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John Wayne, Lest We Forget

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

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JackFavell
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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby JackFavell » October 1st, 2011, 3:52 pm

Red,

I always thought Stagecoach was the ultimate Saturday afternoon western, just guys riding around real fast and indians attacking the wagon train stuff. For some reason I couldn't really get into it much. But then I finally noticed what you just said about it - the weird expressionism of the camera work in scenes like the one you mentioned, the final shootout and during the childbirth scene, and it helped me to like the film much more. I started to see some deeper musings in the film and it made me appreciate it.

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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby Gary J. » October 1st, 2011, 4:24 pm

Wasn't STAGECOACH one of the films cited by Welles that he studied before he started KANE?
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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby MissGoddess » October 1st, 2011, 5:00 pm

Me, too, I used to think it was just good entertainment and storytelling. Now I think it shows a lot of care and even innovation. I was helped to appreciate it more by Tag Gallagher's video essay of Stagecoach on the Criterion DVD, he really dissects the camera setups and what they mean about the characters and how we see them. He makes comparisons to how Hitch would have shot certain scenes, and how Ford did. I wish the essay was online somewhere, it's so much more interesting than just reading an article or written critique.

It is a very complete example of Ford's work, too. Satisfying on several levels.
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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby JackFavell » October 1st, 2011, 5:59 pm

Yes, Welles ran Stagecoach over and over before making Kane.

I still haven't watched that Tag Gallagher piece. I bought the dvd almost for the supplementary material alone, and haven't watched any of it!

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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby MissGoddess » October 1st, 2011, 6:29 pm

Once you start it you'll get sucked in.
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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby JackFavell » October 1st, 2011, 7:12 pm

I just watched it! It's incredible! I cried.

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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby MissGoddess » October 1st, 2011, 8:53 pm

JackFavell wrote:I just watched it! It's incredible! I cried.

"Beyond the fence, anything is possible."


You made me want to see it again, it made me cry too. All the things about empathetic distance, the way the camera was placed, but most of all, how we see the characters (especially Hatfield and Lucy) was really a new way for me to look at the movie. I'm so involved now in Lucy's future...will she get swallowed up again? And I'm so drawn to Hatfield. He was so close to redeeming himself.

I love this idea of these "video essays". It occurs to me that they're similar to many of our rambles, just taken to another level. Gallgher evidently has done a few of them (not just on Ford but Ophuls, Hawks, Preminger and several foreign movies), but they're not all available on US DVDs. :(

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John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby JackFavell » October 2nd, 2011, 8:04 am

I was stunned by how dense this video essay was! Every sentence was loaded with thoughts that were so new to me..... I actually had to rewind and repeat many single sentences over again.

Gallagher's way of repeating a scene as we watch emotions come to the fore was quite moving. The movie is so full! It all struck me with the deep truth of Ford's films. They may be imaginings,or miracles, but they ring of profound truth. And I felt just a little proud when he mentioned that Ford was partly in the Romantic school of art, the idea of which came to me some months ago, all by myself!

As for "sympathetic space" - the way that everything happens in the space between the actors, I could feel that, but never realized it specifically before. That Lucy and Hatfield's relationship is "A series of looks." Amazing.

The most interesting to me was how Tag got into Ford's head, directing wise. Thinking about the way the camera was positioned (I've never ever thought about the specifics like this before- it's hard), not as Lucy's response, or viewpoint, but as more of an "all seeing eye" that subtly draws us in to see Lucy and Dallas as similarly trapped within their class... well that blew my mind! I tend to dismiss Lucy, because of her initial reaction to Dallas, but you could see her trying to decide if she should remain at the table - convention says "no", but she still struggled with it. On my last watch, It was the first time I noticed how pathetic Lucy is at the end, when she is caught in that web of respectability and drawn back into a world she now sees as false. She must either forget all that has happened to her, or live with the knowledge that she is a hypocrite. A terrible fate.

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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby RedRiver » October 2nd, 2011, 2:33 pm

Imagine seeing it in 1939. Holy ****! This is a cowboy show?

