Friendly Persuasion (1956) QuikReview

friendly-persuasion-1956Friendly Persuasion is a charming movie with a wonderful message about family, sticking to your beliefs, and the circumstances in which it might be necessary to modify them slightly. Apparently Ronald Reagan showed it to Mikhail Gorbachev, presumably to distract from the nukes. It is, as you will notice, directed by William Wyler, who made a lot of really good movies back in the day.

Gary Cooper is, well, Gary Cooper except he says “thee” a lot, even when grammatically incorrect. He and his family–wife, young adult son (Norman Bates? No, that can’t be right.), younger adult daughter, and kid boy–are Quakers, and what’s more, his wife Eliza (Dorothy McGuire) is an elder in their church. As such, music, Coop’s impromptu coach races with his best friend-slash-bitter rival (Robert Middleton), dancing and consorting with young men, and any kind of fisticuffs or combative sport play, are expressly forbidden.

Naturally enough, before the end of the movie, Coop has bought a secret piano, his trotter has made old Sam Jordan’s mare eat dust, young Mattie has made out with young Gard Jordan, Eliza has stricken a man with a broom in anger, and…also…

Young Anthony Perkins has gone to fight in the Civil War.

This is far from the best or most original of movies examining the concept that sometimes pacifism won’t work because sometimes the other people won’t let it, but I feel justified in saying it’s the most charming and perhaps the most wholesome.

Rated: She’s pure pet!