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Archive for the ‘Harry Carey Jr.’ Category

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In a way, this is more a thank you note than a review.

Company Of Heroes: My Life As An Actor In The John Ford Stock Company by Harry Carey, Jr. is one of the best of the many books written about John Ford. I’ll even go so far as naming it one of the best books on making movies, period. To have it back in print, from Taylor Trade Publishing, is something to celebrate.

What makes it so good? Harry Carey, Jr. (or Ol’ Dobe, as he was called) was there. When he tells the John Ford stories we’ve heard before — the torture, the bullying, the hidden soft side, etc. — it’s with a depth that’s missing from all the other books (unless they quote from this one). His descriptions of Ford, from his dangling shirt sleeves to his body language, will ultimately add to your appreciation of his work.

Carey covers all the Ford films he appeared in, from 3 Godfathers (1948, shown below) to Cheyenne Autumn (1964), serving in Ford’s Navy film unit, and their personal relationship that spanned from Carey’s birth — Ford and Carey Sr. got drunk while Olive Carey was in labor — to Ford’s death in 1973. He pulls no punches, especially the ones aimed at himself, and relates everything in an easygoing style that feels like he’s telling you these things face-to-face. It’s very funny, often touching, a quick read — and I wish it was twice as long.

The new paperback edition has an prologue from Carey’s children. They seem as happy to have it back in print as I am. If you don’t have the 1992 Scarecrow edition, by all means get this one. Absolutely essential.

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The folks at ClassicFlix let me write for them every once in a while. Here’s a piece on John Ford’s 3 Godfathers (1948), a pre-1950 Christmas Western that I love dearly, no matter how overly sentimental and sappy you might think it is.

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It’s also one of the most beautiful color movies ever made. Easy.

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Paula has passed along some great news — Company Of Heroes: My Life As An Actor In The John Ford Stock Company by Harry Carey, Jr. will be back in print in December.

It’s one of the best books ever written on making movies, and it’s absolutely essential for fans of John Ford, John Wayne or 50s Westerns. Original hardback copies go for pretty big money, especially if you come across a signed one, so this paperback edition will certainly be welcome.

By the way, Carey’s chapter on filming The Searchers (1956) has been added to a recent paperback edition of Alan LeMay’s original novel. A very smart move on someone’s part.

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Director Allan Dwan’s career was as old as the Movies themselves, and many of the early technical developments were his doing. Going into the mid-50s, he was still making innovative, unique, personal films — usually for smaller studios that would leave him alone and let him do what he did best.

I went Wig City over Allan Dwan’s films of 50s, thanks to DVDs of his work from VCI, and that helped spawn this blog. So I was really stoked to hear about The Museum of Modern Art’s Dwan series — which will include several of those Westerns.

From the MoMA web site: The Museum of Modern Art presented a major retrospective of Dwan’s films in 1971, with Dwan in attendance, and while another exhibition was certainly due after 42 years, this series was prompted by the publication of Frederic Lombardi’s definitive study of Dwan’s work, Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the of the Hollywood Studios (McFarland, 2013).

If you can make it to any of these, by all means do so. The Westerns are:

June 14-15, 18
Frontier Marshal (1939)
With Randolph Scott, Nancy Kelly, Cesar Romero, John Carradine, Ward Bond.
This was once almost impossible to see (the bootleg tape I had of it was impossible to see). Another take on the O.K. Corral story. I prefer Randolph Scott with more age on him, but this is a really cool film.

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June 24-25
Woman They Almost Lynched (1953)
With Audrey Totter, Joan Leslie, John Lund, Brian Donlevy, Ben Cooper.
Dwan made a string of films for Republic that are worth seeking out (Olive Films, you reading this?), with Sands Of Iwo Jima (1949) being the best known. Dwan approaches this as a spoof — evidently, he didn’t see any other way — and the results are terrific.

June 29-30
The Restless Breed (1957)
With Scott Brady, Anne Bancroft, Jim Davis, Scott Marlowe, Evelyn Rudie.
Dwan’s last Western. A revenge tale gets a light comic touch.

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July 3,5
Tennessee’s Partner (1955)
With John Payne, Rhonda Fleming, Ronald Reagan, Coleen Gray.
John Alton’s Superscope cinematography almost steals the show, making the Iverson Ranch look like the most beautiful place on earth.

July 3, 6
Silver Lode (1954)
With John Payne, Dan Duryea, Lizabeth Scott, Harry Carey, Jr.
A key 5os Western, and the damnedest McCarthy comment you’ve ever seen. Again, Alton and his cameras roam the ranches of Hollywood to amazing results.

Be sure to look at the complete listing. I highly recommend Slightly Scarlet (1956), an incredible Technicolor, Superscope film noir shot by John Alton.

Thanks to Stephen Bowie.

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Sorry for the short notice, but the Newport Beach Film Festival is screening The Searchers (1956) tomorrow at noon at the Island Cinema. The event is sponsored by the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

Ethan Wayne and Glenn Frankel, author of The Searchers: The Making Of An American Legend, will appear before the film.

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Audie

We walked around Arlington National Cemetery this afternoon — it was a beautiful day. While there, we paid a visit to a few of our heroes.

We were told there was a desire to give Audie Murphy his own monument at Arlington. But in his will, he requested that he be buried just like his buddies.

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Lee Marvin is buried next to boxer Joe Louis. The nice lady in the Visitor’s Center knew exactly where Marvin was, rattling off his location (Section 7A, grave 176) in a split second. He’s a popular one, she says.

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Burt Kennedy is also in Section 7A (grave 15). Took these with my cell phone, so I apologize for the quality. Also, the subject line is lifted from Harry Carey Jr.’s book.

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Harry Carey, Jr.
(May 16, 1921 – December 27, 2012)

My fingers don’t want to type this, as if that would make it not so. Harry Carey, Jr. has passed away at 91.

Above, he stands between Ben Johnson and Ward Bond in John Ford’s Wagon Master (1950). It’s one of the best Westerns of the 50s, and Carey’s easygoing performance is one of its considerable charms. So many pictures benefited from his presence: Red River (1948), Three Godfathers (1948), Rio Grande (1950), Silver Lode (1954) and The Searchers (1956), to name just a few.

He was the son of silent cowboy star Harry Carey and a member of John Ford’s stock company (his nickname was Dobe). His autobiography Company Of Heroes is one of the finest books on Western filmmaking you’ll ever read.

As far back as I can remember watching movies, I’ve been aware of Harry Carey, Jr. So forget about this stupid blog. Go watch Wagon Master.

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