Anyhow, it seems that no thread solely devoted to John Ford exists (that, or I suck at searches), so go ahead and tell me what I should see next.
― Jibé (Jibé), Monday, 10 April 2006 11:36 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Monday, 10 April 2006 12:35 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jibé (Jibé), Wednesday, 12 April 2006 09:37 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dogfight Giggle (noodle vague), Wednesday, 12 April 2006 09:43 (fourteen years ago) link
"Fort Apache"- Henry Fonda as a cruel and obsessed military man trying to regain his honour by going to war with the Cochise. John Wayne is the cool-headed, warm-hearted officer trying to stop this; Shirley Temple is rowr (and legal, before anyone asks.)
"She Wore A Yellow Ribbon"- John Wayne is about to retire from service when indian attacks prompt much fear and suspicion. Big love interest subplot, in fact you could probably say it's the main plot actually.
Haven't seen "Rio Grande" yet, but those two come highly reccomended.
Anyway, Ford's movies tend to leave me...exhausted. They always feel much longer than any other movies of that time, even tho they aren't.
Question: Is his portrayal of indians ahead or behind the times for Hollywood of that era? From what I've seen, there's a fair bit of noble savage fetischizing in there, but he does at least treat them as human beings, and even when they're villains they're hardly one-dimensional.
My only serious John Ford quibble: fist-fights aren't that funny, dude.
See also: drunk comedy irishmen.
― Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Wednesday, 12 April 2006 11:14 (fourteen years ago) link
The most blatant pro-Indian sentiment of his career is his penultimate film, Cheyenne Autumn (still from the era where Euro-Americans played everyone, so the Cheyenne are played by Sal Mineo, Ricardo Montalban etc). Certainly Wayne in The Searchers seems as unhinged, and more racist, than Chief Scar. Apparently the tribes Ford worked with on location felt warmly toward him and gave him ceremonial honors (how much of this was PR I can't be sure).
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 12 April 2006 12:24 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jibé (Jibé), Friday, 14 April 2006 07:45 (fourteen years ago) link
to be honest, even tho i think ford is great and all, i often find myself not being all that...interested in his subject matter, somehow. it's not always easy to see the sadness and ambiguity behind all the macho bluster and not-very-funny "comic" interludes in some of those films. but it's definitely there.
― J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Friday, 14 April 2006 07:52 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 14 April 2006 12:23 (fourteen years ago) link
― timmy tannin (pompous), Friday, 14 April 2006 14:36 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 14 April 2006 14:43 (fourteen years ago) link
― timmy tannin (pompous), Friday, 14 April 2006 14:49 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 14 April 2006 14:58 (fourteen years ago) link
― timmy tannin (pompous), Friday, 14 April 2006 15:20 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 14 April 2006 15:24 (fourteen years ago) link
― mts (theoreticalgirl), Friday, 14 April 2006 15:57 (fourteen years ago) link
The Quiet Man has too much ruddy Irish blarney for my taste, and would be my choice to destroy.
― Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Friday, 14 April 2006 16:01 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 14 April 2006 16:11 (fourteen years ago) link
― gear (gear), Friday, 14 April 2006 16:16 (fourteen years ago) link
In the last shot of "The Searchers," the camera, from deep inside the cozy recesses of a frontier homestead, peers out though an open doorway into the bright sunshine. The contrast between the dim interior and the daylight outside creates a second frame within the wide expanse of the screen. Inside that smaller space, the desert glare highlights the shape and darkens the features of the man who lingers just beyond the threshold. Everyone else has come inside: the other surviving characters, who have endured grief, violence, the loss of kin and the agony of waiting, and also, implicitly, the audience, which has anxiously anticipated this homecoming. But the hero, whose ruthlessness and obstinacy have made it possible, is excluded, and our last glimpse of him emphasizes his solitude, his separateness, his alienation — from his friends and family, and also from us.
