Newest Reviews
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
  Home in Indiana Jeanne or June?Buy this film here.
Year: 1944
Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Walter Brennan, Charlotte Greenwood, Ward Bond, Charles Dingle, Lon McCallister, Jeanne Crain, June Haver
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Supposed delinquent 'Sparke' Thornton (Lon McCallister) is sent to live at a floundering farm run by his Aunt Penny (Charlotte Greenwood) and Uncle 'Thunder' Bolt (Walter Brennan). For all his bad boy antics, Sparke loves horses and is drawn to the more prosperous stable next door belonging to Thunder's arch rival. By pacifying an unruly black stallion he impresses horse trainer Jed Bruce (Ward Bond) along with the owner's beautiful daughter 'Cri-Cri' Boole (June Haver) but his rough handling of another horse angers Jed's pony-loving daughter 'Char' (Jeanne Crain) who sets him straight. Sparke learns from his mistake and displays a gentler touch with horses that sets Char's heart a-flutter. So she secretly helps Sparke mate the stallion with Thunder's ailing mare to sire a sturdy racing horse to turn their fortunes round. Time passes, as the foal grows and so do Char's feelings for Sparke even though he seemingly only has eyes for her best friend, Cri-Cri.

Home in Indiana is sort of a National Velvet for boys. Produced by Twentieth Century Fox as a robust alternative to the 'girlier' MGM classic it has an ever-so-slightly harder shell if no less gooey centre. Oscar-nominated cinematographer Edward Cronjager conjures golden glowing images of rural Indiana to elaborate upon the opening narration's assertion that horse racing at the county fair is "as American as America itself." The film evokes a simplistic yet still charming notion that the American heartland is so wholesome and invigorating it can heal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual problems. As portrayed by fresh-faced Lon McCallister, Sparke does not come across anything like as bad a boy as the script implies. Nevertheless the thrust of the plot is that the young hero needs direction just like Walter Brennan's far more convincingly troubled, depressed alcoholic is in need of salvation.

Henry Hathaway is known for sturdier westerns rather than family fare and so adds a touch of grit. Take for example Thunder's rage on discovering what Sparke has done which briefly takes the film to an unexpectedly dark place when he takes a strap to the boy then swerves into wry comedy when they emerge firm friends much to Aunt Penny's confusion. Episodic, this lacks the clearly defined character arc that makes National Velvet so much more than a film about a horse. Truth be told the sweet coming of age romance proves more engaging than the equine angle. Screenwriter Winston Miller wisely avoids labouring the love triangle and instead lets things unfold in a more gentle, observational manner well served by the endearing performances from McCallister, Jeanne Crain and June Haver. The unwavering friendship between Cri-Cri and Char and warmth between Char and her father, who without tipping his hand gently acknowledges her feelings for Sparke, add an extra dimension to the story. Given her later glamorous roles Jeanne Crain makes a surprisingly convincing tomboy while June Haver also makes a vivid impression and stirred some censorship issues at the time with her skimpy bathing suit. On the downside one could politely describe the film's portrayal of African-American characters as of its time. Once the plot gets into the nitty-gritty of racing Home in Indiana grows rather more conventional and lacks tension despite throwing a few heart-rending obstacles along the way.

McCallister, a bland yet competent lead, re-teamed with June Haver in the delightfully named Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948) and went on to play a jockey once again in The Story of Seabiscuit (1949) opposite Shirley Temple, but never became a really big star.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 1180 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M


Last Updated: