The screen version of A.G. Street's novel presents a series of chapters in the life of a gentleman farmer. While the author's theme--as to putting back on the land whatever you take out--may not emerge with any great power or clarity, there remains the episodic drama of the hero's marital tragedy, the unusual and appealing by-play of farm life, and the frequently charming rural backgrounds which also invest the picture with a quality of camparative originality.
The agriculture angle is agreeably sketched in, notably in the case of the calf which gives the picture its title, and in an interesting auction of stock which the townsman should especially savour. For the rest, we have the popular tug of the early romantic scenes, some amusing bucolic humour and the efficient characterisations.
Today's Cinema - January 5, 1945
Praiseworthy in its aim, but just lacking in ultimate achievement is this picture. Much favored British novelist A.G. Street wrote a yarn which centred on the strawberry roan calf of the title He contrived to depict there--in not only the lush and placid glory of England's countryside. . .but the age-old ardors also of the husbandry of land. Unhappily, Maurice Elvey--skilled experienced motion picture man though he be--fails to translate that gentle flowing rhythm to the screen; which is precisely the picture's failing.
The external facts of Mr. Street's story are here. . .but there's an uneasiness, a jumpiness, about it all which betokens the film cutter's anxiety and which just isn't redeemed by some exquisite camera work and by the homely and pleasing aphorisms with which the film is adorned. Billy Hartnell, whom British National are rightly intent on making a near-star, doesn't make the grade. It's Walter Fitzgerald's picture if anyone's. they'll market this one on the score of its agreeable photography, its picture of England which none can fail to love. Maybe, and oddly, on that count its export to America, too, would be justified.
Motion Picture Herald - March 17, 1945
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