Even if you are watching "The Searchers" for the first time — perhaps on the beautiful new DVD that Warner Home Video has just released to mark the film's 50th anniversary — this final shot may look familiar. For one thing, it deliberately replicates the first image you see after the opening titles — a view of a nearly identical vista from a very similar perspective. Indeed, the frame-within-the-frame created by shooting through relative darkness into a sliver of intense natural light is a notable motif in this movie, and elsewhere in the work of its director, John Ford. Especially in his westerns, Ford loved to create bustling, busy interiors full of life and feeling, and he was equally fond of positioning human figures, alone or in small, vulnerable groups, against vast, obliterating landscapes. Shooting from the indoors out is his way of yoking together these two realms of experience — the domestic and the wild, the social and the natural — and also of acknowledging the almost metaphysical gap between them, the threshold that cannot be crossed.
But that image of John Wayne's shadow in the doorway — he plays the solitary hero, Ethan Edwards — does not just pick up on other such moments in "The Searchers." Perhaps because the shot is thematically rich as well as visually arresting — because it so perfectly unites showing and telling — it has become a touchstone, promiscuously quoted, consciously or not, by filmmakers whose debt to Ford might not be otherwise apparent. Ernest Hemingway once said that all of American literature could be traced back to one book, Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn," and something similar might be said of American cinema and "The Searchers." It has become one of those movies that you see, in part, through the movies that came after it and that show traces of its influence. "Apocalypse Now," "Punch-Drunk Love," "Kill Bill," "Brokeback Mountain": those were the titles that flickered in my consciousness in the final seconds of a recent screening in Cannes of Ford's masterwork, all because, at crucial moments, they seem to pay homage to that single, signature shot.
At the end of "Brokeback Mountain," for instance, we are inside Ennis Del Mar's trailer, looking out the window onto the Wyoming rangeland, from a domestic space into the wilderness, as in "The Searchers." But in this case, the interior, rather than a warm, buzzing home, is barren, the scene of Ennis's desolation. The outside, insofar as it recalls the mountain where he and Jack Twist spent their youthful summer of love together, is an unattainable place of freedom and companionship, rather than a zone of danger and loneliness as it was in the earlier film. Ennis is severed from those he loves, and from his own nature, by the strictures of civilization, while Ethan's violent nature renders him an exile from civilized life, condemned to wander on the margins of law, stability and order.
Of course, "Brokeback Mountain" is a western by virtue of its setting rather than its themes, which recall the forbidden-love mid-1950's melodramas of Douglas Sirk more than anything Ford was doing at the time. But just about any movie that ventures into the territory of the western — and a great many that do not — has a way of bumping up against not only Ford's images but also his ideas.
He did not invent the genre, of course, and hardly restricted himself to it in the course of a career that began in the silent era and lasted more than 50 years. There will always be those who find the frontier visions of Budd Boetticher, Anthony Mann, Raoul Walsh and Howard Hawks more complex, more authentic or more varied than Ford's, as well as those who seek out western heroes less obvious than John Wayne. But like it or not, Wayne and Ford, whose long association is sampled in a new eight-movie boxed set and examined in a recent PBS documentary, "John Ford/John Wayne: The Filmmaker and the Legend," directed by Sam Pollard, have long since come to represent the classic, canonical idea of the American West on film.
Which is to say that their movies, however deeply revered and frequently imitated, have also been attacked, mocked, dismissed and misunderstood. If, from the late 1930's to the early 1960's, they defined the classic western — a tableau involving marauding Indians, fearless gunslingers, ruthless outlaws and the occasional high-spirited gal in a calico dress — they also begat the countertendency that came to be known as the revisionist western, with its nihilism, its brutality and its harsh demystification of the threadbare legends of the old West. Thus, after Sam Peckinpah and Sergio Leone, after "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and "Unforgiven," after "Dead Man" and "Deadwood," the brightly colored black-and-white world of "The Searchers" might look quaint, simplistic and not a little retrograde.
It certainly looked that way at Bennington College in 1982, when the novelist Jonathan Lethem saw the film for the first time. He recalls the laughter of his fellow undergraduates in an essay called "Defending 'The Searchers,' " which also recalls his own earnest intellectual obsession with the film. His first attempt to appreciate it ends in defeat — " 'The Searchers' was only a camp opportunity after all. I was a fool" — but he keeps returning to contend with the sneers and shrugs of academic and bohemian friends and acquaintances, who can't see what he's so excited about. "Come on, Jonathan," one of them says, "it's a Hollywood western."
So it is, which means that it's open to the usual accusations of racism, sentimentality and wishful thinking. David Thomson, in his "Biographical Dictionary of Film," tips his hat to "The Searchers," but only in the midst of a thorough ideological demolition of its director, whose "male chauvinism believes in uniforms, drunken candor, fresh-faced little women (though never sexuality), a gallery of supporting players bristling with tedious eccentricity and the elevation of these random prejudices into a near-political attitude." The idea that Ford is an apologist for violence and a falsifier of history, as Mr. Thomson insists, dovetails with a longstanding liberal suspicion (articulated most fully by Garry Wills in his book "John Wayne's America") of Wayne, one of Hollywood's most outspoken conservatives for most of his career. And of course, the presumed attitudes that make Wayne and Ford anathema at one end of the spectrum turn them into heroes at the other.
But as the PBS documentary makes clear, the two men did not always march in political lockstep. And in any case, the closer you look at the movies themselves, the less comfortably they fit within any neat political scheme. Even the portrayal of Indian and Mexican characters, once you get past the accents and the face paint, cannot quite be reduced to caricature.
And Wayne himself, from his star-making entrance as the Ringo Kid in "Stagecoach" (1939) to his valedictory performance in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962), his last western with Ford, is hardly the simple personification of manly virtue his critics disdain and his admirers long for. Even when he drifts toward playing a John Wayne type rather than a fully formed character, there is enough unacknowledged sorrow in his broad features, and enough uncontrolled anger in that slow, hesitant phrasing, to make him seem dangerous, unpredictable: someone to watch. He is never quite who you think he will be.
And this is never truer than in "The Searchers," where much about Ethan's personality and personal history remains in the shadows. A former soldier in the Confederate Army, he arrives in Texas (though the film was shot in Monument Valley in Utah) three years after the end of the Civil War, with no way of accounting for the time lag apart from the angry insistence that he didn't spend it in California. Wherever he was, he acquired both a virulent hatred of Indians and an intimate understanding of their ways. When his two young nieces are kidnapped by Comanches — their parents and brothers are scalped and the farmstead burned — he sets out on a search that will last for years and that will blur the distinction between rescue and vengeance. It becomes clear toward the end that he wants to find the surviving niece (now played by Natalie Wood) so that he can kill her.
This impulse points to a terrifying, pathological conception of honor, sexual and racial, and for much of "The Searchers" Ethan's heroism is inseparable from his mania. To the horror and bafflement of his companions (one of whom is both a preacher and a Texas Ranger, and thus a perfect embodiment of civilized order), Ethan shoots out the eyes of a dead Comanche, and exults that this posthumous blinding will prevent this enemy from finding his way to paradise. But when you think about it, Ethan's ability to commit such an atrocity rests on a form of respect, since unlike the others he not only knows something about Comanche beliefs but is also willing to accept their reality. And the film, for its part (the script is by Frank S. Nugent, who was once a film critic for The New York Times before he took up screenwriting), acknowledges the reality of Ethan's prejudices and blind spots, which is not the same as sharing or condoning them.
The Indian wars of the post-Civil War era form a tragic backdrop in most of Ford's post-World War II westerns, much as the earlier conflicts between settlers and natives did in the novels of James Fenimore Cooper. That the Indians are defending their land, and enacting their own vengeance for earlier attacks, is widely acknowledged, even insisted upon. The real subject, though, is not how the West was conquered, but how — according to what codes, values and customs — it will be governed. The real battles are internal, and they turn on the character of the society being forged, in violence, by the settlers. Where, in this new society, will the frontier be drawn between vengeance and justice? Between loyalty to one's kind and the more abstract obligations of human decency? Between the rule of law and the law of the jungle? Between virtue and power? Between — to paraphrase one of Ford's best-known and most controversial formulations — truth and legend?
