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Archive for the ‘John Ford’ Category

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The Los Angeles Dodgers play their home opener against the Cincinnati Reds today.

It’s a tradition around here to mark the Dodgers first home game with this shot of John Ford sporting his Dodgers cap in Monument Valley. It’s one of my favorite, if not favorite, images to ever appear on this blog. It comes from Peter Bogdanovich’s documentary on Ford. (Sadly, we lost Bogdanovich this year.)

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Directed by John Ford
Starring John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers, Althea Gibson, Judson Pratt, Ken Curtis, Willis Bouchey, Hank Worden, Denver Pyle, Strother Martin, Hoot Gibson

When John Ford’s The Horse Soldiers (1959) first arrived on Blu-Ray (in 2011, if memory serves), it was a huge improvement on the old DVD, and there’s plenty of reasons to believe Kino Lorber’s new 4K restoration will be another leap forward.

The Horse Soldiers is a better picture than it gets credit for being, and getting better and better looking on video is a great way to crank up interest in it — and hopefully a bit of a reappraisal.

After a stuntman was killed on location, Ford lost his enthusiasm for the film and pretty much checked out on its completion — but even watered-down Ford is better than just about anything else you’ll see.

William H. Clothier’s cinematography here is, as always, top-notch — and should be stunning in this new restoration. A commentary from Joseph McBride will be a nice addition. Coming in June. Highly, highly recommended.

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Directed by John Ford
Starring John Wayne, James Stewart, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin, Edmond O’Brien, Andy Devine

Just saw that John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) is coming to 4K in April — the first Ford or Wayne picture to do so.

It’s hard to imagine this looking any better than the Blu-Ray, but who’s to complain? It’s one of the finest Westerns ever made.

Image swiped from John Wayne.

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Merry Christmas!

Here’s John Wayne and John Ford with Santa. There’s probably some Christmas spirits around, too.

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Happy Veterans Day.

Here’s Admiral John Ford of the US Navy to help us commemorate Veterans Day.

A huge thank you to all of you who have served. We can’t fully appreciate all you’ve done, but let’s hope we come close.

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I don’t read near as much fiction as I used to. Of late, my reading’s become largely focused on research for my own books. So when I was offered a copy of Robert Dwyer and Austin Wright’s The Sheriff, I was happy to have a reason to read a novel again.

Austin Wright proudly admitted to me that The Sheriff was influenced by a handful of key Western movies — one is Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962), pictures he’s loved since childhood. That alone got me interested.

The Sheriff is centered around Sheriff John Donovan, who founded the Texas panhandle town of Three Chop. He’s run the place for a good 20 years. But the times, they are a-changing, a sad fact that Donovan has to wrap his head around, fast. With a new century on the way, Sheriff Donovan’s community (along with the West as a whole) in a state of flux and his health failing him, some bad men make their way to Three Chop.

Over the years, the end of the Old West has proven rich for storytellers, both in print and on film. And as we’ve seen in many terrific Westerns (especially those from the 50s), you can use the Western as a framework for all sorts of commentary on all sorts of issues. (Quick example: the ton of McCarthy/HUAC allegory packed into 50s Westerns.) This end-of-the-West story has plenty to say — about everything from religion to mortality to progress to big business, and it does it without sacrificing action, pacing or authenticity. 

It’s so easy to recommend The Sheriff. It’s a big story about some big issues — leading to the big showdown. Click on the cover to buy one.

One more thing: being that Wright is an admitted John Wayne nut, does his sheriff’s name come from Wayne and Donovan’s Reef (1963)? 

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Few movies cover the honor and traditions of our military as well as John Ford’s She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949). So it makes a fitting image for Memorial Day.

“Lest we forget.”

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Play Ball!

I’m digging out the John Ford Dodger cap photo. That means baseball’s here — and the Dodgers have their Dodger Stadium opener today.

Ford was sporting the cap in Monument Valley while shooting Peter Bogdanovich’s terrific documentary on him. It’s one of my all-time favorite images.

So glad we’re getting more games this season — and I’d love another World Series! Go Dodgers!

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As we close the door on 2020, I’m not sorry to see it go. This has not been the best year for any of us.

But in 2020, as it’s been from year to year since the beginning, this blog and the folks who read it (and comment on it) have been a blessing — “just as sure as the turning of the earth.”

Thanks to you all.

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One of my favorite images in all of Cinema — John Wayne in John Ford’s 3 Godfathers (1948), shot by Winton C. Koch. He’s holding a baby (Robert William Pedro Hightower) and keeping the sun out of a dying friend’s eyes.

To me, this is a Christmas movie. To some, it just happens to take place around the holiday. There’s no snow, no Christmas trees, but the drunks in New Jerusalem sing “Silent Night.”

What do you think? Is 3 Godfathers a Christmas movie?

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