There is a running theme in my life that I only recently discovered…I love William Holden movies. To be clear – Mr. Holden is not new to me, I’ve known of him my entire life. His films aren’t foreign to my eyes, I’ve watched many of them over the years. What is new, is my realization that several of my all-time-favorite films have a running theme…William Holden (William Beedle to his friends).
My favorite movie of all time stars the handsome Mr. H, but this post is not dedicated to that film (to be announced at a later date), this post is all about Rachel:
Rachel and the Stranger – starring William Holden, Loretta Young, and Robert Mitchum.
An RKO classic from 1948, Rachel and the Stranger alternates between humor, romance, and adventure. It is, in my opinion, an egregiously overlooked western.
This film, set against the wilderness of colonial America, revolves around Dave Harvey (Holden), his son Davey (Gary Gray), his best friend/sometimes-nemesis Jim Fairways (Mitchum) and the woman who enters their life, Rachel (Young).
Rachel is an indentured servant whom Dave “buys” out of her service contract and then weds as a stand-in for his deceased wife. Dave is seeking a marriage “in name alone” as a way of providing a mother for his son, but soon begins to see the many virtues in Rachel when his friend Jim makes advances toward her. Along with the very entertaining love triangle, is the struggle of these characters to establish themselves in a landscape where danger lurks at every turn.
This film is everything that a pioneer film should be.
*Scene to watch for: Any scene involving Robert Mitchum, he is perfect in this role. Also, you will be singing his “signature” tune for hours upon hearing it.