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FORT APACHE

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mrsl
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FORT APACHE

Postby mrsl » April 23rd, 2007, 8:10 pm

I didn't want to put this in the 'favorite John Ford' topic beause it isn't really my favorite, but I did want to comment on it.

First off, let me say there is something about the quadrille, or whatever it is in the beginning of the dance where they march around and increase the numbers with each line. I love the music and turn it up to a really high volume. Also, watching Shirley Temple grow up all day made me realize how beautiful she continued to be all through her teen years and up to adult hood. I always knew it, but today it really stood out.

I don't know if my eyes were closed or what but today was the first time I noticed the desert scenery in the spot where Wayne and Armendariz went out alone to make arrangements with the chief. What a terrible shame this movie wasn't in color!!!!

Seeing the women watching as the troops ride away really brings home the events of 'today'. I'm so glad I saw that documentary on John Ford because it brought out so much that I've learned to look for.

Anne

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Postby Lzcutter » April 23rd, 2007, 8:31 pm

Anne,

Glad to see that you enjoyed Fort Apache. I agree, I wish it had been done in color, but it was post war RKO and they didnt' have alot of bucks those years.

I love George O'Brien and Anna Lee (was she ever a beauty- I believe modern soap audiences know her for her long running role on General Hospital as Lila Quartermaine) in this film.

A must have in my book. I wrote about it earlier this weekend in Favorite John Fords because it is one of my runner ups!
Lynn in Lake Balboa

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Postby movieman1957 » April 24th, 2007, 8:59 am

This film is so steeped in the Cavalry tradition. One of my favorite scenes is when Fonda comes to Bond's quarters to take his daughter home. He pulls rank on Agar and Bond dresses down Fonda on the proper conduct he should show as Fonda is in his home.

The scene is very methodical, in its way polite and mostly it is proper. When Fonda realizes Bond is right he apologizes. A great show of respect all around even under difficult circumstances.
Chris

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Postby MissGoddess » April 24th, 2007, 12:46 pm

movieman1957 wrote:This film is so steeped in the Cavalry tradition. One of my favorite scenes is when Fonda comes to Bond's quarters to take his daughter home. He pulls rank on Agar and Bond dresses down Fonda on the proper conduct he should show as Fonda is in his home.

The scene is very methodical, in its way polite and mostly it is proper. When Fonda realizes Bond is right he apologizes. A great show of respect all around even under difficult circumstances.


I take particular notice of that scene every time I watch it. I just enjoy seeing the dynamics of the relationships between the men and their families on an isolated post. It's really fascinating. I like the dance scene, too---in fact, I look forward to all of those similar scenes in Ford's movies.

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Postby movieman1957 » April 24th, 2007, 2:33 pm

Ford was big on dance scenes (as I'm sure you know.) Nearly all of his westerns had them. They were a real sense of community for him. I always liked the dance scene in "My Darling Clementine." Fonda couldn't look more uncomfortable but it's what he'll do for Clementine. What a guy!
Chris

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Postby MissGoddess » April 24th, 2007, 2:52 pm

movieman1957 wrote:Ford was big on dance scenes (as I'm sure you know.) Nearly all of his westerns had them. They were a real sense of community for him. I always liked the dance scene in "My Darling Clementine." Fonda couldn't look more uncomfortable but it's what he'll do for Clementine. What a guy!


Yes, and he dances in exactly the same stiff manner in Fort Apache. Ford had a keen eye for the way individuals moved their bodies and what kinds of gestures they made, and used those to great effect.

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Postby MikeBSG » May 2nd, 2007, 10:23 am

I think this one is the best of the "cavalry trilogy." I like the Fonda vs Wayne conflict, which adds complexity to the cavalry vs. Apache plot. Wayne never had such a strong antagonist in the other two films. I like Fonda's farewell to Wayne, and the way Wayne's character has to keep the myth going in the film's last scene.

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Postby MissGoddess » May 3rd, 2007, 12:39 pm

MikeBSG wrote:I think this one is the best of the "cavalry trilogy." I like the Fonda vs Wayne conflict, which adds complexity to the cavalry vs. Apache plot. Wayne never had such a strong antagonist in the other two films. I like Fonda's farewell to Wayne, and the way Wayne's character has to keep the myth going in the film's last scene.


I agree with you about the tension between Wayne and Fonda---it helps to have two strong actors in such interesting parts. Each role becomes more sharply defined in relief against the other.

Which is why it is so hard for me to pick a favorite! The romantic in me is what pushed me to Rio Grande. :?

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Postby movieman1957 » May 3rd, 2007, 12:43 pm

The scene where the singers come around to sing to Maureen O'Hara is just lovely. The look on her face, thinking Wayne ordered it, is so warm. Wayne, looking embarassed because he didn't, is just as good. I even like the relationship between O'Hara and McLaglen is wonderful in its bizarre way.
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Postby MissGoddess » May 3rd, 2007, 1:00 pm

I love the Sons of the Pioneers sound. One day I want to get a cd of their songs. And Vic MacLaglen is priceless in RG.

