Romance of Rosy Ridge, The (1947): Rural Melodrama Starring Van Johnson and Janet Leigh in her Screen Debut

Janet Leigh made her screen debut in The Romance of Rosy Ridge, a mediocre drama about a rural community bitterly divided during the aftermath of the American Civil War.

Adapted from the novel by MacKinlay Kantor, it is directed by Roy Rowland and stars Van Johnson, Thomas Mitchell.

Johnson plays Henry Carson, a schoolteacher before the Civil War, in a rural region of the Missouri hills. He spends the night with a family consisting of Gill MacBean (Thomas Mitchell), his wife Sairy (Selena Royle), and two of their children, Lissy Anne (Janet Leigh), and youngster Andrew (Dean Stockwell).

Another son, Ben (Marshall Thompson), had run off to fight in the war, but the family hopes he will someday return.

Gill does not welcome the stranger, unsure of his allegiance, but the others like the good-natured young man, especially Lissy Anne.

When storekeeper and banker Cal Baggett (Guy Kibbee) demands repayment of loan, Henry talks him into hosting a “play party,” inviting everyone, regardless of affiliation, to help heal the rift in the community. Gill is strongly opposed to it, but Henry tricks him into bringing his family.

Though the movie was a commercial failure, it did not damage the prospects of Leigh’s acting career.


TCM showed the movie on Sep 8, 2021.