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Western Movie Rambles


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bonsoir, pardner! :D

 

> {quote:title=laffite wrote:}{quote}

> In recent days, two more Westerns, *The Lonely Man* and *The Stalking Moon*. I enjoyed both films but they have a dubious similarity, in fact, a very common one, I'm afraid. They both end with a showdown, a shootout, and I am coming to believe that there is a caveat emptor, so to speak, with Westerns (and probably all genre films) that entail the acceptance of conventions and realizing that they (the endings, in this case) may not hold with a general verisimilitude with life as we know it. Suspension of disbelief is necessary but, unfortunately, not without a grimace or two. In films like this I hope to learn not to rely on good endings (or ending that I would approve) but be happy at least with all that went before it, if it so merits. This was the case with both films.

>

 

So I take it you are now FrankGrimes in that the ending of the films nearly spoiled them for you? But you still found a lot to like. You guys and your endings! Well, I'm a fine one to talk because I have a problem with unhappy endings, and so many of my favorite films have tragic ones that it is a steady source of disappointment. Yes, yes, I know it's often perfectly suitable to end it that way and would be ridiculous, absurd otherwise but oh, I do need a certain feeling of happiness when I see "The End". Yet I revel in all these tragically ending films....a complete contradiction.

 

However, I can't say an ending to a movie has ever made any impact on my over-all opinion of the movie. I'm apt ....way more apt...to be critical of slow beginnings. Like tonight. I have never seen *The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly* and I still have never seen 4/5 of it. Because the beginning of this film just about drove me crazy. Two guys STARING at each other for ten minutes is NOT my idea of how to being a film. Especially after a lively opening credit sequence.

 

But back to your films...

 

>

> In *The Lonely Man*, Jack Palance plays a gunfighter who has called it quits and returns home to his grown son (played by Anthony Perkins). The son hates his father and tells him so without mincing words. Now, JackP has the look of a man who might take offense easily but I was interested to see that he takes it quite calmly that causes me to think, Whats up? It turns out that JP is on a mission, not that kind that is often the case---revenge, for instance---but something near quite the opposite.

>

> The story proceeds slowly but generated interest for me by the sudden revelations throughout the story of what has gone on in the past. It reminded me of how stage plays work. We see people acting and talking in real time and we are of course seeing the action unfold but the real emphasis and life blood of the story is what we learn about what has already transpired---back stories of the characters, for instance---and how it affects present behavior. Sometimes this results in more talking and less action (gunfights, etc) and how that comes across will depend on taste. But this is how I experienced this film and it sure worked for me.

>

> If you like horses, youll love the mustang sequences. No need of the past there, these were just beautiful shots.

>

 

I saw THE LONELY MAN about a year or two ago...long enough that I don't remember the details but I did like it VERY MUCH, and may even have written about it here. In fact, I liked it enough that it's one of my favorite "lesser known" westerns. I need to find that one and watch it again.

 

I have always enjoyed seeing men who typically played baddies, get a chance to play it straight. This is behind my fascination with Robert Ryan. I find that such actors bring a degree of unpredictability to protagonists and this alone can sustain my interest considerably. Palance (like Henry Silva) is so ingrained in my mind as a baddie, even more than Robbie, that it was truly a breath of fresh air to see him in such a part. I liked it better even than THE BIG KNIFE, where he is also a basically good guy. To see him in a western and not looking to blow some poor Southern boy's head off, is refreshing.

 

By the way, monsier le Pirate...have you seen SHANE? it is a necessity around these here parts. :D

 

 

> *Spoiler*

>

> *The Stalking Moon* opens with a well-done scene where a group of Apaches are captured by the US Cavalry. Among them is a white woman (played by Eva Marie Saint) who had been captured by and for the last 10 years lived with the Apache tribe. She has a son looking to be about that age. This was not a conquer and destroy type mission, it seems (if memory serves) that the Indians were treated with some respect and a proper disposition was being made for them. The woman makes an appeal to a man (Gregory Peck) who is just finishing service and making plans to return home in retirement. She needs to be somewhere and she wants him to take her there. He refuses but accompanies her to the stage depot where arrangement are made for passage to a destination that she knows nothing about. Its sad and there is a scene that tugs a little at the heart, showing the woman and child sitting on a bench waiting, a feeling of hopeless was there that I could feel. So could Gregory, he finally approaches her and talks with her

>

> Eva Marie Saint does well and is well directed. There is practically nothing left of whatever she must have been like. She is taut, expressionless, and a living picture of what the last ten years must have been like. She comes across, realistically I think, as an actual Indian squaw (or at least how they tend to be represented on screen). Her use of language is impaired, compared to what it might have been before her capture.

