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John Ford

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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tinker
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Re: John Ford

Postby tinker » July 7th, 2014, 8:56 pm

Paula

Thanks for the notification. Its nice to have another twenty days to look forward. That is a lovely, lovely essay and I never did notice before the reason that scene on the gate worked was because they were in sync, dancing almost. Or exactly how Ben vaulted onto Steel, especially the hand on his (Steel's) chest. Its such a simple thing to keep the horse under control. The man was a HORSEMAN. And Ford was a genius for realising how such a simple thing was a great moment.

As for the scene with the colt, I think Ford had a thing for them. There are two colts all the way through Wagonmaster. One attached to a big grey mare and the one used in the scene up the bank. It must have been a pain for wranglers to deal with mares and foals so you have to assume that Ford really wanted them in the film.

I recall that in the beginning of Stagecoach for no reason except subtext I assume, not that Ford would appreciate the use of such a word, there is a paint mare being ridden up the street with a paint foal . And of course there is the donkey foal in Three Godfathers. In all three films the foal is shown running ahead of the mare (Jenny in Three Godfathers.) I wonder what it means. I don't believe it was an accident three times. Curiously Howard Hawks pinched the idea for the beginning of Rio Bravo.

dee
But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. (William Butler Yeats )
How did I get to Hollywood? By train. (John Ford)

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pvitari
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Re: John Ford

Postby pvitari » July 8th, 2014, 7:46 am

Lee has posted his second essay on Wagon Master, this time looking specifically at Ben and his performance. :)

http://21essays.blogspot.com/2014/07/be ... aster.html

Krell Labs hasn't updated its page yet with any new links for today but I'm keeping an eye out. Any thoughts on Silver Screenings' negative take on The Sun Shines Bright?

http://silverscreenings.org/2014/07/06/ ... aux-piety/

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Re: John Ford

Postby MissGoddess » July 8th, 2014, 9:48 am

so far i've only read one essay, i will have to make time soon to just curl up and read them all. i hope they don't ever remove this index of the articles. or maybe i need to copy them all.

i wish the writer who posted about "The Sun Shines Bright" would have expanded on her points, written more. it's hard to watch this movie with a contemporary filter---there is of course much wrong with the old south and its attitudes and of course Ford is of a generation that was paternalistic in both good and bad ways. but false piety? no, Ford was anything but pious! spiritual, yes, pious, no, ha ha.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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Re: John Ford

Postby pvitari » July 8th, 2014, 12:53 pm

The crucial scene in The Sun Shines Bright takes place in the courtroom when Stepin Fetchit realizes that Elzie Emanuel is about to get himself in big trouble with the white authorities, and convinces him to do what the white men (including Judge Priest) want, and he starts to sing (I think it's to sing, I haven't watched this in a while). Elzie's moment of not giving them what they want or responding the way they want could result in him being hung. For a second the mask is off Fetchit's face and you realize what's really there underneath and the pressure and fear he and the other members of the African-American community live with every second of their lives in this supposedly genial Southern town. If you look at the movie with that scene in mind, it takes on a whole other hue. Even Judge Priest's paternalism doesn't seem quite as benevolent. Ford is VERY subtle here and in 1953 most people probably just saw that scene as humorous.

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Re: John Ford

Postby MissGoddess » July 8th, 2014, 1:14 pm

While it's been some time since I watched it, I do remember that moment...excellent point.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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Re: John Ford

Postby pvitari » July 9th, 2014, 6:42 am

Lee Price's essay today, about the Mormons as imagined by Ford for Wagon Master, is terrific -- I think it's my favorite so far of his Wagon Master essays. ;)

http://21essays.blogspot.com/2014/07/wa ... -land.html

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Re: John Ford

Postby moira finnie » July 9th, 2014, 1:44 pm

Actually, I am among those who does not care for The Sun Shines Bright due to Ford's maudlin treatment of a corrupt society. The bright spot for me in it are Francis Ford's moments, not John's behind-the-scenes work. I realize that the director may have been depicting life as he wished it were, but in this case, it bordered too much on the nightmarish.

Christy aka Sue Sue Applegate wrote her essay for this week's Ford blogathon on the timely topic Maureen O'Hara and John Ford's Way with Women--with a nod to our friend David Meuel's book, Women in the Films of John Ford. Christy's piece can be seen here: http://suesueapplegate.wordpress.com/20 ... ith-women/


Please click on the image below to see details on all of the posts being featured in the Ford blogathon celebration this week:

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pvitari
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Re: John Ford

Postby pvitari » July 9th, 2014, 10:45 pm

If I got upset over maudlin displays of corrupt societies, I wouldn't be able to watch many of my favorite old movies. ;) At least Ford lets the mask drop for that nano-second in the courtroom.

No, the part of The Sun Shines Bright that gets the steam puffing from my ears is the funeral procession. The staging/shooting of it is just incredible, it's incredibly moving -- and it infuriates me, because most of the locals who join it wouldn't give Dorothy Jordan's character the time of day when she was alive.

