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Encyclopedia > Sommersby
Sommersby

Sommersby Promotional Movie Poster
Directed by Jon Amiel
Produced by Richard Gere
Mary McLaglen
Arnon Milchan
Steven Reuther
Maggie Wilde
Written by Le Retour de Martin Guerre:
Daniel Vigne
Jean-Claude Carrière
Story:
Nicholas Meyer
Anthony Shaffer Screenplay:
Nicholas Meyer
Sarah Kernochan
Starring Richard Gere
Jodie Foster
Bill Pullman
James Earl Jones
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Philippe Rousselot
Editing by Peter Boyle
Distributed by Warner Brothers
Release date(s) 1993
Running time 114 min.
Language English
IMDb profile

The 1993 motion picture Sommersby was directed by Jon Amiel and stars Richard Gere, Jodie Foster, Bill Pullman and James Earl Jones. The music was created by Danny Elfman and praised for its dark themes of tragedy and romance. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 452 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (569 × 755 pixel, file size: 76 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) This image is of a poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher or the creator of the work depicted. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Richard Tiffany Gere[1] (born August 31, 1949) is an American actor. ... Arnon Milchan (1945-) is movie producer and businessman. ... Jean-Claude Carrière (born September 19, 1931 in Colombières-sur-Orb, Hérault, France) is a screenwriter and actor. ... Nicholas Meyer at the Paramount Pictures lot in 2002. ... Anthony Joshua Shaffer, (May 15, 1926 – November 6, 2001), was a English dramatist. ... Nicholas Meyer at the Paramount Pictures lot in 2002. ... Sarah Kernochan (born December 30, 1947 in New York City) first gained prominence as co-director of the 1972 film Marjoe (about evangelist Marjoe Gortner), which won an Academy Award for best documentary. ... Richard Tiffany Gere[1] (born August 31, 1949) is an American actor. ... Jodie Foster (born November 19, 1962) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress, director, and producer. ... William Pullman (born December 17, 1953) is an American film and television actor. ... James Earl Jones (b. ... Daniel Robert Elfman (born May 29, 1953 in Los Angeles, California) is an American singer-songwriter who led the rock band Oingo Boingo from 1978 until its breakup in 1995, and has since 1985s Pee-Wees Big Adventure worked as a film score composer. ... Peter Lawrence Boyle (October 18, 1935 – December 12, 2006) was an Emmy Award-winning American actor. ... Warner Bros. ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Richard Tiffany Gere[1] (born August 31, 1949) is an American actor. ... Jodie Foster (born November 19, 1962) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress, director, and producer. ... William Pullman (born December 17, 1953) is an American film and television actor. ... James Earl Jones (b. ... Daniel Robert Elfman (born May 29, 1953 in Los Angeles, California) is an American singer-songwriter who led the rock band Oingo Boingo from 1978 until its breakup in 1995, and has since 1985s Pee-Wees Big Adventure worked as a film score composer. ...


Set against the backdrop of the U.S. Civil War, it is a retelling of the story of 16th century French peasant Martin Guerre (already filmed by Daniel Vigne in 1982 as Le Retour de Martin Guerre). Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... Title page of Arrest Memorable, an account of the case written by one of the trial judges in 1560 and published in 1565 For other uses, see Martin Guerre (disambiguation). ... The Return of Martin Guerre (Le Retour de Martin Guerre) is a 1982 French film based on a book of the same name (See main article Martin Guerre). ...

Contents

Plot

Just after the American Civil War has ended, a soldier named John "Jack" Sommersby has been presumed killed, and his wife Laurel is working his farm without him. Until his return she has been quite content and is rather happy without him, as the "pre-war" Jack was an unpleaseant and abusive husband. Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total...


One day her husband seemingly returns to her. Immediately there are those that question whether this is the real Sommersby; including his shoe-maker who find that this Sommersby now has a foot that is two sizes smaller than the template took of his "old" foot. He is now reading Homer which the previous Jack would not have. He said a man he met in prison gave it to him. Also, the returned Sommersby is no longer abusive and unkind to his wife, but the complete opposite, he is kind and loving; he explains this by saying "war changes you; makes you appreciate things". The two (Jack and Laurel) immediately rekindle their passion for each other and Laurel falls pregnant. Bill Pullman's character, who was there to assist (and was engaged to) Laurel when Jack was apparently dead, immediately suspects this "new" Sommersby as an imposter. Homer (Greek: ) is the name given to the supposed unitary author of the early Greek poems the Iliad and the Odyssey. ... William Pullman (born December 17, 1953) is an American film and television actor. ...


