11 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • The Sea of Grass (1947)

      The Sea of Grass is a 1947 Western drama film set in the American Southwest.
      It was directed by Elia Kazan and based on the 1936 novel of the same name by Conrad Richter.
      The film stars Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, and Melvyn Douglas.

      Kazan was reportedly displeased with the resulting film and discouraged people from seeing it.

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      In his autobiography, Kazan wrote that he had been excited at the prospect of filming The Sea of Grass, as he was looking forward to working on the Great Plains, "where the grass still grew from unbroken sod." However, the producers decided that the majority of the film would be shot against a process screen to use some of the existing "ten thousand feet" of 'sea of grass' stock footage, rather than sending the film crew on location. According to The Films of Katharine Hepburn, MGM had thousands of reels of footage of prairie. Kazan was extremely disappointed. He also did not like the costumes, which he did not get to see until late in the process. He thought the producers had approved clothes for Katharine Hepburn that in design and quantity did not fit the frontier environment, but changes were restricted due to production deadlines.

      Reception
      Although it received mostly tepid critical reviews, the movie was the most commercially successful of all the Hepburn-Tracy MGM films, making $3,150,000 in the US and Canada and $1,539,000 overseas.
      This resulted in a profit to MGM of $742,000.
      Kazan did not like his final product, and advised friends against seeing it

      The-sea-of-grass-1947.jpg

      Besides Katherine Hepburn
      a couple of Duke 'Pals' to look out for
      Edgar Buchanan, Harry Carey,, Charles Trowbridge
      Russell Hicks,Hank Worden


      User Review

      Lumbering Western Melodrama Slow On The Draw But Mostly On Target
      22 March 2012 | by oldblackandwhite (North Texas sticks)

      oldbw wrote:

      The Sea Of Grass is slow moving and talky, but not as bad as many have portrayed it. If I told you without cluing you in on the title I had a top-production 1947 MGM picture staring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, and Melvyn Douglas, you would be expecting a glossy white telephone movie with a love triangle and lots of high melodrama from the three stars. That's essentially what you get here, only replace the white telephones with elk antler hat racks, the swank park avenue apartments with rambling ranch houses, and the busy New York street scenes with a dusty, one-horse, Nineteenth Century New Mexico town. The Sea Of Grass is a soap opera dressed up as a Western. If that is what you are expecting, instead of a traditional shoot-'em-up, you may be much more pleased with it.


      The three stars deliver their usual stellar performances and three fine, textured character studies. Old, smoothie Douglas is particularly effective as a hard-edged attorney and later judge, cattle baron Tracy's stalwart opponent and Katherine's illicit lover, father of her second child. The large supporting cast shines, led by Edgar Buchanan and Harry Carry. Over rated Robert Walker is over-the-top as usual, but fun to watch. Production values are superb with terrific luminous, old nitrate black and white cinematography typical of the era, a rich Herbert Stodhart score, good, authentic costumes, great sets with some spectacular location scenery dovetailed in for long shots of Southwest grasslands and cliffs. Principally concentrating on relationships, the story moves along at a glacial pace, but the stars and an intelligent, if messy, script hold interest. Some of the dialog is a little preachy and overblown, but it is generally believable and satisfying. There is hardly any action until the last reels, and even then it is half-hearted and ultimately just peters out. The major subplot is the traditional Western theme of cattlemen versus homesteaders, but the eventual showdown comes early and is anti-climatic. Nevertheless, the movie is engrossing and enjoyable for the acting and the production values. It is refreshing to see a movie about the Old West that concentrates on decent real people and their real life problems instead of just dwelling on brawls between lowlifes who hang out in brothels and saloons.

      The Sea Of Grass is not bad, but not as good as it should have been with all it had going for it. Director Elia Kazan reportedly said he was ashamed of the picture, and he should have been. The overly slow pacing, lack of spark between Tracy and Hepburn, and other problems clearly resulted from his flabby direction. With three top stars at the peaks of their careers, an intriguing story, and a big budget, The Sea Of Grass should have been a much better picture. And it would have been if Raoul Walsh had directed it.
      Best Wishes
      Keith
      London- England

      The post was edited 11 times, last by ethanedwards ().