>

 

I like *The Stalking Moon*, but I can't say I love it. I think everyone does a great job, though I'm not quite as enthused by Eva's performance. I agree with everything you say about her, though...she is on target and quite believeable. I guess I just wanted to jettison reality a bit for more personality and mouth. I can't help but think that too often the movies portray "squaws" (white or native) as being impossibly quiet and meek. One of the funniest side notes I ever read on John Ford was about one of the cowboys in his early westerns who was married to a native american who beat the crap out of him so that he often couldn't work the next day due to black eyes, etc.

 

i can't help but think to survive in such altered circumstances, a white woman would have to be pretty tough and spunky. But maybe I'm wrong.

 

Have you seen TROOPER HOOK? I recommend that one as being based on a somewhat similar plotline, starring Joel McRea and Barbara Stanwyck as the former white captive with a son. Rodolfo Acosta magnificently plays the boy's father.

 

> Gregory, of course, is brilliant and carries the movie. But Eva did her part and an unusual relationship ensues between the two. I was more interested in them than in other aspects of the story and I would have liked to see a little more made of them. There is a brief role, a "breed" (half-breed) who is fluent in English and Apache, with a passion for poker, and who gives the kid a lesson in a game of stud, stuffing a cigar in his mouth to boot. Amusing.

>

 

I loved his friend! He was terrific. And I did like seeing the relationship develop between Eva and Greg. And between Greg and the boy, whose trust he needed to gain because the boy just worshipped his father.

 

> The main conflict is the existence of a sort of Super Apache, who, acting alone, is so formidable that he can apparently destroy whole villages and train depots, killing any and all humans in the environs. We see little of him but we get ample testimony from those who still breathe and can still talk. Oh, and theres a connection between him and Eva. I wouldnt have thought that a cumbersome white guy, even the great Gregory, would be any match for such a redoubtable foe, but

>

 

That's a great point about how the boy's father has an almost super natural presence. He's here, he's there...he's everywhere! I would like to have seen him more three dimensional, as I believe Acosta's Nanchez was in TROOPER HOOK. A real man who really wants his son with him. But there is something spooky and interesting about how THE STALKING MOON handles it. Different.

 

> Of this recent spate of Westerns, I think the best ending for me is *The Bravados*. The action, the gunfights, etc., took place earlier in the film and the ending had more to do with character, right and wrong, and was very pensive. *Ride the High Country* was much like that too, but made a lesser impression on me.

>

 

i actually don't remember the ending of *the lonely man*, but I think I am with you that *the bravados* is the best of them all. better than *trooper hook's* ending, too. :D

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> {quote:title=laffite wrote:}{quote}

> *MissG*, please recommend some Ford. Even I'm aware of some of the titles but point me in the right direction. I've seen *My Darling Clementine*, but to my chagrin, I cannot remember the actual gunfight. I recall being put off a little by the alterations to what is commonly accepted as truth of the legend but I know that I must get by that and accept the story, as is, in order to see the movie on its own merits. What I remember most is Henry Fonda and his Wyatt. I wouldn't have cast him in that role but I remember liking him very much. Henry's voice can be boyish and whiny sounding at times and I wasn't sure he could be a "tough guy." But the early scene with Doc Holiday (Victor Mature) showed me a lot. Victor's entrance was a bombshell for me, so powerful. He commanded the screen and I would have expected Vic to dominate poor Henry in that encounter at the bar. But no. Henry stood up to him and was convincing doing it. This may sound ridiculous but I was proud of Henry. I thought, wow, way to go, you did it! Henry is a great actor and I don't condescend, it's just that I thought that his wasn't his type of role. But it is. I should put *Clementine* on my list.

