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Released: May 16, 1963 - Length: 1 hour 58 minutes
Based on the Novel by Earl Hamner Jr.
Music: Max Steiner
Written, Directed & Produced by Delmer Daves

Cast:

Starring: Henry Fonda (Clay Spencer), Maureen O'Hara (Olivia Spencer), James MacArthur (Clay-Boy Spencer), Donald Crisp (Grandpa Spencer), Wally Cox (Preacher Clyde Goodson)

Introducing: Mimsy Farmer (Claris Coleman)

With: Virginia Gregg (Miss Parker), Lillian Bronson (Grandma Spencer), Whit Bissell (Dr. Amos Campbell), Hayden Rorke (Colonel Coleman), Kathy Bennett (Minnie-Cora Cook), Dub Taylor (Percy Cook), Hope Summers (Mother Ida), Ken Mayer (Mr. John)
In alphabetical order: William Breen (Mountain Boy), Veronica Cartwright (Becky Spencer), Michele Daves (Donnie Spencer), Bronwyn FitzSimons (Dean's Secretary), Med Flory (Spencer Brother), Victor French (Spencer Brother), Michael Greene (Spencer Brother), Mike Henry (Spencer Brother), Robert 'Buzz' Henry (Ambulance Driver), Rusty Lane(Dean Beck), Kym Karath (Pattie-Cake Spencer), Rory Mallinson (Cop), Larry D. Mann (Spencer Brother), Barbara McNair (Graduation Singer), James O'Hara (Spencer Brother), Ray Savage (Spencer Brother), Guy Wilkerson (Slim Temple), Gary Young (Matt Spencer), Michael Young (Mark Spencer), Ricky Young (Luke Spencer), Rocky Young (John Spencer), Susan Young (Shirley Spencer)

Short Synopsis:

Clay Spencer dreams of building a home for his wife and “9 babies” but struggles to make ends meet working at the local quarry. Despite being a man of honor Clay is a hard working, foul mouthed, liquor drinking family man who spouts words of wisdom, behaves naughtily with his wife, takes it easy with a fishing pole and avoids church because he's already found heaven at home. His son Clay-Boy graduates high school with top honors and sets his sights on a college education. His girlfriend Claris returns from private school with a physically-mature awareness and is willing to chase the naive Clay-Boy all the way to college. The family suffers hardship when Clay Sr. is injured and his father is killed in a tree cutting accident. Will the family be able to sacrifice enough to afford the cost and build a better future for their children?

Detailed Synopsis:

Clay Spencer rises early one morning and awaits the arrival of his brothers who help lay the foundation for a new dream home he is building for his wife and family on the property he owns on Spencer's Mountain.


Clay's wife Olivia asks him for the money to buy their eldest son a graduation ring. He works overtime at the quarry to earn an extra $17 and a paid day off to go fishing.


A stranger shows up and joins Clay at the river to catch some fish. Unknowingly Clay gets the new preacher Clyde Goodman drunk which angers the Woman's Aid Society and results in the town boycotting his first service. This angers Clay who calls good on all of the favors he has done for his neighbors and blackmails the entire town into attending the evening service to welcome the new minister who had made an unfortunate first impression.


At his graduation Miss Parker announces that Clay-Boy has earned the top award for his desire to continually learn. She leaves him with words of encouragement “The world steps aside to let any man pass if he knows where he is going.”

 

Spencer's mountain Lobby Card

That evening Miss Parker and the preacher arrive at the Spencer home to announce that they believe that Clay-Boy could win a scholarship to go to college. When Clay arrives home drunk he admits that he has been working at New Dominion Quarry since he was 10 years old and only got enough education to sign his name and to know if the company was cheating him of his pay. He's signs the application because he figures his “babies” should get a better education than him.


Miss Parker then arranges with the quarry's company man Colonel Coleman for a new library and negotiates a $10/week summer job for Clay-Boy as the librarian to help pay for his college education.


After a year away, Clay-Boy's love interest Claris returns home to teach him all about what she has learned “growing up” at the Girl's Academy. When Clay-Boy learns that he did not win the scholarship his father makes his way to the University to “set things right.” Clay learns that the scholarship was for a ministerial education but bargains a deal that he son can attend any class he wants if he learns Latin as a qualification. The new preacher agrees to teach Clay-Boy only if Clay Sr. agrees to attend church.

The whole town lines up to watch Clay attend his first service at the church. Tragedy then strikes the family when a tree that Clay cuts down for his father accidentally falls on the two men killing the grandfather of the family. $37 is bequeathed from his will to Clay-Boy to help pay for his education.


After Claris brings Clay-Boy a picnic up on the mountain and plans to get Clay-Boy alone he returns home with a sun-burn as bright as the smile on his face.

 

Clay-Boy earns his acceptance into University but the family is unable to secure the $528 loan they seek to pay for his first year of school. Claris announces that she will be attending the college with Clay-Boy as well but he doesn't have the heart to tell her that he can't afford to attend. Clay Sr. makes the decision to give up his dream of building a home on the mountain in exchange for his dream to give his children a better future. He tells Olivia that they will stay in their small but loving home and he sells the land to pay for Clay-Boy's schooling.

Additional Credits:

TechnicolorĀ® Filmed in PanavisionĀ® Director of Photography: Charles Lawton A.S.C., Art Director: Carl Anderson, Film Editor: David Wages, Sound: M. A. Merrick, Set Decorator: Ralph S. Hurst, Dialogue Supervisor: Bert Steinberger, Second Unit Director: Robert Totten, Second Unit Director of Photography: H. F. Koenekamp A.S.C., Second Unit Assistant Director: Phil Rawlins. Costume Designer: Marjorie Best, Supervising Hair Stylist: Jean Burt Reilly C.H.S., Makeup Supervisor: Gordon Bau S.M.A., Orchestrations: Murray Cutter, Assistant Director: Gil Kissel. Ā© Copyright MCMLXIII Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.

Show Notes:

Comparisons to The Waltons:

Due to easier logistics, the production was filmed and set in the Grand Teton mountain range of Wyoming instead of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where the novel, TV series and real-life family who inspired all the works were situated.

Similiar to The Waltons which was narrated by a middle-aged John-Boy (Earl Hamner Jr.) who reflects back on his memories of growing up Spencer's Mountain is narrated by Clay Spencer (Henry Fonda) the father, who introduces us to the backstory of how his family found their way to the Grand Teton's of Wyoming.

In this first fictionalized depiction of Earl Hamner's father, Clay Spencer works at the local quarry like Earl Hamner Sr. which is unlike John Walton who owned his own lumber mill.

This movie is quite bawdy when compared to the more puritant Waltons. This is due in part to a "closer to the bone" representation of Hamner's own father and a sexualized love interest for his son Clay-Boy.


Watch the promotional trailer

Hosted at Turner Classic Movies




Bob Adkins (aka Addie Bobkins) interviews Mimsy Farmer and James MacArthur, of the cast of Spencer's Mountain, and Director, Delmar Daves.




Movie Posters

Spencer's Mountain Movie Poster

Spencer's Mountain Movie Poster

Spencer's Mountain Movie Poster

Spencer's Mountain Movie Poster

Spencer's Mountain Movie Poster



Lobby Cards

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

Spencer's Mountain Lobby Card

 


Publicity Stills

Spencer's Mountain Press photo

Spencer's Mountain Press photo

Spencer's Mountain Press photo

Spencer PresSpencer's Mountain Press photos Photo

Spencer's Mountain Press photo

Spencer's Mountain Press photo Spencer's Mountain Press photo
 

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