4 user

The Old South (1940)

Chronicle of the importance of cotton to the economy and culture of the American South.


Fred Zinnemann


Herman Hoffman (original screenplay)




Uncredited cast:
George Lynn ... Eli Whitney (uncredited)
Frank Whitbeck Frank Whitbeck ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)


Cotton is one of the most important crops grown worldwide. What was once the land rich but dollar poor southern US and cotton are synonymous with each other, the crop itself originally imported from India. Despite the ease of growing cotton and the world demand for it, the labor intensive activity of separating the seed from the lint made it an expensive proposition until the creation of the cotton gin by inventor Eli Whitney in the late eighteenth century. Whitney was an unassuming schoolmaster when he created his deceptively simple but time and labor saving device, which revolutionized the cotton industry and led to great increases in the planting of cotton crops and production in the southern US. This increase had the unforeseen consequence of insufficient laborers to pick the cotton, which in turn led to an increase in the slave trade from West Africa, and the growing economic disparity between the rich cotton plantation owners and the poor slaves. The moral question of slavery ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

20 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Included on a special edition home video of Унесённые ветром (1939). See more »


Narrator: Gone. Gone with the wind.
See more »


References Унесённые ветром (1939) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

In sympathy to the South
5 August 2010 | by jcravens42See all my reviews

This "documentary" says much more about 1940 USA than it does about the history of cotton and the South. It's an example of the political correctness of that time: don't say anything that offends white Southerners! It's fascinating to watch: you get to hear how Southern history and slavery used to be taught in schools in the USA (I say "used to", but this was the version of the history I heard as well as late as 1980 or so in Kentucky). The movie doesn't have a political agenda, but as a result of its skewed view of history, ends up explaining cotton and Southern history largely in sympathy to the South, particularly regarding the issue of slavery, with only one scene depicting its horrors -- "balanced" with a scene of a slave family that will make you cringe for all the wrong reasons. I don't think the film was intended as propaganda -- I think the producers were actually trying to present something historical (and cash in on all the "Gone With the Wind" mania of the time). I give it 8 out of 10 because, wow, you'll learn a LOT about the climate of the USA in 1940 with regard to how it wanted to think about the Civil War.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed

Replicas | Asterix and the Vikings (2006) Hindi Dubbed | Warhammer Vermintide 2 PC télécharger gratuit