SPENCER’S MOUNTAIN REVIEWED
“Spencer’s Mountain” is the precursor to The Waltons. The original source novel was adapted to the screen by Delmer Daves, but Daves made it far more Western. He took the story out of Appalachia and played up the ruggedness of the environment. While the film family is poor, they aren’t poor in the way that American came to identify on TV. Henry Fonda does better with the material than his TV counterpart. But, it’s not like they were really playing the same character.
Fonda’s caring Clay Spencer loves everyone like the closest thing to Rural Jesus. Unfortunately, his eldest son has a problem. Ol’ Clayboy can’t go to college because the family doesn’t have the money. What follows are class and social struggles, while the family tries to raise the money for Clayboy. This adaptation is pretty good, but it makes the best case for getting tone right. After watching this film, I totally get why Hamner pursued a TV adaptation on CBS.
It’s not good enough to just adapt a book because you want to do it. Hell, most of the material is based on Hamner’s actual life. Although, I do like that this film has a proper conclusion. I could’ve done without out the last four seasons of the TV show.
- 2.35:1 1080p transfer
- DTS-HD 2.0 MONO