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The 812 List, | Jan 04, 2014

The reel side of Southern Indiana


Eight movies that show Southern Indiana is the ticket to a great film


A lot of movies are set in places far from the Hoosier Heartland. James Naremore, a Chancellors' Professor Emeritus in Indiana University's Film Studies Department, says some people think it's a little "wacky" to set a film in Southern Indiana. "They don't realize that Indiana gives a homey feel to films that is hard to find elsewhere," he says. With Naremore's help, 812 compiled a list of eight movies that have regional ties.

1. Isn't it Romantic (1948)- Set in Evansville shortly after the Civil War, this film tells the story of three daughters (one of them portrayed by Veronica Lake) and their father, a Southern Army war officer, who is writing his memoirs.

Fun Fact: Leonard Maltin, a well-respected film critic, critiqued this movie in one word--"No"--earning him a spot in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for shortest movie review.

2. So Dear to My Heart (1948)- In this Walt Disney feature film, main character Jeremiah Kincaid raises a black lamb in Pike County. He dreams of showing his new pet at the Pike County Fair but must overcome his grandmother's protests.

Fun Fact: Originally, this was going to be a live-action film, a first for Disney. However, animation was added later.

3. Friendly Persuasion (1956)- Set in Jennings County, it follows a story of a Quaker family and the toll of the Civil War on their world. "The landscape is very country, with hills in the background of many shots," Naremore says. "You can most definitely tell it is Indiana."

Fun Fact: Gary Cooper, who plays the main character Jess Birdwell, hated the way he appeared in the film and never watched it.

4. Some Came Running (1958)- Shot in Madison, this movie has an all-star cast including Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, both Rat Pack members, and Shirley MacLaine. "Madison is an unusual place architecturally," Naremore says. "Some of the homes date back to before the American Revolution, and a lot of the interiors in this film were shot in one of the biggest houses there."

Fun Fact: The movie sometimes plays at Madison's Ohio Theatre, where a few of the final scenes were shot.

5. Breaking Away (1979)- This Hoosier classic tells the story of four recent high school graduates living in Bloomington. These "cutters" (working class locals) have a rivalry with the Indiana University students, and it spills into the famed Little 500 race. "It really showcases good, old fashioned small town family values," Naremore says. "It's one of those 'feel good' movies."

Fun fact: Herman B Wells, former president and chancellor of Indiana University Bloomington, can be seen in the crowd shots.

6. A League of Their Own (1992)- Shot in Evansville and Huntingburg, this famous movie is set during World War II. With baseball-playing men fighting overseas, agents search the country for women who can fill in. "Dottie" and her sister are among them. "This is such a classic," Naremore says. "It's filled with heartbreak that is balanced by humor."

Fun Fact: The injuries and bruises you see on actors in the film were all real.

7. Madison (2005)- This drama is based in Madison during the 1971 hydroplane-racing season. Jim McCormack misses his racing days and jumps at the chance to return when the town hosts the Gold Cup championship. "I love the challenge that this film presents," Naremore says.

Fun Fact: John Mellencamp narrated this movie but was not credited.

8. Something Borrowed (2011)- Based on Emily Giffin's book of the same title, the movie centers around two friends, Rachel and Darcy (played by Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson), who compete against each other. When Rachel doesn't get into Notre Dame, they both decide to attend Indiana University.

Fun Fact: Emily Giffin, the author of the book, makes a cameo. She's sitting on a bench reading "Something Blue," the sequel to "Something Borrowed."

Information from: James Naremore, Chancellor's Professor Emeritus, the Indiana Film Commission website, When Movies Were Movies website and the Internet Movie Database website.

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