A few words about…™ – Friendly Persuasion — Blu-ray

Friendly Persuasion Screenshot for Review
Isn’t it interesting that Gary Cooper, within a spread of fifteen years, played three roles in which either his religion, his beliefs or the religion of others affected his character’s approach to violence.

In the 1956 Friendly Persuasion, based upon the novel by Jessamyn West, and directed by William Wyler, his pacifist background as a Quaker affects the way in which he relates to the Civil War.

I don’t recall ever seeing the film look this good. It wasn’t a studio production. It was made by Allied Artists, a production entity with a decidedly low-budget history.

Formed in the early 1930s, and making mostly B productions, it merged with Republic Pictures, home of the TruColor western in 1935. Shortly thereafter, it again went independent.

Allied Artist was formed as a part of that entity in 1947, as an arm that would create high budget films. In the late 40s and into the 50s, along with Monogram, it was the home of the Bowery Boys and Bomba, the Jungle Boy – all B fare. The studio produced films in quantity, but seldom quality.

If you’re seeking something interesting, you’ll have to wait until 1953 for it’s foray into 3-D with The Maze, the 1955 Big Combo, a little sci-fi production in 1956 entitled The Invasion of the Body Snatchers —

And then strangely, Friendly Persuasion in 1956 – a film SO not Allied Artists that it sticks out like the veritable sore thumb.

Move on to 1957, and another Gary Cooper film, Love in the Afternoon, which again, just does’t fit the profile, which was more in line with the 1960 Sex Kittens go to College.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that things changed.

But here we are in 1956, with a film directed by William Wyler, starring Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire, a score from Dimitri Tiomkin. Interestingly, it was photographed by Ellsworth Fredricks, who also shot that little sci-fi film in during the same period.

I’ve been waiting aeons for this film to arrive in good condition, and it’s finally here. A few minor quibbles, but generally color, densities, grain, all seems to be the correct place.

A wonderful film that deserves both your support as well as your time.

Anthony Perkins first major role.

Image – 8.5

Audio – 9 (DTS-HD MA 2.0 Monaural)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors – Yes

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

Worth your attention – 10

Slipcover rating – n/a

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

Robert has been known in the film industry for his unmatched skill and passion in film preservation. Growing up around photography, his first home theater experience began at age ten with 16mm. Years later he was running 35 and 70mm at home.

His restoration projects have breathed new life into classic films like Lawrence of Arabia, Vertigo, My Fair Lady, Spartacus, and The Godfather series. Beyond his restoration work, he has also shared his expertise through publications, contributing to the academic discourse on film restoration. The Academy Film Archive houses the Robert A. Harris Collection, a testament to his significant contributions to film preservation.

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bujaki

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Wyler: 1957 Palme d'Or winner at Cannes for Friendly Persuasion.
Saw this several times upon release because it was love at first sight (Samantha). After watching it in color, I even saw a 35mm black & white print! Obviously, a cost-saving measure.
A film to treasure.
 

Robert Harris

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Wyler: 1957 Palme d'Or winner at Cannes for Friendly Persuasion.
Saw this several times upon release because it was love at first sight (Samantha). After watching it in color, I even saw a 35mm black & white print! Obviously, a cost-saving measure.
A film to treasure.
Black and whites were (in many cases) used for re-issues. In the case of Technicolor, derived from the magenta layer.
 

bujaki

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Black and whites were (in many cases) used for re-issues. In the case of Technicolor, derived from the magenta layer.
Another film that I recall had the same treatment was Litvak's The Journey. First seen in 35mm color and then 35mm B&W.
And yes, both B&W instances were for reissues.
And I, a child, thought I was going mad...
 

