In 1970, Columbia Pictures released a movie titled “A Walk in the Spring Rain.” The movie, filmed in 1969, starred Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn, two Hollywood superstars at the time.
The plot of the movie involves a couple (college professor Roger Meredith, played by Fritz Weaver, and his wife, Libby, played by Bergman) who move from New York to rural, snowy East Tennessee so that Roger can work on a book he is writing. They meet a local man named Will Cade, played by Quinn, who is the Merediths’ neighbor and local machine repairman. Will has a high-strung son with violent tendencies, who we only hear referred to as “Boy.”
As Will introduces Libby to country life, including hunting and drinking moonshine, she grows increasingly fond of him. Will expresses his love for Libby on a trip to view the first Redbud bloom of the season – a scene that takes place on a beautiful Tennessee hillside. Eventually an affair between the two happens.
Nearly mid-way through the movie, Libby convinces her husband that they should go into town for the first time, that town being Gatlinburg. At the 43:18 mark of the film, you see a glorious closeup shot of the front sign of the Gatlinburg Motor Inn. That’s us! As the camera pans away from the sign, the Merediths start to get in their car in our parking lot, but instead decide to walk. The implication is they had spent the night in the Inn.
As a side note, Wilma Maples, the owner of the Inn at that time, did not allow unmarried couples to stay in the same room together. Since the movie involved an affair, she would not allow any filming to take place inside.
While in town, Libby realizes she can’t stop thinking about Will. Upon their return the next morning, they kiss for the first time in a goat barn.
The movie culminates in Will killing his own son, whom he discovers attempting to force himself on Libby. The Boy had pulled a gun on him. In self-defense, Will threw him into the side of his car, killing him instantly.
After the funeral for his son, Will tells Libby she is all he has now. Roger, meanwhile, has decided that the move to the countryside is not working for him and that they should move back to New York. When Libby goes to tell Will that she and Roger are leaving, he tells her he loves her and killed his son for her. She tells Will that she doesn’t believe in miracles, but she almost did.
Roger and Libby move back to the city in a rather unhappy ending – Libby with no happiness, Roger with no book written, and Will with no son or lover.
So a happy ending it ain’t! But what it is is a classic movie starring some of the greatest actors of their time, filmed in beautiful East Tennessee, and featuring a nice view of the Historic Gatlinburg Inn.
You can rent A Walk in the Spring Rain on Amazon Prime or YouTube for about $3.