Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Home From the Hill


When I was looking up the film career of Luana Patten, who starred in some Disney films when she was a child, I found that she had a part in this movie. I had never seen it, which is odd, because the book it was based on was written by a relative of mine. William Humphrey, author of this story and The Ordways, among at least a dozen other books, was Dad’s cousin. That’s about all I know. I never met him. Actually, I don’t think I ever met a lot of my extended family. Granddaddy Varley had 15 or 16 siblings (I’m not kidding!), I’m not sure which, and I can’t think of a single name. I guess we weren’t a close bunch. Anyway, I had a LaserDisc copy which I’d never gotten around to seeing, so I decided now was the time.

This movie was quite a big production. It’s two and a half hours long, in ultra-widescreen, so much so that when letterboxed on our widescreen TV, there was a lot of space above and below it. I don’t think it was a reserved seat roadshow, which were popular at the time, but it was a major release. It suffers some from old age, old movie-making techniques and acting styles—Luana Patten is, sadly, not a very good actress—but George Peppard is very good, and Robert Mitchum is always worth watching, in my opinion. George Hamilton was 21 and playing 17; he scowled a lot. But the strength here is the story, which is powerful. I recommend it to classic movie fans.