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|As the Earth Turns|
|Directed by||Alfred E. Green|
|Written by||Gladys Hasty Carroll |
|Starring||Jean Muir |
|Edited by||Herbert I. Leeds|
|Music by||Heinz Roemheld|
|Distributed by||Warner Brothers|
|February 14, 1934|
As the Earth Turns is a 1934 American pre-Code drama film directed by Alfred E. Green and starring Jean Muir and Donald Woods, based on a Pulitzer Prize-nominated best-selling novel by Gladys Hasty Carroll.
The episodic plot, involving three farm families and marked by the seasons within a little over one year, takes place in rural southern Maine. The main character, Jen Shaw (Jean Muir), is a young woman who has primary responsibility for her family while her father Mark (David Landau) deals with the hardships of farming. Despite such hardships and the complaints of her step-sister Margaret (Emily Lowry) and step-mother Cora (Clara Blandick), who dream of returning to city life, Jen seems largely satisfied with her life. In contrast, Mill, the wife of Jen's unambitious uncle George (Arthur Hohl), is increasingly embittered by her unhappy marriage.
In the winter, a Polish immigrant family, the Jankowskis, arrive to take possession of a nearby farm, making a home in the barn. Stan (Donald Woods), the family's eldest son, has given up a promising future as a musician to live in the country. When the Jankowskis have a chance to move back to a city, Stan stays behind to continue farming. He and Jen are attracted to each other, but she is reluctant to accept love and winds up rejecting his offer of marriage.
After a fire destroys Stan's barn, he returns to the city to make a living as a musician and agrees to take Margaret with him. Resigned to a life of loneliness, Jan continues to care for her family, but at last Stan returns and the two embrace.
- Jean Muir as Jen
- Donald Woods as Stan
- Russell Hardie as Ed
- Emily Lowry as Margaret
- Arthur Hohl as George
- Dorothy Peterson as Mil
- David Landau as Mark
- Clara Blandick as Cora
- William Janney as Ollie
- Dorothy Appleby as Doris
- Sarah Padden as Mrs. Janowski
- Egon Brecker as Mr. Janowski
- David Durand as Manuel
- Wally Albright as John
- Georgie Billings as Junior
The film was considered a box office disappointment for Warner Bros, though it did receive some positive reviews. In Vanity Fair, Helen Brown Norden commented, "There is a certain serious fidelity about the picture which makes it ring true. For almost the first time, you see a group of actors pretending to be farmers, and they actually manage to make it seem credible. You feel they know how to pitch hay and how to churn butter. Perhaps that should count for something."
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