>

 

Oooh, ME TOO about Fonda! For the longest time I could never think of him as "tough", at least not in an imposing way. Then I "re-discovered" him as the tough as they come Wyatt in *My Darling Clementine* and for the first time saw the cold blade of steel that inspired Leone's decision to cast him in *Once Upon a Time in the West*. Because this man (Wyatt) looks to me like he'd kill a man without a second's hesitation if he thought he had to. And he projects the dead sure confidence that he is ABLE to do what he is so willing to do. It's one thing to act tough, another to add a level of believability in his competence to accomplish it. Something about his cat-like way of moving, his level gaze, his unruffled demeanor, just seems to shriek formidable (that's the FRENCH word).

 

And this despite that twangy midwest voice. :D

 

Oh, but there are so many, many, many things I love about *My Darling Clementine*...I can get quite tiresome to discuss it. I think it's a cowboy tone poem. An old west song. It moves like music, it's so lyrical I forget this is actually a treatment of the "OK Corral" legend. I love that Ford throws away literal sticking to facts and gives us a work of art instead. If you can forget about history, and bask in the authenticity of the characters...and the texture of old west life that is completely believable yet touchingly idealized...you can get lost in a masterpiece. Even with a girl named "Chihuahua". :D

 

*My Darling Clementine* is a feast for the senses and one of the most beautiful black and white westerns ever made.

 

As for other Ford westerns...I guess you should really try the seminal *Stagecoach* and *The Searchers*. Whatever your feeling is about John Wayne, I think to see him play two sides of the same coin would get past any trepidation (if you have it) and the richness of the stories and visual pleasure will carry you even further away from any hesitations. In other words, both are RIDES that you should take and enjoy.

 

After that, if you are still curious, watch Fonda AND Wayne in *Fort Apache*...or START with this one because you will see the "passing of the baton" so to speak, as Fonda gives pre-eminence away to Wayne as Ford's most consistent leading actor. This transition is uncannily built right into the plot of the movie.

 

Last bu NOT least, my second favorite movie of ALL time, regardless of genre, is *The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.* I've written literally ten million words on this movie and won't rouse a collective groan by going into it again why I love this movie so much and why it makes me cry ten thousand red rivers.

 

Oh, yes and you should watch Hawks' *Red River* when you get a chance! :D

 

But watch *Shane* first. I believe George Stevens is the director who comes closest to Ford in style and point-of-view.

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Howdy there, Mr. Pirate Guy... :D

 

I see you are already in good hands here with some VERY fine Fordie recommendations. (I too would echo Miss G for Stage Coach and The Searchers.. two of my all time favorites) But I like the recommendations for TMWSLV and MDC too. Realy.. you can't go wrong w/ any of the four of them.

 

I also like the three cavalry films (not really a "trilogy" exactly but often referred to that way) Ft Apache, Rio Grande, and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.And truly.. for the whole "Fordian western" experience.. all three of them are excellent choices, so I would heartily recommend them all, but if I had to pick a fave among the three of them.. OH it would be hard.. but I would go w/ Ft Apache. (simply because Fonda's role in that one just STANDS out so much. OH my golly what a piece of work that Thursday is, ha)

 

And PS: I like what Miss G said about him "passing the baton" to Wayne in that one, too.. (but then I am a huge Duke fan, myself)

 

Another more recent favorite of mine (within the last couple of years) is Three Bad Men. WHAT a story. We had a HUGE old ramble on that one in Miss G's Movie Rambles (Sr.) thread a long while ago.

 

(And PS: Ollie's non-western recommends sound good too.. The Informer is a TERRIFIC film and in fact, The Long Voyage Home is one that I have yet to see myself as well.. it has been on my wanna see list a while)

 

So gee.. it looks like you are in pretty good shape for a mighty fine Foridan film fest,sir... ha. What time should we all show up???????? HA!!!! (I'll bring the popcorn!!) :D

 

Oh.. and PS: in the "non-Fordie" category.. definitley... the ones Miss G and Movieman have mentioned already such as Shane and Red River are TRULY great westerns.. and there are some really good Anthony Mann's out there too (that I am only starting to appreciate myself) And getting back to the Duke.. OH me.. don't even get me started on The Big Trail.. or Hondo.. or... ha.. Ok.. I will stop..

 

Sigh.. So many westerns.. so little time.. ha.

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Hiya Rohanaka...hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanxxgiving.