Ford's way of posing these questions seems more urgent — and more subtle — now than it may have at the time, precisely because his films are so overtly concerned with the kind of moral argument that is, or should be, at the center of American political discourse at a time of war and terrorism. He is concerned not as much with the conflict between good and evil as with contradictory notions of right, with the contradictory tensions that bedevil people who are, in the larger scheme, on the same side. When should we fight? How should we conduct ourselves when we must? In "Fort Apache," for example, the elaborate codes of military duty, without which the intricate and closely observed society of the isolated fort would fall apart, are exactly what lead it toward catastrophe. Wayne, as a savvy and moderate-tempered officer, has no choice but to obey his headstrong and vainglorious commander, played by Henry Fonda, who provokes an unnecessary and disastrous confrontation with the Apaches. In the end, Wayne, smiling mysteriously, tells a group of eager journalists that Fonda's character was a brave and brilliant military tactician. It's a lie, but apparently the public does not require — or can't handle — the truth.
In telling it, Wayne is writing himself out of history, which is also his fate in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (not, unfortunately, one of the discs in the Warner box). That film — which contains the famous line "When legend becomes fact, print the legend!" —throws Wayne's man of action and James Stewart's man of principle into a wary, rivalrous alliance. Their common enemy is an almost cartoonish thug played by Lee Marvin, but the real conflict is between Stewart's lawyer and Wayne's mysterious gunman, one of whom will be remembered as the man who shot Liberty Valance.
What we learn, in the course of the film's long flashbacks, is that the triumph of civilization over barbarism is founded on a necessary lie, and that underneath its polished procedures and high-minded institutions is a buried legacy of bloodshed. The idea that virtue can exist without violence is as untenable, as unrealistic, as the belief — central to the revisionist tradition, and advanced with particular fervor in HBO's "Deadwood" — that human society is defined by gradations of brutality, raw power, cynicism and greed.
If only things were that simple. But everywhere you look in Ford's world — certainly in "Fort Apache," in "The Searchers," in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" — you see truth shading into lie, righteousness into brutality, high honor into blind obedience. You also see, in the boisterous emoting of the secondary characters, the society that these confused ideals and complicated heroes exist to preserve: a place where people can dance (frequently), drink (constantly), flirt (occasionally) and act silly.
And everywhere else — after Ford, beyond his movies — you find the same thing. The monomaniacal quest for vengeance, undertaken by a hero at odds with the society he is expected to protect: it's sometimes hard to think of a movie from the past 30 years, from "Taxi Driver" to "Batman Begins," that doesn't take up this theme. And the deeper question of where vengeance should stop, and how it can be distinguished from justice, surfaces in "Unforgiven" and "In the Bedroom," in "Mystic River" and "Munich."
In "Munich" the Mossad assassins spend most of the film in a limbo that Ethan Edwards would recognize, even though it takes place amid the man-made monuments of Europe rather than the wind-hewn rock formations of Monument Valley. The Israeli agents are far from home, exiled from the democratic, law-governed society in whose name they commit their acts of vengeance and pre-emption, and frighteningly close both to their enemies and to a state of pure, violent retaliatory anarchy. With more anguish, perhaps, than characters in a John Ford movie, they often find themselves arguing with one another, trying to overcome, or at least to rationalize, the contradictions of what they are doing. They appeal to various texts and traditions, but they might do better to pay attention to the television that is on in the background at one point in the movie: another frame within the frame, tuned, hardly by accident, to "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."
Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 15 June 2006 16:32 (fourteen years ago) link
― Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 15 June 2006 18:29 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 15 June 2006 18:41 (fourteen years ago) link
― Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Thursday, 15 June 2006 20:40 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 15 June 2006 20:42 (fourteen years ago) link
― Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Thursday, 15 June 2006 20:42 (fourteen years ago) link
― Sons Of The Redd Desert (Ken L), Friday, 16 June 2006 23:46 (fourteen years ago) link
funny you should mention cooper--he and ford were partners in an independent production company, but no, he didn't have a hand in this one.
how hot is grace kelly in this?
― Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Saturday, 17 June 2006 07:21 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 17 June 2006 14:26 (fourteen years ago) link
― Sons Of The Redd Desert (Ken L), Saturday, 17 June 2006 17:28 (fourteen years ago) link
(I guess Jon Stewart's jokey Western clips re Brokeback were even more OTM than suspected)
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 26 October 2006 15:48 (fourteen years ago) link
― Eric H. (Eric H.), Thursday, 26 October 2006 20:58 (fourteen years ago) link
Move over, Bogdanovich!
― Eric H. (Eric H.), Thursday, 26 October 2006 21:00 (fourteen years ago) link
― Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 26 October 2006 21:20 (fourteen years ago) link
Eric, you sleek young ageist, that's mean; I'm sure they both looked tight and cruisy on the Stagecoach set.
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 27 October 2006 12:39 (fourteen years ago) link
― timmy tannin (pompous), Friday, 27 October 2006 15:16 (fourteen years ago) link
― milo z (mlp), Friday, 27 October 2006 15:17 (fourteen years ago) link
― timmy tannin (pompous), Friday, 27 October 2006 15:21 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 8 November 2006 20:42 (fourteen years ago) link
This fella with some quality early-Ford-at-Fox bloggery:
― Dr Morbius, Friday, 25 January 2008 18:31 (twelve years ago) link
so Drums Along The Mohawk. Yes?
― Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 29 May 2008 18:14 (twelve years ago) link
It's nice but his 3rd-best film of '39.
― Dr Morbius, Thursday, 29 May 2008 18:18 (twelve years ago) link
They Were Expendable. Yes?
― Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 15:15 (twelve years ago) link
Been a long time, I remember liking it. Lindsay Anderson loved it.
― Dr Morbius, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 15:22 (twelve years ago) link
If I had to vote for anything it would be Ford's segment in How The West Was Won if only for that Cinerama shot of the blood being washed off the table right at you.
― Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 23:23 (twelve years ago) link
super deluxo ultraultra restoration blu-ray of how the west was won coming in september
also with a second disc presenting the film in "Smilebox"
(shot is from a different movie)
― abanana, Thursday, 28 August 2008 00:48 (twelve years ago) link
I'm looking fwd to West, never saw
― Dr Morbius, Thursday, 28 August 2008 13:15 (twelve years ago) link
I did rent TWE.
― Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 28 August 2008 13:18 (twelve years ago) link
-- Elvis Telecom
this sounds fantastic.
the spielberg story upthread is the source of a song on the new drive-by truckers album. hum.
― thomp, Thursday, 28 August 2008 13:32 (twelve years ago) link
Cheyenne Autumn – yes?
― Roman Polanski now sleeps in prison. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 19 October 2009 19:40 (eleven years ago) link
Saw that once a long time ago, liked it but suffers from a lotta stars in redface (see way up above).
have you seen The Sun Shines Bright or Wagonmaster?
― Your Favorite Saturday Night Thing (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 October 2009 20:11 (eleven years ago) link
has anyone seen "Young Cassidy?" Started by Ford, then completed by Jack Cardiff after he fell ill. I have to say I'm intrigued by a film based on the life of Sean O'Casey with this poster
― Number None, Saturday, 14 March 2020 09:54 (eight months ago) link
Yes, it's not bad. Julie Christie is in and out of the film pretty quickly; Maggie Smith carries the rest. Nice location shooting in Dublin. Can't say I learned that much about the nature of O'Casey's work but it did make me curious about it.
― Josefa, Saturday, 14 March 2020 13:31 (eight months ago) link
Should say, yes, O'Casey is portrayed as rugged in the film, but as sensitive as well. It's not like just a parade of brawls. However, the scene I do recall most is the one indicated at top right of the poster - a street confrontation that is shot quite realistically and effectively.
― Josefa, Saturday, 14 March 2020 13:48 (eight months ago) link
It's about O'Casey?? But he's renamed Cassidy?
I note above that Ford to others referred to Wayne as 'DUKE WAYNE'.
Not Ford but I happened to see ROOSTER COGBURN (1975) yesterday.
― the pinefox, Sunday, 15 March 2020 09:24 (eight months ago) link
and thanks for the insight Josefa!