Jonathan Rosenbaum's thoughts (there are quite a lot of them); ) on The Sun Shines Bright.
http://www.rouge.com.au/7/sun_shines_bright.html

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Re: John Ford

Postby pvitari » July 10th, 2014, 9:49 am

More Ford blogathan links today at Krell Labs. :)

http://krelllabs.blogspot.com/

Lee Price's essay today at 21 Essays is about John Ford's close relationship with the Navajo people, who for once actually played Navajos in Wagon Master, rather than the Apache and Comanche they usually played in his films. ;)

http://21essays.blogspot.com/2014/07/jo ... untry.html

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Re: John Ford

Postby MissGoddess » August 20th, 2014, 12:35 pm

Simply superb argument for the relevance of J O H N F O R D:


http://www.film.com/movies/he-was-not-e ... importance
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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Re: John Ford

Postby tinker » August 20th, 2014, 8:07 pm

That is a terrific article
That, ultimately, may be Ford’s greatest “sin,” that he does not make films for teenagers nor undergrads, something that places him totally out of fashion with the current marketing strategy of film production. His films require experience and the patience that comes with it, something so few directors strive to reproduce anymore, even in films condescendingly marketed toward older audiences


Ford I think asks the audience to move form passive watcher to participant. He expects us to feel what his characters feel and undestand those feelings without being hit over the head with tedious exposition. I remeber in the remake of Stagecoach it took a long rather stupid converstaion about hair pieces to establish a rapport between Ringo and Dallas which Ford did by having them look at each other, no dialogue.

I do think however that Ford in inviting the audience into the story can make them very uncomfortable, and this is a particular problem for current audiences because they are confronted with feeling very strong and negative emotions, instead of being casual observers. We all laugh at Marty's unfortunate Indian wife until faced with her tragic and possibly heroic death. Ethan's sexual anger and racism are not disconnected from the audience, they feel it and may be forced to even admit to sharing it.

Much more comfortable for some modern audiences to try and put time and space between them and dismiss the film as racist. I also think that the vision of a tragic romance between two mature people is another source of discomfort especially as it is presented with sexual overtones. Martha sniffing that coat is pretty overt, more disturbing because it is followed by such a chaste kiss. More disturbing because of the nature of her death and Ethan's growing mad obsession with Debbie's sexuality without any shield for the audience.

To me sex on the screen is often very disconnecting, Ford's presentation of sexuality and its darkness in the Searchers and some other films such as How Green was my Valley is disturbing because you do connect with the characters. Even the Major and Mrs Allnut's very overt affection for each other in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, can make you feel a little like you saw your parents doing something you should not have. Ford's audiences are not casual observers. Seeing bad or disturbing things from a distance is one thing, experiencing them is something else.


dee
But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. (William Butler Yeats )
How did I get to Hollywood? By train. (John Ford)

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Re: John Ford

Postby MissGoddess » August 20th, 2014, 8:21 pm

ah, tinker, you should write a book.

that's precisely how i feel when watching his movies. i'm part of the journey the characters are on, i can feel, taste, smell and really fully immerse myself in the emotions they feel as they react to life. this isn't the result of "realism" (as understood by cineastes) but by the most delicate, concerted artistry. It explains so much his oddness, anger and combustibility as a man. when i see what he invests in every scene on the screen, i wonder how he didn't destroy himself as a young man as many other artists had who contained within themselves an unending tumult of ideas bursting to be born.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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tinker
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Re: John Ford

Postby tinker » August 21st, 2014, 6:55 am

ah, tinker, you should write a book.


I am but not about Ford. However if you ever want to try writing something on Ford I'm up to sharing the experience with you :D

that's precisely how i feel when watching his movies. i'm part of the journey the characters are on, i can feel, taste, smell and really fully immerse myself in the emotions they feel as they react to life. this isn't the result of "realism" (as understood by cineastes) but by the most delicate, concerted artistry. It explains so much his oddness, anger and combustibility as a man. when i see what he invests in every scene on the screen, i wonder how he didn't destroy himself as a young man as many other artists had who contained within themselves an unending tumult of ideas bursting to be born


I understand what you mean. I agree that question it does explain much about his artistry but then it leads to even more questions about how he understood it all. Not being born John Wayne, I am not sure I could ever answer them. Lord I wished Peter Bogdanovich hads pushed the Duke when he slipped that he was playing Ford in Stagecoach. We might have got a few answers we don't have.

Its the artistry that gets to me because other people have tried to say similiar things as Ford but somehow not managed it.I ofetn come back to Man who shot Liberty Valance, to get some inkling of why Ford kept going. If he had ever bothered to explain why Tom Doniphon kept going for thirty years when his life was destroyed around, we may have understood (A little) why Ford did.


dee
But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. (William Butler Yeats )
How did I get to Hollywood? By train. (John Ford)

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Re: John Ford

Postby MissGoddess » August 21st, 2014, 7:22 am

If he had ever bothered to explain why Tom Doniphon kept going for thirty years when his life was destroyed around, we may have understood (A little) why Ford did.


oh my goodness...that just sends me to yet ANOTHER level for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a movie we never seem to hit bottom on around here (and at TCM). :D :D

i definitely believe directors---the real creators, not just the jobbers---put themselves in their films. I believe everything you want to know about Ford the man is in his films. People have been very quick to make the connections between Hitch and his films or even Howard Hawks, but it's rather amusing how few do so with Ford and his works. I think because he is much, much subtler. His way of "hiding in plain sight", as I often like to call it, gives the superficial what they think is a "hook" for their reactive back-lashing while in reality he's laughing in his sleeve at how off the mark they can be. If you don't look (Look) close enough, you won't really see a John Ford movie, you'll just see a pretty good Hollywood film.

When I get settled in Hawaii, maybe we'll tinker with that book idea. :)
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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tinker
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Re: John Ford

Postby tinker » August 21st, 2014, 6:01 pm

When I get settled in Hawaii, maybe we'll tinker with that book idea.


Its a deal, the end is in sight of this accursed doctorate for me. I think we have a them, finding Ford in Ford

Hawaii wasn't that one of Ford's hangouts?

dee
But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. (William Butler Yeats )
How did I get to Hollywood? By train. (John Ford)


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