Sommersby begins to try and get the farm in shape by offering the locals land in exchange for money to buy Burley tobacco seeds with and make money from the land (which they have also have to work). This makes the locals question whether this man is Jack Sommersby even more so, as the "old" Jack not be so hastey to give away his beloved father's land. Jack's decision to let the now liberated slaves in on this deal rubs the town's old Confederates up the wrong way and that night a former slave (still living on Somerby's land) is brutally attacked and dropped at Sommersby's door, by men in KKK apparel (one of the men is Bill Pullman, distinguished by his wooden foot). Jack is threatened to reverse his decision to let the black people in on the deal, but refuses. Burley tobacco is a light air-cured tobacco used primarily for cigarette production. ... This article is in need of attention. ... KKK may refer to: // Ku Klux Klan, white supremacy group(s) Katipunan (Society), a revolutionary group from Philippine history; full name Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan Anak ng Bayan (roughly translated: Supreme and Venerable Society of the Sons of the Nation) Kokusai Kogyo Kabushikigaisha, a Japanese bus and taxi company AG K...


Upon taking the townspeople's money, he sets off to buy the tobacco seed claiming they'll have enough money to fix the church up. However, great suspicion and skepticism falls upon him (and by association, Laurel and their son) when he does not return at the expected time. He turns up not a minute too late and produces the seeds. All those that bought in on the deal set to work, transforming the dull and lifeless farm into a breeding ground of promise and anticipation.


Laurel then gives birth to her daughter, Rachel. They have her christened and shortly afterwards, two Federal Marshals appear in town asking for Sommersby. He is arrested for the apparent murder of a man in another town. Jack is charged with murder and will face the death penalty if found guilty. A court case begins and quickly (through the actions of Laurel trying to save her husband) turns into a trial trying to establish whether this "Jack" is who he claims to be, or a look-a-like who met the "real" Sommersby whilst in prison for desertion.


Laurel and Jack's lawyer agree to try and prove that this Jack Sommersby is in fact Horace Townsend, and is therefore an imposter and not the man who left Laurel to fight in the war. Pullman's character devises the plan, but in exchange for Laurel being promised to him upon "Sommersby's" detention in prison. This plan would ensure her husband (or supposed husband) does not hang for murder (although he would still be imprisoned for several years for fraud and desertion). Sommersby fires his lawyer and sets about re-establishing himself as the "real" Sommersby.


Several witnesses are brought up to discredit this Sommersby as a fraud, and is in fact one Horace Townsend, an English teacher from Virginia. One witness says that the man currently posing as Jack defrauded his township of several thousands dollars after claiming he wanted to help improve the school house there. Sommersby quickly dismisses the man's testimony by claiming he was one of the KKK members that attacked the black man and threatened Sommersby. Jack also points out that Pullman's character was also one of the men, and that this whole thing is a set-up to try and rob the liberated slaves of their new property. When the judge (who is black, played by James Earl Jones) confronts him on this charge, the man bursts out "When the yankees have all gone you'll be back in the field where you belong!". The judge silences him and sentences him to 30 days in the county jail, raised to 60 days upon the man's protest. James Earl Jones (b. ...


As the drama unfolds, Jack asks Laurel to give the reason she knows he is not the "real" Jack Sommersby; she replies (after some berating) "...because I never loved him the way I love you!" With this her charade ends and she says that she believes the Jack before her to be her real husband. The judge calls Jack to his bench. He asks him whether he is sure he wishes to be tried as Jack Sommersby even if it would mean he'd hang. Jack glances at the black land-owners who have Jack's promise to his land, and then he glances at his wife and daughter and says that he wants to be tried as John "Jack" Sommersby.


