Left or Right? – Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948)

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Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! is a type of film that is rarely made anymore, a slice-of-life movie that that focuses on the everyday of a particular group of people and what might be going on in their lives. There were many such films when this film premiered; These Vines Have Tender Grapes and The Human Comedy are two good examples, though you can also classify them as dramas or even comedies depending on the subject matter. Though the film starred June Haver, a beautiful woman in her own right, later years would find her role being overshadowed by the burgeoning popularity of Marilyn Monroe who only had a cameo in the film. Haver, an established star and popular at the time, is rarely credited for the film to this day and when asked, most people could not tell you what the movie was about, simply that it starred Monroe, which in reality, it did not. scudda hoo scudda hay 35Lon McCallister would take the male lead and play the love interest of Haver’s character Rad. It is a simple film, one that is a fun and enjoyable and a movie that many can relate to in the general sense, though perhaps not the specifics.

Snug, as played by McCallister, lives on the farm with his dad, his stepmother and stepbrother. He loves the former and hates the latter and when circumstances take his father away from home, he takes up work with one of the neighbours, a man known as Roarer and father of Rad. scudda hoo scudda hay 20Through a series of events, Snug comes into possession of two mules and finds himself indebted to Roarer. With a little help from another neighbour named Tony and played by the great Walter Brennan, Snug manages to pay off his debt, get rid of his step-family and get the girl because in the end, getting the girl is the best part.

Written and directed by F. Hugh Herbert, he creates a very pleasant viewing experience with characters that are likeable, except for Snug’s brother Stretch as portrayed by Robert Karnes, and a premise that everyone can at one time or another associate with. Everybody at some point in their lives wants to make something of themselves and be beholden to no one. It is human nature to want to be proud of oneself and to have that feeling of accomplishment, the one that makes you feel good, deep down inside. Snug is the everyman, the person the viewer could be and wants to be. Haver is the girl next door, bubbly, friendly and beautiful, the one you have known your whole life and cannot imagine living without. scudda hoo scudda hay 36Herbert does a great job fleshing out their characters and McCallister and Haver do a fantastic job of bringing them to life.  As for Monroe, she was good for the few seconds that she was onscreen though nearly everyone took a backseat to Natalie Wood who played Haver’s little sister.

Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! is that picture-perfect slice of rural life, a way of living that everyone would love to have, but few ever achieve. It is also a genre of film that you rarely see any more except on television, and even then it is few and far between. There is something to be said for films like this, those that seem uneventful and easy to overlook and for the most part, Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! is one you might think twice about watching in favour of something else, yet it is a bright and cheerful movie, one that makes you feel good and you will love once it is finished.

4 out of 5
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