― Number None, Sunday, 15 March 2020 12:30 (eight months ago) link
I recorded that one off TCM but than that cable box died so never actually watched it.
― Lipstick Traces (on a Cigarette Alone) (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 15 March 2020 12:35 (eight months ago) link
Incredible to see W.B. Yeats in that trailer.
― the pinefox, Sunday, 15 March 2020 12:49 (eight months ago) link
I tried to watch How the West Was Won on TCM last night just to get to the Ford sequence but had to bail after about 15 minutes.
― coronoshebettadontvirus (Eric H.), Sunday, 15 March 2020 14:35 (eight months ago) link
On Twitter a couple days ago I saw a quote by some international arthouse auteur that The Long Gray Line is a "great experimental film," but now I can't find it.
― brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 15 March 2020 14:38 (eight months ago) link
I just don't think it works on a flat screen, a four-square western epic whose every frame looks like Seconds.
― coronoshebettadontvirus (Eric H.), Sunday, 15 March 2020 14:55 (eight months ago) link
― coronoshebettadontvirus (Eric H.),
Congrats! You beat me!
― TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 15 March 2020 14:56 (eight months ago) link
oh, youOn Twitter a couple days ago I saw a quote by some international arthouse auteur that The Long Gray Line is a "great experimental film," but now I can't find it.
― flappy bird, Sunday, 15 March 2020 15:21 (eight months ago) link
― brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 15 March 2020 15:34 (eight months ago) link
Been digging into my Ford At Fox box... recommend both the silent Four Sons and 1933's Pilgrimage as very different motherhood tales centered on World War I.
― brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 22 March 2020 06:45 (eight months ago) link
haven't seen "how the west was won" yet, but dave kehr raves about ford's sequence:
― (The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Sunday, 22 March 2020 07:00 (eight months ago) link
It's the best segment in the film, for sure.
The lead actress in Pilgrimage, Henrietta Crosman, gives a very strong and detailed performance as a Bad Mother who gets her son drafted and killed rather than see him marry. The film's about her redemption, of course, but to ultimately touching effect.
― brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 22 March 2020 13:07 (eight months ago) link
how's The Horse Soldiers? got the blu ray for $6 at a pharmacy
― flappy bird, Thursday, 2 April 2020 02:59 (seven months ago) link
Watched his What Price Glory recently, a weaker one with a handful of really beautiful moments (the girl singing to the soldier). the opening is particularly striking and nightmarish, a garish set of the aftermath of a horrible battle with a haunted, minor key military crew singing in the deep distance. again, it doesn't really come together as a movie, but even in these whiffs there is often a bit of the sublime.
― flappy bird, Thursday, 2 April 2020 03:02 (seven months ago) link
yay/nay on The Horse Soldiers (1959) ?
― flappy bird, Monday, 20 April 2020 18:29 (seven months ago) link
uploaded less than 2 months ago, I think recorded this year? PB looking OK
― flappy bird, Wednesday, 6 May 2020 06:20 (six months ago) link
Bird: THE HORSE SOLDIERS is wonderful. I've seen it about 4 times on TV. Probably one of my favourite Westerns and one of the Ford films I most admire. Curiously serious about war, and curiously packed with distinct scenes and set-pieces.
― the pinefox, Wednesday, 6 May 2020 08:45 (six months ago) link
Yes it is! I didn't know it came right before Sergeant Rutledge. You can see it coming, sort of.
THE LAST HURRAH: yay / nay?