 

"Oh, but there are so many, many, many things I love about "My Darling Clementine"...I can get quite tiresome to discuss it. I think it's a cowboy tone poem. An old west song. It moves like music, it's so lyrical I forget this is actually a treatment of the "OK Corral" legend. I love that Ford throws away literal sticking to facts and gives us a work of art instead. If you can forget about history, and bask in the authenticity of the characters...and the texture of old west life that is completely believable yet touchingly idealized...you can get lost in a master-

piece..." - << (( MissGoddess )) >>

 

Whoa.

 

< Ahem! > Now let me get this straight. Am I to understand that in your real life...your personal life...away and apart from this Message Board...you do NOT earn a living as a professional writer?

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I too love Roha's comment about "basking in the authenticity of the characters". That's really what films need to do to connect into me - have authentic characters, and then maybe I can like or dislike them on that basis.

 

FORT APACHE is my least favorite film to watch because Fonda's character is so despicable, such a worthless waste of this planet's oxygen supply. And he knows it, too.

 

And Victor McLaglen "We've a man's work ahead us" scene with his troopers is one of my favorites in film history.

 

YELLOW RIBBON and RIO GRANDE are superb. I wouldn't mind holding those two up as "all the Westerns you'll ever need" but with this thread's writers, it's obvious there are dozens of other Absolute Requirements to watch before achieving nirvana.

 

THE BRAVADOS, huh? Jeepers... I almost hate reading about so many more films to watch.

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I too love Roha's comment about "basking in the authenticity of the characters

 

Whoops, Ollie.. as much as I like to "bask" (especially in the glow of adoration from others, HA) that well worded and totally praise worthy quote belongs to Miss G. (I only WISH I could write half so well) :-)

 

PS: .FORT APACHE is my least favorite film to watch because Fonda's character is so despicable, such a worthless waste of this planet's oxygen supply. And he knows it, too.

 

Oh golly, Ollie.. ha. You hate it and I love it all for the same reason!! ha. Fonda's Thursday would DEFINITLEY be at or near the top of my list (if I HAD a list, that is) of Movie Characters that I LOVE to HATE the most. ha. (There ya go, Grey Guy.. another list topic for you.. run with it, buddy) :-)

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I'm with the PeaceMaker...Col. Thursday is a "love to hate" character. :D Actually, I can't even hate him altogether, because he's not an evil man, just SUPER egomaniacal. I mean, probably the most egotistical character this side of my laptop. ;)

 

And you write wonderfully, Ro. The only thing that needs improvement...is you need to wriite more often. :)

(And I should write less.)

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probably the most egotistical character this side of my laptop

 

What.. did you loan Frank Grimes your laptop?????????????????????? :P:P:P:P:P:P:P

 

And I should write less

 

Perish the THOUGHT, little darlin'!!!

 

And PS: thanks for the praise.. but alas. I have way too much evidence to the contrary (in the form of oh so many typos, dangling participles, and a HOST of other poorly structured sentences) against me, ha. :D

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> {quote:title=rohanaka wrote:}{quote}

> probably the most egotistical character this side of my laptop

>

> What.. did you loan Frank Grimes your laptop?????????????????????? :P:P:P:P:P:P:P

>

 

Perish THAT thought and bury it!!!!!!

 

>

> And PS: thanks for the praise.. but alas. I have way too much evidence to the contrary (in the form of oh so many typos, dangling participles, and a HOST of other poorly structured sentences) against me, ha. :D

 

Well if we're going to drag grammar into this I am DUST. :D

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MissG, you SHOULD have received my Brownie points for that comment. Does anyone expect me to read everything with accuracy? And THEN trust my fingers to choose between the massively long "MissG" spelling versus the more efficiently-typed "Roha"?!!

 

Heck, I can save 20% of my keystrokes if I blame/accredit "Roha" with everything! (CM's lucky everything isn't her fault, according to my typing efficiency rules.)

 

Col. Thursday is not a character I love to hate, though. I just hate him. And the film's closing scenes where he's honored. Lordy. I hate that part, too. It too is "traditional" for the Service to honor any fallen officer, psychotic mass-murdering obstinant idiot that he was.

 

Ford's choice to include this scene is pretty interesting to me. He could have chopped that ending off and left it with the massacre.

 

But was he pounding the stake in Col Thursday's heart for us to clearly see?

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.

