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Right after the Civil War, an ex-Union soldier sets out to become a schoolmaster in his small town, even though many locals still harbor a resentment against "Yankees". He goes up against the town bully, who both want the same girl, and his troubles multiply when a vicious band of nightriders set out to drive him out of town.Written by
Film Daily, Tuesday, May 7, 1935: Monograms "Hoosier Schoolmaster" will be broadcast tonight over a national CBS hook-up of 89 radio stations across the country. The broadcast is sponsored by CBS's "American School of the Air." See more »
The Civil War is over and a group of mustered-out veterans head over to Flat Rock to homestead. However, night riders, vigilantes, are murdering outsiders. While the veterans, headed by Gabby Hayes, camp outside town and try to figure out what happened, Norman Foster goes into town to get a job as the schoolmaster.
It's a very nice version from the novel by Edward Eggleston and director Lewis Collins gets some interesting performances. There is a formality in the performances, from the high collar and tall hat that Foster wears, to the way Fred Kohler Jr. challenges him by putting a chip on his shoulder and urging the schoolmaster to knock it off, to the way people behave at the spelling bee, interspersed with urgent whispers and low-voiced arguments among conspirators and family members, and freely formed, torchlit lynch scene that was shot wild. Editor Carl Pierson came from Indiana, and he clearly knew how to cut this film to reflect that dichotomy.
Norman Foster was nearing the end of his acting career. The following year he would switch to directing. Although that career would never get him out of the Bs and TV work, his connections and professionalism would stand him and his movies well.
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