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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby JackFavell » October 2nd, 2011, 3:48 pm

Red,

I think Ford functions on so many levels, that I probably wouldn't have thought anything about the movie, even if I'd been around in 1939. It's taken me years to value this movie. Other Ford films have moved me immediately... The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance or The Prisoner of Shark Island, for instance, and HGWMV. I just didn't get what was special about Stagecoach. Other films didn't impress me on first view ( They Were Expendable, The Searchers). Sometimes, the story is so simple and what Ford is doing is so subtly complex, I only grasp the story at first sitting. I say to myself, "So what's the big deal?" ....When I go back to look again, there are these things that pop up, thoughts and feelings I've never had before, or mise en scene moments that suddenly jump out at me, maybe apparent only when I listen, or conversely, when I turn the sound down on the TV. It's like watching a whole new movie. Ford hides things in plain sight much of the time.

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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby moira finnie » October 2nd, 2011, 6:47 pm

CBS Sunday Morning had a feature on John Wayne this morning, focusing on the auction and interviewing Patrick and Ethan Wayne, as well as critics and fans. You can see the video and read a transcript here.
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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby MissGoddess » October 2nd, 2011, 7:28 pm

Hi Wendy,

JackFavell wrote:I was stunned by how dense this video essay was! Every sentence was loaded with thoughts that were so new to me..... I actually had to rewind and repeat many single sentences over again.


Yes, it's one thing to try to explain something in words, but seeing the clips and even the diagrams, just blew me away. It was like, for me anyway, taking a course in film making.

I felt just a little proud when he mentioned that Ford was partly in the Romantic school of art, the idea of which came to me some months ago, all by myself!


And so you should, I did think of you when I first saw this. I like the comparisons to music, to the paintings. It helps me understand what a movie can do, how it's made can be either mundane or artistic, moving, poetic.

The most interesting to me was how Tag got into Ford's head, directing wise. Thinking about the way the camera was positioned (I've never ever thought about the specifics like this before- it's hard), not as Lucy's response, or viewpoint, but as more of an "all seeing eye" that subtly draws us in to see Lucy and Dallas as similarly trapped within their class... well that blew my mind! I tend to dismiss Lucy, because of her initial reaction to Dallas, but you could see her trying to decide if she should remain at the table - convention says "no", but she still struggled with it. On my last watch, It was the first time I noticed how pathetic Lucy is at the end, when she is caught in that web of respectability and drawn back into a world she now sees as false. She must either forget all that has happened to her, or live with the knowledge that she is a hypocrite. A terrible fate.


He called her one of the "good bad men" of Ford's films, that was something new for me. She is certainly emerging as more enigmatic and interesting than before. That moment when she seems to weaken and give in to fear or despair, at the table after she's moved to the end. I wondered what prompted it and for the first time I noticed she does it after staring at Ringo and Dallas. She watched Ringo's solicitude and the way he served Dallas her food. I wondered then if it brought her husband to her mind, and suddenly how much she missed and needed him, how alone she felt. But then she pulls herself together. It's a great moment I never really paid attention to before! And I never thought before about all those women in his movies that crossed continents, determined to reach their goals. Gallagher really gives me a lot to chew on.
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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby MissGoddess » October 2nd, 2011, 7:29 pm

Many thanks, Moira, for posting the CBS Sunday Morning link! My friend called and left me a message this morning about it and I missed it. Loved the home movies. He always looks happiest when with his kids.
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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby JackFavell » October 5th, 2011, 7:16 am

I never noticed Lucy's depth either. When she is looking at Ringo and Dallas, I thought that Louise Platt was brilliant - there was such a mix of emotions on her face - what you said, yes - but also fear of being alone, wondering whether he'd be there at the end, or whether they could hold together. I think maybe a little guilt at her own behavior towards Dallas, she's so torn.... and just plain tiredness. I want to go back and look at Lucy, because I feel that there is something unspoken about her relationship with her husband. I wonder if they had been having problems before he left, and this is what motivated her journey more than just being the type of woman who can't be alone. I have to go back and look to see if anything is hinted at, or if I just made it up watching Tag's essay.

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Re: John Wayne, Lest We Forget

Postby Lzcutter » October 9th, 2011, 1:06 pm

There's a new photog exhibit in Los Angeles that focuses on John Wayne. The photographer was Wayne's good friend, Phillip Stern.

Here's a link to some of the photos:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/galler ... d-244620#1

Note, that one photo is misdated. The photo for The Undefeated should be dated 1969, not 1959.

But the photos are very cool!
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