I have to agree with you about the Colonel Thursday speech, and his glorification. I hated him also, and really thought the end should have been when they talked about the 'famous' painting (if you look closely and quickly, you'll see John Waynes' very, very fast frown), and instead of going into the speech, he should have just put his hat on, and walked out, then introduced the family. It wasn't necessary for him to say anything about the Colonel, although his speech was about the common foot soldier and cavalry, not the leaders.

 

Anne

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*Col. Thursday is not a character I love to hate, though. I just hate him. And the film's closing scenes where he's honored. Lordy. I hate that part, too. It too is "traditional" for the Service to honor any fallen officer, psychotic mass-murdering obstinant idiot that he was.*

 

Ollie,

 

Granted, the film does end up glorifying Thursday at the end (which is an interesting note considering the whole "legend becomes fact, print the legend" idea that Ford would explore with incredible depth in *Liberty Valance* but the coda at the end that Wayne gives is not for Thursday. It's a tribute to all who lost their lives following his orders even though they knew it was fool's errand at best.

 

It's for Collingwood and O'Rourke and all the others. If the truth had come out about Thursday, York was worried that it would tarnish the memory and reputations of the men who died, his friends and comrades, and their loss would be forgotten in the damning of Thursday.

 

I

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Lynn, you comment that "had the truth come out", others would have suffered. Yes, but that's only a fictional value for that final scene. I think Ford calculated a real effect this scene would have on the audiences: indignation. Even outrage. "Honor HIM?!! That fool? He practically murdered his troops!"

 

Ford didn't have to organize the mutiny against Bligh - he only had to show the events and let the audience see the gratuitous, almost blindered Honors Process that is 'tradition' when covering up The Brass' "foibles" such as assigning a disgraced, unwanted-at-HQ officer to some hideous, far-distanced outpost against enemies he knew nothing about and would certainly refuse to learn or observe any experts' experienced wisdom.

 

The fictional results were predictable. Ford's insertion of the traditional cover-up honors, I think, is pretty interesting. Something tells me Ford wasn't a big fan of The Brass.

 

I also think it's interesting to have John Wayne display disgust at the ceremony, yet carry on the tradition as well. I'm not sure what "storming out" would have accomplished - being assigned to that location was obviously punishment to the highest ranking officers. It's not like he was going to run off with Shirley Temple to her next ambassador assignment.

 

This film raises so many of my strongest dislikes, and that's why I don't like to watch it. Ever. But I do. And they never listen to me, either - I have clearly screamed loud enough that they SHOULD have heard me. Yet, it's always the same - they act like they can't! Du-uh... I swear... they might be worse than our park's cats who refuse to obey the simplest of soccer rules. Blasted critters.

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>Oh, but there are so many, many, many things I love about "My Darling Clementine"...I can get quite tiresome to discuss it. I think it's a cowboy tone poem. An old west song. It moves like music, it's so lyrical I forget this is actually a treatment of the "OK Corral" legend. I love that Ford throws away literal sticking to facts and gives us a work of art instead. If you can forget about history, and bask in the authenticity of the characters...and the texture of old west life that is completely believable yet touchingly idealized...you can get lost in a masterpiece..

 

Okay, not to overdo it?but this quote needs an encore. It?s a dazzling passage and it shows just how good one can get (in your case, *MissG*, how one can be even better still) when writing about a movie (or anything) that one loves.

 

But it also reminded me of something.

 

Read this, *MissG*

 

*?I cannot define poetry in any of its forms, it's just a feeling, a certain almost lyrical way in which the movie is paced and presented. It has such a personal rhythm and cadence that reminds me of poetry. Scenes travel into one another in a way that is utterly unique (I'm not referring to the editing, I'm referring to whatever it is the mind of the man who made the movie that influenced the decisions regarding how to film and place each scene in relation to the others)"*

 

You should recognize this passage, *MIssG*, because YOU wrote it (about two years ago) and, yes, you were talking about MDC. I copied and saved it at that time because I was immersed in a different movie---no obsessed with, shall we say---that your words seem to describe so well. I watched this movie about seven times in 10 days (as I recall) and I didn?t mind watching the same story over and over because it was just so flawlessly done. The scene transitions were so clever and natural, following seamlessly from one to another, that there was that rhythm and music you describe. You say it much better. And you make a wonderful point about the editing---it?s not that, rather someone?s (in the case Director Charles Sturridge I assume) conception and execution, like a composer creating a piece of music.