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Re: FORT APACHE

Postby ken123 » July 4th, 2010, 1:08 pm

Fort Apache is my favorite Ford Western. It is also a very courageous film for its time - 1948. :D

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Re: FORT APACHE

Postby Lzcutter » July 23rd, 2011, 5:31 pm

I'm watching it on TCM this afternoon. I absolutely love George O'Brien as Collingwood in this film. His prickly relationship with Fonda's Owen Thursday hints at the back story that lies at the heart of Thursday's fundamental character flaw, always expecting others to take the fall for his own mistakes.

From the beginning, he underestimates everything not only about Fort Apache but the enemy as well. He cannot conceive that the Apache could be a stronger or more cunning enemy than the Sioux, despite Kirby's factual analysis of the situation.

The conflict between Thursday and Collingwood, though is one reason I watch Fort Apache when it airs on TCM because, like so many of his films, the hints Ford gives on the backstory are often as potent and intriguing as the main story he is telling.

Collingwood fell from glory before Thursday though I don't think it was from the same height. Something happened in their past. Did Sam take the fall for Thursday earlier in his career? Quite possibly. Given Thursday's ego, ruminate on this:

Collingwood got sent to Ft. Apache years before while Thursday rode to glory. Thursday didn't arrive at his overly ambitious, preening self late in life, it was likely always there and one of the things that separated him from the men both at his level and in his command.

Given his one-track mind it is likely that he rode to glory on the back of men like Collingwood and lord knows how many screw ups covered by other Captains before it finally catches up with him.

Reputation in the military is everything and Thursday was never one to cultivate the loyalty of his men. He expected it because of who he was, his rank and his station. (Compare that to Ward Bond's O'Rourke and Wayne's Kirby Yorke and even Sam Collingwood as well as Nathan Brittles in SWAYR, they all know you earn the respect of your fellow officers and enlisted men but Thursday never learned that lesson.)

Thursday ends up at this "tenpenny outpost" determined to ride the glory path out never realizing that the Western frontier calls for waging different way, never realizing that actually understanding the enemy you are fighting is key to winning.

Because where Thursday comes from, men like him know best and they refuse to listen to those who might be able to help them not be their own worst enemies.

Thursday sent Yorke back expecting Yorke to be the fall guy and Thursday would win the battle and ride back East on that glory train while Yorke got sent to another command even more "tenpenny" than Ft. Apache.

Fate, however, had different ideas and decided that it was time that Owen Thursday, like George Minafer years later, got his comeuppance and finally learned the lessons that were always there but that he had been too prideful, too arrogant, too sure of himself to listen to.

In the end, Yorke does what he does not to glorify Thursday as much as to honor his friends who had no choice but to follow Thursday's orders.

Unfortunately, men like Sam Collingwood and O'Rourke were collateral damage.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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Re: FORT APACHE

Postby JackFavell » July 23rd, 2011, 6:22 pm

Nicely said, Ms. Cutter!

I love the lines in the early part of the film, when George O'Brien as Collingwood speaks about the likelihood of his being promoted out of Fort Apache. He has sent in his request long before, and has been waiting for months to hear back. Finally he is resigned that he won't be hearing from them at all, and he says something like:

"We all know what the army thinks of me."

but then someone, John Agar I believe says, "but you know what the MEN think of you."

Later he does hear back but too late.... This to me is a glimmer of Ford's internal struggle with the military and power in general. Other movies like The Long Gray Line, They Were Expendable, and The Wings of Eagles also bring up this same respect but diffidence about life in the military. Ford focuses on common men and the struggle to toe the line within standard military operations, which can be a frustrating way of life. In fact, it can eat the heart out of a man, and destroy his family. It can also be the most rewarding experience of a man or woman's life.

I love Fort Apache the most of the movies in the "trilogy". The more I watch it the more I see it as a statement about the stupidity of racism. Whether it is Thursday's general demeaning of the Irish and Mexican under his command, or his and especially Meacham's more overt racist treatment of the Native Americans, the movie makes no bones about how evil and destructive discrimination can be in the military - which I believe Ford uses as a metaphor for the world.

For me the most moving part of the film is when Pedro Armendariz is translating Cochise's words to Thursday. Just the fact that someone is voicing the feelings of the Native American respectfully, and that it is, at the same time, translated by a Mexican American, who has been described as a literate, bright man...well, that makes me emotional. On top of that, the way Ford films it is so lovely, showing them against the blue American sky, how honorable these two men are, how much a part of the west they are.

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Re: FORT APACHE

Postby mrsl » July 24th, 2011, 12:05 am

.
Two equally fine posts, thank you both for a couple of great reads!!!

Lynn the one thing you mentioned that burns me is the unspoken back story in so may of Fords movies. Sometimes you WANT a flashback showing what went on to cause the stiff jaws and straight backs, and unfortunately he leaves you wanting. But then, that was his perogative wasn't it? Fort Apache is also my favorite of the trilogy. The first couple of times, I wondered why the fine eulogy to Thursday when he had been such a skunk, but I think, in addition to honoring the non-com's, the daughter, marrying the seargeant's son brought out some loyalty that her father never learned how to capture. With her sweet nature, and total lack of ego, nobody wanted to smash her love and admiration for her father and allowed her to continue her blind belief in him.
.
Anne


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Re: FORT APACHE

Postby JackFavell » July 24th, 2011, 8:15 am

That's a great point Anne. I wonder if Yorke would have gone ahead with his "tribute" to Thursday, though, if Thursday hadn't tried to do right in a small way at the end.


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