The story opens in 1859, in rural Indiana, as John and Nell (Montgomery Clift, Eva Marie Saint) are graduating from school. Though they've been in love for years, John is bewitched by the beautiful newcomer, Susanna (Elizabeth Taylor), a high-strung and unstable young woman.
This 1957 film is an obvious attempt to match the grandeur of "Gone With the Wind" and it fails miserably. It's poorly written; by trying to include battle scenes, romance, mental illness, slavery, and good ol' country life, it lacks focus and purpose. Taylor shrieks and wails in her faux-Southern drawl and generally overacts the whole time, although she does wear some spectacular gowns. Saint and Clift are a boring couple and I didn't care about them at all. Rod Taylor and Lee Marvin steal the show - what there is of it - with bravura performances.
The DVD is from China and has some annoying, but hilarious translations. For example: 'Valedictorian' became 'violated Victoria." (!)