 

It?s *Where Angels Fear To Tread*, a Brit period piece from ?89, one of my favorite movies. You, *MissG,* might watch this and feel that your words above do not apply, but those words meant a lot to me because I can relate to them so well with a specific movie that captures me.

 

All of this to say that I?m looking forward to MDC again. It?s on my short list along with *Fort Apache.* I have skillfully avoided some of the recent comments about it although I couldn?t help notice a comment or two about what a bad guy Henry Fonda is. Really? Now I can?t wait :)

 

I want to comment a bit about all those fine recommendations but I have no time now. Le Pirate doit aller a son travaille,

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Ollie,

 

I often like to think what would have happened if Ford had made a real follow up to *Fort Apache* with Kirby Yorke on the eve of retirement with honest honors and the whole Thursday mess comes back to haunt them all as the truth finally comes out (along with Yorke's hand in the mythology).

 

But then perhaps Ford wouldn't have made *Liberty Valance* and that would be a high crime against film(in my opinion) if that film hadn't been made or if the story it told was different.

 

Ford liked the military and he liked the rituals of the military but I think he always identified with the regular army types and not "the Brass".

 

His "Cavalry Trilogy" is his valentine not only to the western frontier but to the men who made it safe for those who came west in search of their slice of the American dream.

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_Ollie -_

 

I'm with Roha.....

 

Everything you say you dislike about *Fort Apache* make it my favorite of the cavalry stories. Ford explores the dark side of military protocol, power without common sense, and the ruthlessness of history, and I find it deeper in theme than the other, more personal films. I find it's viewpoint thrilling, especially considering the year it was made.

 

_Laffite -_ To my simple and limited knowledge, Ford was actually very much a military man, with a great respect for those who served and made it to the top echelons. However, he also had a questioning, searching mind, and a profounder respect for individualism. He was more interested in the common man as a leader, I think. MissG would have a better take on his feelings about the military. I personally don't think his feelings are mutually exclusive of one another - just that he wished for a military of men who knew when to be rugged individuals, and who also knew when to pull together for the good of the troop or the country. I think he liked to imagine a military made up of strong minded individuals who knew how to make informed decisions, looking at all sides of a situation. For the good of the group.

 

One thing you should know before going into the "Cavalry Trilogy" ( *Fort Apache*, *She Wore a Yellow Ribbon*, *Rio Grande* ), is that these movies are not actually related to one another, except in the fact that they are all cavalry stories. Some of the names are similar, but they are not really the same people, except in the most general sense. To me they are like a series of short stories, and the author used the same types of characters, same name, but took them in different directions, placing them in one unrelated situation or another.

 

I usually recommend *My Darling Clementine* and *The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance* to people who are not westernly inclined. They are both movies I completely fell for long before I watched any westerns.

 

And I do hope you get to the *Informer* too, although it's not a western.

 

I am really enjoying your posts. :D

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Oh, Laffite, you do me too much credit...I'm in pretty auspicious company here and can tell you that there are much better writers here than I ever could think of being.

 

Like you were with *Where Angels Fear to Tread*, sometimes a film (or anything else inspiring) can really cause you to spill out your feelings in words so that it isn't really conscious...the feelings are writing themselves. Kind of like they have no where else to go so they burst out! :D

 

Thank you for sparking a very interesting flurry of posts because it's so wonderful and amazing to me how often we can go back to the same films time after time and find still more to talk about. Nothing better than when someone comes to them "fresh", too.

 

I eagerly look forward to your impressions of the Ford films, whether favorable or otherwise, because it's sure to continue this interesting conversation.

 

Ollie - that *fort apache* can provoke such strong feelings from you is a testament to the film's power. i love it! :D

 

P.S. I just got back from seeing *The Grapes of Wrath* on the big screen. Oh my goodness, what a gorgeous print. I think the last time I saw it, it wasn't the restored print because I don't remember it being so pristine. I bawled like a baby, of course. What an applicable film to today's situation.

 

Edited by: MissGoddess on Nov 27, 2010 6:29 PM

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Oooh, a follow-up to FT APACHE? With this incident coming back to haunt? I REALLY like that idea. Of course, if the 'price' had been as you suggested, I'm with you - to heck with follow-up's, gimme LIBERTY or... well, never mind.