― flappy bird, Friday, 7 August 2020 06:52 (three months ago) link
two months pass...ok, nobody reads my Spencer Tracy thread, but The Last Hurrah is worth it for the lead and its conviction as an old Irish machine-pol wake, in spite of Jeffrey Hunter and any scenes featuring actors born after 1905.― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, September 24, 2014 2:50 PM (five years ago) bookmarkflaglinkfrom TCM.com:Pat O'Brien recalled that on the set... Ford "would never talk the part you were playing, he'd just tell you what he wanted. 'I hope you can get it,' he'd say, chewing on that handkerchief he always had. When you failed, he'd say, 'That wasn't what I wanted. Try to get what I wanted. We're going to take another whack at it and it better be good.' And after you finally got it he'd come over and put his arms around you. 'Why the hell didn't you get it in the first place?' he'd say. Ford was the genius of them all. He was an artist drawing a portrait in oil."The only potentially disruptive incident that occurred during the filming was when someone showed up with a case of whiskey in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. Ford, who was a heavy drinker like most of the Irish cast and crew members, exploded in anger, "Jesus Christ, what do you want to do, shut down the picture?" and the booze was carted off.― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, September 24, 2014 3:12 PM (five years ago) bookmarkflaglink
― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, September 24, 2014 2:50 PM (five years ago) bookmarkflaglink
Pat O'Brien recalled that on the set... Ford "would never talk the part you were playing, he'd just tell you what he wanted. 'I hope you can get it,' he'd say, chewing on that handkerchief he always had. When you failed, he'd say, 'That wasn't what I wanted. Try to get what I wanted. We're going to take another whack at it and it better be good.' And after you finally got it he'd come over and put his arms around you. 'Why the hell didn't you get it in the first place?' he'd say. Ford was the genius of them all. He was an artist drawing a portrait in oil."
The only potentially disruptive incident that occurred during the filming was when someone showed up with a case of whiskey in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. Ford, who was a heavy drinker like most of the Irish cast and crew members, exploded in anger, "Jesus Christ, what do you want to do, shut down the picture?" and the booze was carted off.
― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, September 24, 2014 3:12 PM (five years ago) bookmarkflaglink
― flappy bird, Friday, 7 August 2020 07:02 (three months ago) link
I find it REALLY weird that he only made ONE movie about/set during the Civil War (the horse soldiers)
― flappy bird, Friday, 7 August 2020 07:28 (three months ago) link
A tremendous film!
― the pinefox, Friday, 7 August 2020 09:00 (three months ago) link
plus his segment in How the West Was Won
― brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Friday, 7 August 2020 11:52 (three months ago) link
TOBACCO ROAD! such a great B-side to Grapes. Amusing Gene Tierney performance as a very dirty, near feral young woman with only one line at the very end--"Yes, ma'am!"
― flappy bird, Sunday, 23 August 2020 04:58 (three months ago) link
Reader in the "Hey Bill" section of Bill James' website:
After the recent discussion here on "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," I wrote a letter to Vera Miles, who played Hallie, asking her about the points raised about her feelings for Tom Doniphon. She wrote back: "Never occurred to me to wonder if Hallie was going to hitch up with Tom in the absence of Ransom. In retrospect, I believe Tom (Duke) was the man of choice. (He didn’t care if she could read or not.)"
So if you have any questions on The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, you can write Vera Miles directly. Actual letter, please--no e-mail.
― clemenza, Wednesday, 23 September 2020 14:10 (two months ago) link
― flappy bird, Wednesday, 23 September 2020 16:34 (two months ago) link
Started Scott Nyman's massive PRINT THE LEGEND bio recently, trying to pace myself because it's so good (his SPEED OF SOUND is one of the best film books I've ever read).
I've been leafing thru the Ford bio for months now tho. I didn't know about April Morning, or the extent of his alcoholism, or the bucket he started having with him on set in his last years...
― flappy bird, Sunday, 27 September 2020 06:54 (one month ago) link
Thank you, Bill.
― flappy bird, Thursday, 22 October 2020 01:35 (one month ago) link
was coming here to post that
― Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 22 October 2020 01:48 (one month ago) link
Young Mr. Lincoln - 7/10Clouds of Sils Maria - 9/10Leningrad Cowboys Go America - 10/10Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses - 10/10i'm not sure you get John Ford, flapp― the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Sunday, June 10, 2018 12:53 AM (two years ago) bookmarkflaglink
i'm not sure you get John Ford, flapp
― the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Sunday, June 10, 2018 12:53 AM (two years ago) bookmarkflaglink
He was right. I'm glad I listened.
