The Sea of Grass (1947) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Sea of Grass1947

The Sea of Grass (1947)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Sea of Grass Photos

Movie Info

Usually associated with erudite, urbane comedies, the legendary screen team of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy goes intensely dramatic in the expensive western Sea of Grass. Tracy plays cattle baron Colonel James Brewton, who staunchly opposes opening the western frontier to homesteaders. Standing steadfastly beside Brewton-at least at the beginning--is his headstrong wife Lutie (Hepburn). Eventually disillusioned by the stern implacability of her husband, Lutie leaves Brewton and goes off to Denver, where she falls in love with liberal attorney Brice Chamberlain (Melvyn Douglas), the champion of the homesteaders' cause. Upon giving birth to Chamberlain's son, Lutie confesses her indiscretion to Brewton, who takes the news with commendable restraint, even offering to accept the baby as his own. Unfortunately, the Brewtons' standing in the community is weakened by the revelation of Lutie's infidelity, causing her to leave her husband for a second time. Years later, Lutie's grown-up boy Brock (Robert Walker) drifts to the wrong side of the law, leading to his death at the hands of a posse. Though it hardly seems possible under the circumstances, Brewton and Lutie are at long last reconciled through the intervention of their daughter Sara Beth (Phyllis Thaxter). Elaborately produced in the traditional MGM manner and adroitly directed by Elia Kazan, Sea of Grass is still one of the lesser Tracy-Hepburns.

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Spencer Tracy
as Col. James B. 'Jim' Brewton
Katharine Hepburn
as Lutie Cameron Brewton
Melvyn Douglas
as Brice Chamberlain
Robert Walker
as Brock Brewton
Phyllis Thaxter
as Sarah Beth Brewton
Harry Carey
as Doc Reid
Ruth Nelson
as Selina Hall
Robert Armstrong
as Floyd McCurtin
James Bell
as Sam Hall
Charles Trowbridge
as George Cameron
Russell Hicks
as Maj. Harney
Trevor Bardette
as Andy Boggs
Dan White
as Ike Randall
Glenn Strange
as Bill Roach
Douglas Fowley
as Joe Horton
John Rice
as Cowboy
Dorothy Vaughan
as Mrs. Hodges
Vernon Dent
as Conductor
Erville Alderson
as Station Agent
Jack Davis
as Foreman
Irving Smith
as Black Servant
Henry Adams
as Gambler
Joseph Crehan
as Sen. Graw
John Hamilton
as Forrest Cochran
John Vosper
as Hotel Clerk
Budd Fine
as Brakeman
James O'Rear
as Piano Tuner
Nora Cecil
as Mrs. Ryan
Gertrude Chorre
as Indian Nurse
Pat Henry
as Brock (age 1)
Ann Gowland
as Sarah Beth (age 2 1/2)
Howard Mitchell
as Conductor
James O'Reare
as Piano Tuner
George H. Reed
as Uncle Nat
Frank Austin
as Station Agent
Patty Smith
as Sarah Beth (age 4 1/2)
Duncan Richardson
as Brock (age 3)
Frank Pharr
as Station Loafer
Bob Ingersoll
as Station Loafer
Ray Teal
as Cattleman
Eddie Acuff
as Cattleman
Davison Clark
as Cattleman
Joe Brockman
as Cattleman
Rocky Wood
as Cattleman
Fred Gilman
as Cattleman
Dick Rush
as Cattleman
Carol Nugent
as Sarah Beth (age 7)
Jim Hawkins
as Brock (age 5 1/2)
Skeets Noyes
as Beady-Eyed Man
George Magrill
as Homesteader
Charles McAvoy
as Homesteader
Nolan Leary
as Homesteader
Eddy Waller
as Homesteader
Forrest Taylor
as Homesteader
Ralph Littlefield
as Homesteader
Robert H. Barrat
as Judge White
Frank Darien
as Minister
William Challee
as Deputy Sheriff
Dick Baron
as Newsboy
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Critic Reviews for The Sea of Grass

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

It seems wasteful to let two such good, attractive actors wander through a lavish production like thoroughbred somnambulists.

January 23, 2013 | Full Review…

To the credit of Elia Kazan, it must be said that his direction has pace, but the writers and others have betrayed him.

November 1, 2007 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Film is loaded with very superior acting and spectacular imaginative photography.

November 1, 2007 | Full Review…

Spencer Tracy, as the rugged individualist, does his best to look monumental and inspired. But the inspiration seldom gets off the ground.

October 7, 2020 | Full Review…

Fails to deliver the required action for a western.

October 1, 2014 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

At 131 minutes, this sprawling western was long on talk and short on action.

November 1, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Sea of Grass


Minor entry in the Hepburn/Tracy canon is justifiably obscure. The script is long winded but not terribly deep. As far as the performances Spencer Tracy is right at home as the rigid man whose pride works to his detriment but Kate seems uncomfortable in her role and it doesn't really fit her, a wounded dignity is needed and her tough resilience is at odds with that, Margaret Sullavan would have been much better suited to the part. The basic structure of the film works against what was always so special about the pair and that's their interaction, for great swatches of this they are apart. Robert Walker shows up late in the proceeding and injects some much needed life in the picture but is gone too soon. One good piece of casting is Phyllis Thaxter as the pair's grown daughter, she bears a striking resemblance to both and really does seem as if she could be their child. The best performance in the whole show is turned in by the reliable Edgar Buchanan as the family standby, his involvement with the others is one of the few parts that doesn't feel artificial. The usually reliable Melvyn Douglas is defeated by a stick figure character. The pace of the film is too slow, this was an early film for Kazan and he still had some learning to do, and by the end it becomes a trial too sit though. Not awful but a miss.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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