Jack is found guilty of murder and is sentenced to death. In prison awaiting death, he is asked to be truthful by Laurel and to answer once and for all "Are you John Sommersby?". Laurel mentions the book on Homer's works that he holds. Jack tells her the story of how he met a man who looked like him whilst in a prison and how he gave him this book. They travelled together until Townsend died. He claims that he buried him under a pile of rocks on a hill top in Virginia. Laurel asks: "Don't you mean you buried John Sommersby?" to which Jack replies, "I mean I buried Horace Townsend."


Just then the jailers enter to transport Jack to the gallows. He asks Laurel to be amongst the crowds as he cannot "hang alone". She neither agrees or disagrees to do this for him. As Jack Sommersby is fastened up ready to hang, a suspenseful moment arises where Laurel makes her way to the front of the crowd. Jack calls for her, claiming to the executioner that he "isn't ready". As the hood is about to be put over his head. She then calls back and the two see each other. The hood is pulled over and a trap door can be heard opening. These gallows in Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park are maintained by Arizona State Parks. ...


The closing scenes show Laurel walking up a hill with flowers. She then kneels by the grave of "Jack Sommersby" and lays the flowers down for him. We then cut to work being carried out on the steeple of the town church.


Trivia

  • The cow is named Clarice, the name of Jodie Foster's character in The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Warner Brothers at first refused to buy the remake rights, but Sarah Kernochan, who was assigned to rewrite Nicholas Meyers' screenplay, insisted, as the story was obviously based on the French tale. [2]
  • Contrary to popular belief, this film is not the basis for the Simpsons episode in which the real Seymour Skinner returns from Vietnam to reveal that Principal Skinner is an impostor. The man believed to be Principal Skinner is actually named Arman Tanzarian. Similarly, the impostor accrues the sympathy of the audience. The commentary on Season 9 debunked the Sommersby reference, stating that the Tichborne case is the basis.
  • The movie received great contributions from Charlotte County, Virginia, which is where the trial was shot for the movie in the Court House building in Charlotte Court House, Virginia. Also, the movie allowed many extras from the county to be in the court room.

Jodie Foster (born November 19, 1962) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress, director, and producer. ... The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 Academy Award-winning film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. ... Warner Bros. ... Sarah Kernochan (born December 30, 1947 in New York City) first gained prominence as co-director of the 1972 film Marjoe (about evangelist Marjoe Gortner), which won an Academy Award for best documentary. ... Tichborne Claimant was the 19th-century case of Arthur Orton (1834–1898), an impostor who claimed to be missing heir Sir Roger Tichborne (1829–1854). ... Charlotte County is a county located in the state of Virginia. ...

Reaction

The film got a 57 % on Rotten Tomatoes, marking it a close "Rotten".[1] Critics praised the acting of the two leads Richard Gere and Jodie Foster, but panned the vague redemption of the imposter.[2] This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Richard Tiffany Gere[1] (born August 31, 1949) is an American actor. ... Jodie Foster (born November 19, 1962) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress, director, and producer. ...


See also

Title page of Arrest Memorable, an account of the case written by one of the trial judges in 1560 and published in 1565 For other uses, see Martin Guerre (disambiguation). ...

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ Rotten Tomatoes - Sommersby Retrieved 1 April 2007.
  2. ^ [1] Retrieved 1 April 2007.

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Institute for the Classical Tradition | Boston University (150 words)
Initial newspaper reviews of the 1993 film Sommersby were mostly unfavorable, and, when discussed by film critics, the film has usually been judged to be a pale imitation of a more important French film, The Return of Martin Guerre.
This article attempts to show that Sommersby achieves a level of originality by conflating the earlier French film with Homer’s Odyssey and in the process depicting a view of the nature of human identity different from what is found in both its major sources.
Sommersby operates with a similar model of identity that treats the self as mutable, the outcome of an act of self-legislation.
DVDFILE.COM: Sommersby review (671 words)
Co-written by Sarah Kernochan, Sommersby is a Civil War retooling of the 1983 French classic, The Return of Martin Guerre.
The anamorphic widescreen transfer is representative of the bland color pallet that was used for Sommersby.
Sommersby is a film that I never really had any interest in seeing.
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