― flappy bird, Thursday, 22 October 2020 04:46 (one month ago) link
― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 22 October 2020 04:55 (one month ago) link
Love ya 4ever, Morbs aka Pappy <3
― SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Thursday, 22 October 2020 10:33 (one month ago) link
Just watched Riley the Cop (1928). A slight farce heavily dependent on Irish-American stereotypes, but the slight farce of a master. RIP Morbz.
― Infanta Terrible (j.lu), Thursday, 22 October 2020 23:48 (one month ago) link
the best moment in Mister Roberts is the dolly in on Jack Lemmon as he's reading the letter that says that Fonda is dead--going in and out of focus--was directed by Mervyn Le Roy (a retake, requested by Lemmon. Ford upbraided him some months later: "Thought you could do it better, EHHHH??")
― flappy bird, Friday, 23 October 2020 04:11 (one month ago) link
Only one of two movies he made in CinemaScope / 2:35:1. It doesn't look like a Ford film, unlike The Long Gray Line, although so much of it is stuck in that fucking ship, there isn't a lot to do, particularly with such a wide frame. Despite his dislike of the format, The Long Gray Line is a visually interesting and dynamic movie.
― flappy bird, Friday, 23 October 2020 04:13 (one month ago) link
For a while, this was on MOVIES! everytime I had lunch. Still haven't seen all of it, but the liberty sequence is amazing, and above that, the stand off between Cagney and Fonda is two legends being legendary at each other in the best way.
― "what are you DOING to fleetwood mac??" (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 23 October 2020 04:59 (one month ago) link
A slight farce heavily dependent on Irish-American stereotype
One thing about Ford is that his embrace of all sorts of offensive ethnic caricatures for comic relief very much included his own ethnic background, which is weird considering how big of an issue it was for him.
― Daniel_Rf, Friday, 23 October 2020 10:29 (one month ago) link
my darling clementine great as ever but i can't stop scolding all the characters for standing too close to doc
― difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 12:41 (one week ago) link
ha! They'll be alright...
Got a nice poster of that in the mail the other day
― flappy bird, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 17:01 (one week ago) link
Was shocked to realize, while reading Scott Eyman's Ford bio, that Walter Brennan only ever worked with Ford once, on My Darling Clementine. They did not get along...
Because Brennan keep asking Ford "you ever been bit by a dead bee?"
― the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 18:12 (one week ago) link
it’s a career performance too! his leaning thoughtfully over the reins in the first scene, framed so it’s just his head and the curve of a whip. his holding Walter Brennan Voice in quiet reserve until it’s time to say “marshal? in tombstone?!”
― difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 18:23 (one week ago) link
― An Andalusian Do-rag (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 18:24 (one week ago) link
Walter Brennan plays the deputy BUGS in Fritz Lang's first US film, FURY (1936).
He's not a wicked character but his actions, arresting Spencer Tracy's protagonist, do lead to disaster.
― the pinefox, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 12:07 (one week ago) link
got hold of that eyman bio on flappy's authority and lol @ this telegram from will rogers:
PUT THE NAME DR BULL ON OUR NEXT PICTURE. SOME HALFWIT SUGGESTED LIFE'S WORTH LIVING. NOW WE FIND THAT THEY HAVE TRIED TO HANG THAT TITLE ON EVERY FOX PICTURE SINCE OVER THE HILL. SO THEY FINALLY SAID GIVE IT TO ROGERS. LIFE'S WORTH LIVING SOUNDS LIKE A GRADUATION ESSAY. AS A MATTER OF FACT IF YOU DON'T MAKE SOME BETTER PICTURES LIFE WON'T BE WORTH LIVING
watched doctor bull the other day actually; ~resonance~ for sure
― difficult listening hour, Friday, 20 November 2020 20:21 (three days ago) link
framed so it’s just his head and the curve of a whip
(subtle elegance of this moment in clementine compares v well to the late-career brechtian spectacle of lee marvin ripping jimmy stewart's law book literally in two and then dramatically hoisting a knout into its vacated position in the frame, not that both these modes don't have their pleasures)
― difficult listening hour, Friday, 20 November 2020 20:29 (three days ago) link