Tuesday, November 3, 2009


RACHEL AND THE STRANGER (1948), is one of my favorite Loretta Young films. The story begins when David Harvey finds himself a widower with a son. They live far from town in the country on a Northwest farm. He needs a woman around the house to cook, clean and teach his son reading/writing/math.

David and Davey pack up the horse and head for town to ask for the preacher's advice, who recommends Rachel. Rachel, is a bonds woman, and is quickly sold to David. David being a decent man marries her.

David keeps his distance from Rachel as he is still grieving the passing of his wife. Rachel is doing everything she can to win over her new family. This all changes when Jim, his (very charming, handsome) friend arrives and shows the neglected Rachel some attention. David starts to realize that she means far more to him than he thought and the trouble begins....

Based on the Howard Fast short story "Rachel".

Cast: Loretta Young, William Holden, Robert Mitchum.

Loretta Young was famous for placing a "swear jar" on the sets of all of her films, charging anyone in the cast or crew who cussed 25 cents, then giving the funds to one of her favorite charities. While making this film with her, Robert Mitchum held his tongue until shooting was over. As he exited the set on the final day of shooting he dropped a $20 bill into the jar, and said, "This should just about cover everything I've been wanting to say"

Sara Haden (November 17, 1899 - September 15, 1981) was a character actress in Hollywood films of the 1930s through the 1950s.

Haden was the daughter of another character actress, Charlotte Walker, who was active in silent films and early talkies.

An attractive woman, Haden however lacked the beauty of her mother. Haden made her film debut in 1934 in the film, Spitfire.

Haden had small roles in many of the studio's films, she is best known for her performances in the Andy Hardy series, cast as Aunt Milly Forrest.

She played a truant officer in Shirley Temple's, Captain January (1936), but she also played a teacher Miss Pipps, who is unjustly fired in the Our Gang comedy Come Back, Miss Pipps (1941).

Haden's other films include: Poor Little Rich Girl (1936), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), Woman of the Year (1942), and The Bishop's Wife (1947).


  1. Thanks for posting. It's also one of my favourite Loretta Young movies. It's a great ensemble in fact. It's a charming story, but also pretty realistic in showing the family dynamics. Dave doesn't want a wife yet, and treats her like a servant, even delegating the worst area of the house for her to sleep. His son, also not ready for a new mother, takes the queue and shows no respect either. It's hard for her to do her job. Then as they learn to appreciate her, her situation improves. Especially after Jim arrives!
    It's not really a western though - it's a colonial pioneer story. It's the old Northwest- the area bordered by the Ohio and Misssissippi rivers.

  2. Dawn, I watched this film again today when it was played on TCM. I love this film, especially the ending when Rachel wins the love of both father and son.

  3. Panavia99 and Silent, Awesome! I feel like we had a viewing party.

    Panavia99, I agree. It is realistic in showing pioneer family life.

    Silent, I also love the ending..one of those feel good movies.


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