JSLasher

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Aaron Copland was approached to score this film, but after the butchering of his score for “The Heiress”, another Wyler film, he turned it down.
 

haineshisway

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I watched it last night. I first saw Friendly Persuasion on Saturday, February 22, 1957, at my beloved Stadium Theater. The week prior to that, I’d seen Giant there. I was already quite enamored of Pat Boone singing the song Thee I Love from the movie. Going in, I had no idea what the movie was about, but you find out rather quickly that it’s about a family of Quakers. I didn’t know what a Quaker was other than oats. But we get the information we need within the first ten minutes.. I recall really enjoying the movie a lot. Gary Cooper was a favorite actor, and I also loved the entire cast, including Dorothy McGuire, Anthony Perkins, Phyllis Love, and since I’d seen several Ma and Pa Kettle movies, Marjorie Main. And of course, I empathized with the child actor who played the youngest son, Richard Eyer. He had a prolific career as a child actor and just three months after seeing Friendly Persuasion I saw him in an episode of the TV show Panic, which I was a fan of. And a year later, he’d have a leading role in what would become one of my favorite childhood movies, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, in which he played a genie. I think that was the only time I saw it. I do remember annoying my mother and brother by saying thee, thou, and thy within every sentence I uttered. I bought the DVD when it came out, but the transfer quality was not too good, and I couldn’t get through it. But now we have this splendid new Blu-ray and it’s a complete winner, transfer-wise, with great color and looking quite spiffy. It's a wonderful movie still. The performances are stellar, and the Dimitri Tiomkin score works nicely and the title tune is Tiomkin at his best. As I watched, I remembered each scene as it played out. One of the smartest and best things the film does begins right at the beginning is that there's a lot, and I mean a LOT of comedy. You laugh, you learn to empathize with the family even if the Quaker beliefs are foreign to you – in other words, you CARE. So, by the time you get to the crux of everything, the Civil War, there’s a real sense of dread as you go into the film’s final third. Will they fight back, or will they be passive? It’s a real dilemma of faith verses reality and it’s all handled brilliantly by director William Wyler. Thee might like it and so might thou, and it comes highly recommended by the likes of me.
 

Dave Blair

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In 1958 or so my Dad took took me to the Drive in in 1958 or so to see this. He loved it and passed that appreciation on to me. I had given up hope of seeing a Blu-ray as I am 76 and the clock is running out! I saw it again in the early 70's on 16mm (Color) from a borrowed print. That was a real treat. Awaiting my copy.
 

Dick

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Between Mr. Harris's and Mr. Kimmel's reviews, there is everything one needs to know about the FRIENDLY PERSUASION Blu-ray. Like Bruce, I saw this when it was first released, and I was only 7. At that young age, I suppose I can be forgiven for remembering little except Richard Eyer and the pet goose that chases him around the yard all the time. I have seen the film several times since, and it never looked good on video. Thanks to the two of you, I am excited to see this again, in what I am convinced will be the best presentation in memory, probably including my first viewing at the Bedford Playhouse in 1957.
 

Robert Harris

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Between Mr. Harris's and Mr. Kimmel's reviews, there is everything one needs to know about the FRIENDLY PERSUASION Blu-ray. Like Bruce, I saw this when it was first released, and I was only 7. At that young age, I suppose I can be forgiven for remembering little except Richard Eyer and the pet goose that chases him around the yard all the time. I have seen the film several times since, and it never looked good on video. Thanks to the two of you, I am excited to see this again, in what I am convinced will be the best presentation in memory, probably including my first viewing at the Bedford Playhouse in 1957.
Possibly we can screen the new 4k for you.
 

JPCinema

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I first time I saw FRIENDLY PERSUASION I was young and I hated Dorothy McGuire's character so much that I never watched the film again. I remember seeing SUSAN SLADE and once again McGuire played that type of character. Since then I have come to appreciate McGuire's other performances. I bought the Blu Ray of FP excited to see it restored and decades later. An hour or so I had to turn it off and I won't continue. I can not handle McGuire's character.
 

Robert Crawford

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I first time I saw FRIENDLY PERSUASION I was young and I hated Dorothy McGuire's character so much that I never watched the film again. I remember seeing SUSAN SLADE and once again McGuire played that type of character. Since then I have come to appreciate McGuire's other performances. I bought the Blu Ray of FP excited to see it restored and decades later. An hour or so I had to turn it off and I won't continue. I can not handle McGuire's character.
Interesting, perhaps you should try Old Yeller.:)
 
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