Had Ruby Gentry been released just a few years later, it might have been mistaken for a Tennessee Williams adaptation. Instead, it was written directly for the screen by Silva Richards, who provided Joan Crawford with one of her most memorable roles in 1947’s Possessed. Ruby Gentry was directed by King Vidor, whose career spanned over seven decades and more than fifty films. Released in 1952, Ruby Gentry was a box office and sparked a career resurgence for Jennifer Jones (The Towering Inferno), who had been in a slump for a few years prior.
Raised as if she were a boy, Ruby (Jones) and her family are living a rough life in rural North Carolina. Having grown up on the edge of a swamp, she’s an accomplished hunter and can handle a gun with precision. However, Ruby is as pretty as she is tough, and has captivated much of the populous, despite her “wrong side of the tracks,” status. She’s in love with Boake Tackman (Charlton Heston, Two-Minute Warning), who’s just come home after five years in South America. Blake loves Ruby too, but in a lustful way. Ruby is distraught when he doesn’t marry her, choosing instead a woman of his own class, making it possible for him to become a local landowner.
Ruby is than approached by Jim Gentry (Karl Malden, The Hanging Tree) the town’s wealthiest citizen. Gentry and his ailing wife had taken her in as a young girl to teach her basic social graces. Now, his wife having died, he asks for Ruby’s hand in marriage. Almost overnight, the girl from the “wrong side of the tracks” is given the tools to wreak havoc on the townspeople who have demeaned her. The class divide is the driving force behind the entire story. The poor have little to no work and accept that as being the way things are. Ruby though, isn’t afraid to be tough and stand up for what she believes in, regardless of her economic standing.
Jennifer Jones gives a strong and convincing performance, Unfortunately, Charlton Heston still a relative newcomer to leading man roles, is overly theatrical at times. He would become a solid actor, but here, he seems unsure of himself. The always reliable Karl Malden is steady as ever. Vidor’s even-handed direction, the entertaining screenplay and a strong performance from Jennifer Jones makes Ruby Gentry well worth watching.
Presented in the 1 33:1 aspect ratio, Kino has provided a strong 1080p transfer. Aside from some very minor print damage, contrast appears solid throughout and whites are bright. Black levels look appropriate and detail is strong. Fans should be fairly impressed.
The DTS-HD 2.0 mono track sounds pretty good considering the films age. The sound effects have a nice amount of punch, and ambience is apparent, Dialogue is clean and clear. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout.
English SDH subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:59)
Movie title: Ruby Gentry (1952)
Director(s): King Vidor
Actor(s): Jennifer Jones , Charlton Heston , Karl Malden , Tom Tully , James Anderson, Josephine Hutchinson
Genre: Romance, Drama