 

I like to guess what the filmmakers' value the scene-impacts on audiences, not just on the story. I find myself giving higher marks to classic filmmakers, too - which is rather sad. Have I become so jaded by today's menu-driven use of gratuitous scenes? "Predictable" is a frequent-enough criticism, but some films seem to go out of their way to insert unpredictable moments. It's like they've opened their homework lesson and found the passage, "Predict where to be unpredictable..."

 

FT APACHE (and MY DARLING CLEMENTINE) have predictable elements. So what? Is the tale engaging or not? Can I bask in those characters? Is the tale so substantial that, 50 or 60 years later, someone can offer a dreamed follow-up scenario?

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MissG, my strong dislike for watching FT APACHE is difficult for me to analyze. I like so many films with great villains - LIBERTY VALANCE is a perfect example.

 

But at least we get to see him killed off. We look forward to it. We cheer.

 

But with Thursday, I feel frustrated - I'm not allowed to cheer for someone to pull out a gun and kill him. He's not gunned down in some alley after beating his wife. He's not on a train where Poirot ends up with a dozen suspects. There is such a frustration with the Villain Thursday, therefore, and I have a feeling this fuels my complex dislike for watching this film.

 

I might give John Wayne a Favorite Performance Honor for his character, by the way.

 

MissG, whatever you do - don't start reading any of Steinbeck's works. Or if you do, find some of the bad ones that won't tempt you to read another, and another, and another. Like, don't start with OF MICE AND MEN. Or RED PONY. Or CANNERY ROW. Because all the Steinbeck roads lead me to GRAPES eventually.

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Jackie, what you wrote was brilliant. You, Lynne and Ann said it all about how I feel on *fort apache's* ending. I think Ford took "the long view" and that's why it ends so ambivalently on the subject of Thursday..and so clearly focuses our attention back to the men that served under him.

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>

> But with Thursday, I feel frustrated - I'm not allowed to cheer for someone to pull out a gun and kill him. He's not gunned down in some alley after beating his wife. He's not on a train where Poirot ends up with a dozen suspects. There is such a frustration with the Villain Thursday, therefore, and I have a feeling this fuels my complex dislike for watching this film.

>

 

Let me ask you this. What did you think of the moment where Thurday sent young O'Rorke back, rather than permit him to join in the melee at the climax? I ask because I still hold out this idea that there was a spark of humanity in him, and that, in his own harsh way, he looked to his daughter's happiness at that moment. So many villains never show this shred of decency. Ford's true villains usually have no shred of decency (Valance, the Cleggs, the Clantons) but he does have these characters that crop up which challenge us to see them as flesh-and-blood men, not monsters. John Carradine's "Hatfield" in *Stagecoach* is another one of these, and even "Scar" in *The Searchers* cannot be said to be an out and out villain. At least no more so than we'd think Ethan was...and most of us do not.

 

It's funny really, because I have very strong personal convictions about the military, yet when I watch Ford's movies about the institution, I don't really see the institution or the violence it carries out, but the humans and their struggles with the conflict between preserving a way of life and perpetuating its destruction. Ford was pro military and even pro war if he felt it was his duty, and yet the concept of war itself was anathema to his humanistic side and above all his films declare he was always on the side of life and tolerance.

 

> I might give John Wayne a Favorite Performance Honor for his character, by the way.

>

 

It's a stunning example of his ability to be very internal with his acting...because he's not given a heck of a lot to do except act frustrated with Thursday. This is very similar to me to his "Sean Thornton" character in *The Quiet Man*. Rarely is he in this position in any film outside of those with Ford.

 

 

> MissG, whatever you do - don't start reading any of Steinbeck's works. Or if you do, find some of the bad ones that won't tempt you to read another, and another, and another. Like, don't start with OF MICE AND MEN. Or RED PONY. Or CANNERY ROW. Because all the Steinbeck roads lead me to GRAPES eventually.

 

I read The Red Pony and attempted most of the others...without being able to finish them. He is too grim for me. In fact, I avoided the move, *the Grapes of Wrath* for years because I just didn't want to deal with the subject. My feelings are similar toward Dickens.

 

Edited by: MissGoddess on Nov 27, 2010 7:18 PM

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