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Archive for the ‘Ben Johnson’ Category

On December 2, 1958, under the watchful eye of DP Charles Lang, the big VistaVision cameras rolled for Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks (1961). It would be six full months — June 2, 1959, to be exact — before they stopped. A number of inserts and reshoots came later.

My book on the film isn’t taking quite that long. Not quite, anyway.

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The music label Cherry Red out of the UK has released (or is about to release) a 3-CD set Music From The Westerns Of John Wayne And John Ford. Featuring music from Stagecoach (1939), Fort Apache (1948), Three Godfathers (1948), She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949), Rio Grande (1950), The Searchers (1956), Horse Soldiers (1959) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). Of course, music is always a huge part of a John Ford picture, so there’s plenty of good stuff here.

Sometimes it’s the original soundtrack (Rio Grande, Horse Soldiers), sometimes it’s from other sources. You can see a track listing here. This promises to be a very cool set. Can’t wait.

Thanks to Mr. Richard Vincent for the tip.

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I tend to think of things in terms of movies. Several times a day, real life suggests something in some film I’ve seen at some point.

Temperatures have been through the roof here in Raleigh the last few days. Walking across a parking lot today, I was reminded of John Wayne carrying little Robert William Pedro Hightower to safety in Three Godfathers (1948). Ford and Winton Hoch do a masterful job of conveying the oppressive heat and desolation of the desert. In a Christmas movie!

Now, on to something else, because even thinking about Three Godfathers will choke me up!

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Ben “Son” Johnson, Jr.
(June 13, 1918 – April 8, 1996)

The great rodeo champion and Oscar-winning character actor Ben Johnson was born 100 years ago today.

I don’t have to tell you how great Ben was or point out how many terrific movies he’s in. All that’s kind of a given around here. So why not do yourself a favor and watch one of his movies tonight? Maybe Rebel In Town (1956), which the photo here is from.

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a-one-eyed-jacks-2

Directed by Marlon Brando
Starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Katy Jurado, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Timothy Carey

The AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD, will run the gorgeous 4K restoration of One-Eyed Jacks (1961) on June 30th and July 1st. Both showings are at 4:10 PM. A fine way to spend an afternoon.

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Ben “Son” Johnson, Jr.
(June 13, 1918 – April 8, 1996)

The great rodeo champion and character actor Ben Johnson was born 99 years ago today.

Rounding third on my One-Eyed Jacks book, I’ve watched the movie a number of times lately. Each time, I’m struck by how good Ben is in it, and by how his influence can be found in nearly every frame. Marlon Brando admitted that he patterned his performance after Ben, and pretty much every line of dialogue seems to have gone through the Johnson-ator.

Of course, he was always good, no matter how big or small the part.

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Directed by John Ford
Starring Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, Sal Mineo, Ricardo Montalban, Delores Del Rio, Gilbert Roland, Arthur Kennedy, James Stewart, Edward G. Robinson, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey, Jr., Denver Pyle

Cheyenne Autumn (1964) is a picture I’ve always wanted to see on the big screen, on film. And here’s my chance — they’re running a 35mm IB Technicolor print at the New Beverly Cinema on May 21 and 22. Shame it’s 2,554 miles from my front door.

Cheyenne Autumn isn’t Ford’s finest work, but it has plenty to recommend it — and it just might be William Clothier’s best work (he shot it in Super Panavision 70, which is why I want to see it in a theater).

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