172-175 John Ford at Columbia 1935-1958

Discuss Blu-rays released by Indicator and the films on them.

Moderator: MichaelB

Message
Author
User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: 172-175 John Ford at Columbia 1935-1958

#51 Post by Drucker » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:42 pm

SpoilerShow
I think it kind of works? We easily identify with Tracy throughout, as the opponent is such a putt how could he win? His doing so helps spotlight how significantly time has passed us by. I really think the Cardinal’s observation helps cement that. Besides, he’s not in that many scenes!

Calvin
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:12 am

Re: 172-175 John Ford at Columbia 1935-1958

#52 Post by Calvin » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:26 am

The Last Hurrah was my least favourite film in the set. There's undoubted corruption surrounding him, but Ford depicts him as almost entirely innocent, being (wilfully) ignorant of what his staffers are doing. When Skeffington is shown to abuse his power, it's for the benefit of the vulnerable. And, as domino says, his rivals are bigoted caricatures and it's pretty obvious who Ford wants us to root for without really getting into the meat of the argument.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 172-175 John Ford at Columbia 1935-1958

#53 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:16 am

Rayon Vert wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:27 pm
The Long Gray Line (Ford 1955). The story of Martin Maher, an Irish immigrant who wound up having a 50-year career at the West Point academy. There are resemblances with The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp; in both cases a military man’s life against the backdrop of a half-century’s wars, a redhead as his love interest, and with a tone of comedy giving way progressively to one of more gravity, revealing the film at end to be meditation on the passage of time and a life’s journey. The shifts between the comic and dramatic tones are even sharper in Ford’s film, which can be seen also to portray the feelings appropriate to the spring and autumn of a human life. The film isn’t anything like Blimp’s equal, but there is a certain thematic poetry in the terms described if you try to be sensitive to that aspect, and which gets manifested in a moving moment at the film’s end.
I finally got around to watching The Long Gray Line and remembered nothing about it so this might as well have been a first viewing. I absolutely loved it, and as it stands may be amongst my favorite Fords (I know it's sacrilege to say, but I liked it more than The Quiet Man, which I still love). RV's writeup here sums up my feelings almost exactly. Scanning various thoughts here, the seasonal shifts in tone felt a lot more fluid and consistent to me than others, and although I agree that the polarized extremes (especially the comedic) are more drastic here than in other Fords, the movement between moods actually struck me as more organic as the film developed, the way making light of a situation is sandwiched in pathos, and vice versa. It may be a strange comparison, but I was reminded of Mood Indigo's narrative structure in how the wacky theatrics of blind love and bachelor antics transform into something more raw, grounded, and real. Though here the pattern mimics how our memory functions in recollecting our experiences, or eras of life, in a skewed-to-purified one-note feeling of fondness when the stakes were low, and more complexly unresolved when life became challenging and we were forced to hold multiple significant truths of contrasting emotions more consistently for the long haul.

It's a beautiful looking film and a beautiful thematic film that redefines the meaning of family to sublimate loss with the potency of reciprocal love from and towards important, supportive people in our lives. Like the aforementioned Blimp, the balance of surrendering to an attitude of humility and exercising empowerment of the self to promote one's own wisdom publicly, is depicted with gentle validation. Ford's characters are so dignified and caring, especially in a late scene during the parade between Martin and his wife, that as far as I can remember it's the most tender dramatic scene I've seen in a Ford film. The fact that this film also had some of his funniest and most clever just two hours earlier makes this a remarkable feat, even for the man who can seamlessly blend these diverse sentiments across his work. But I'm clearly the odd man out in believing this to be not only an even-handed progression, but a rhythm completely in step with the film's thematic purpose as expressed in its narrative design and eclectic vibes evoking cumulative wisdom- which Ford knows includes seasoned emotional intelligence and experience more than anything.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 172-175 John Ford at Columbia 1935-1958

#54 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:13 pm

I didn't read anything about The Whole Town's Talking before watching, so I was pleasantly surprised to find Ford taking a shot at screwball right off the bat. I found the first ten or so minutes to be inspired and set up to emulate a subdued genre entry with soft laughs, which would have been great if it had sustained such a momentum, though the comic juice is already half-dry by the time Ford and co shifts gears. Jean Arthur's perf is so good that the early sections still work as they (sometimes clumsily) try to balance tones because of her witty provocations. You can see the mechanics in her brain at work through responsive facial tics as the character readies continual quick, lofty retorts in the police-questioning, and this extra layer of nonverbal expression is a joy to watch and unexpectedly welcome great comic acting, outshining any of the constructed gags Ford as thrown our way. Unfortunately the back half doesn't succeed nearly as well as other uneven-by-design screwballs (The Lady Eve being the obvious example, though I'm mostly alone in preferring the back half of that one!) and the excitement from potential fizzles out by a definitive margin. Still, it's a fine film from Ford doing something different, just one that could have been much better.

Post Reply