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Snakes in Movies
The Southerner (1945)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
The Southerner The Southerner The Southerner
The Southerner The Southerner The Southerner
The Southerner The Southerner The Southerner
It's not surprising that most movies made by great directors do not have scenes with snakes in them. But this movie was directed by Jean Renoir who is generally considered one of the world's greatest directors, and it does have a scene with a snake, although it's insignificant and used for comic effect. Renoir was French, son of the great French painter Pierre Auguste Renoir) but he made some films in English when he worked in Hollywood during WWII. Leonard Maltin gives this film his highest rating, but it's not one of Renoir's best, even though it recieved his only Oscar nomination for best director, but it does have Renoir's outstanding humanism, and it shows a different side of American life than was typically shown in Hollywood at that time - poor, rural farmers. Sam and Nona Tucker and their extended family, including Sam's Granny (who unfortunately is little more than the cliche cranky old person who is constantly complaining) have been picking cotton but the harvest is over. Sam decides to rent a decrepit house and its adjacent farm and try to start his own cotton farm instead of always working for somebody else. They have to fight extreme poverty, disease, starvation, a nasty neighbor, and a catastrophic flood, but they don't quit. There's a spirit of good old American persistence and optimism in this movie that is almost propaganda - probably as a result of the war.

At the beginning of the movie, Uncle Tucker dies in the cotton field. After his funeral, the Tuckers return on a rural dirt road lined with tall plants. The young daughter Daisy finds some wild grapes and invites Granny to come into the field and eat some but Granny declines, saying: "I don't wanna get mixed up with no copperheads. I'm already wearin' one crooked toe one of them scoundrels ruined."
But she eventually comes in and starts eating some grapes.
Daisy asks her: "I though you was afeard of snakes."
and Granny replies: "I am, but that ain't no sign I got to starve to death is it?"
Then Daisy comes out of the brush with a small snake which she holds up to granny's face to tease her. Granny is disgusted and runs around the grape vine calling to her mother Nona to come and spank Daisy, who is chasing her with the snake. Nona scolds Daisy and she drops the snake back in the brush.
Most people who have been bitten by a venomous snake say that it's something they never want to experience again, so it's easy to sympathize with Granny's fear of snakes.