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William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers - Real Cowboy


MissGoddess

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>Now I do confess that I found Connecticut Yankee a bit "silly' but I mean that in a fun way, ha. It was QUITE silly near the end w/ all the modern machinery coming in to save the day, ha... but again.. it was fun (sort of in a "Keystone Kop-ish" kinda way.) And you are right.. OH that Myrna.. she was LOVELY (even if she was playing "rotten" ha.)

 

I enjoyed this movie. Since it was made 1931 I made no particular demands (I think I underestimate these early talkies sometimes) and proceeded in relax and enjoy mode. What choppy, who noticed? :D Some of the gags were funny getting progressively sillier and anachronistic all along. I even liked some of the tableaus, distant shots of castles, for instance, though they were no doubt large photographs or cardboard makeups. Some perhaps miniature made of clay, some of those castle-shattering explosions were cool, in an elementary sort of way. Some of the archaic, pseudo-Shakespearean language was pleasing to me. ?Foul traitor!/Spawn of the Devil/I know thee no for what thou has ever been/Thy heart is black/Thy soul stinks with evil? says King Arthur on the scaffold. ?Thems beautiful words, King, and just what I?ve been trying to think of what to call that guy ever since I met?em,? is Martin?s not-so-Shakespearean rejoinder. This is the first time I?ve seen Will Rogers in a movie and I like him. If this is the basic persona of Will on the screen it works very well in a movie like this where the setting is so far removed from his own. I like my Myrna in ?rotten mode.? She was even a little titillating (I won?t elaborate on that). She is not all that convincing as a meanie though. Oh Myrna, I know you too well. :)

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going back and watching Doc Bull again last night, I was struck by Ford's visuals of the Connecticut town..... Speaking as a CT -er, it definitely has the feel of New England, but is almost more New Englandy thanthis place really is... an uber-New England! I am wondering if it is a little closer to Maine , where Ford grew up, than Connecticut, or if in imagining it taking place some years earlier, Ford was able to create this beautiful dreamy, make-believe town of New Wilton.

 

One thing I absolutely loved were his interiors - did anyone else notice how small the rooms were? Usually in Hollywood films, the rich and poor alike live in rooms the size of a soundstage, and grand palatial art deco style rules the day. These rooms, even in the Widow Cardmaker's home were tight and appointed simply, just as the historic homes are here in my neighborhood. Though the Widow's home was more elegant than Doc Bull's, there was nothing much different about the homes themselves.

 

Ford's first and last shots of the movie show his mastery as a director even at this early point. Did anyone else notice that the train stopped for the camera? One foot off, and they would have had to retake the entire first scene, which never cut away from that first set-up. Ford had the camera positioned so that the train pulled up, the porter hopped off the train, and spoke his first lines to the woman picking up the mail. They continued talking for a few minutes, all without ever stopping for an edit.

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bonjour, M. Le Pirate!

 

>

> Some of the archaic, pseudo-Shakespearean language was pleasing to me. ?Foul traitor!/Spawn of the Devil/I know thee no for what thou has ever been/Thy heart is black/Thy soul stinks with evil? says King Arthur on the scaffold.

 

:D I'm sure it can't compete with the colorful piratical language of the seven seas, but

I admit this was the most vituperative King Arthur I think I ever saw depicted!

 

> ?Thems beautiful words, King, and just what I?ve been trying to think of what to call that guy ever since I met?em,? is Martin?s not-so-Shakespearean rejoinder. This is the first time I?ve seen Will Rogers in a movie and I like him. If this is the basic persona of Will on the screen it works very well in a movie like this where the setting is so far removed from his own. I like my Myrna in ?rotten mode.? She was even a little titillating (I won?t elaborate on that). She is not all that convincing as a meanie though. Oh Myrna, I know you too well. :)

 

I'm so glad you liked Will...did you get to see Doctor Bull by any chance?

 

Don't blame you about Myrna, she looked mighty fetching in her pseudo Medeival gowns cut to swath her lovely figure most becomingly. I think she is soooo beautiful.

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Hi Jackie!

 

Leave it to you to notice the details of the mise-en-scene. Now you mention them,

the interiors were definitely less "Hollywood-perfect than many films can be. I thought

it interesting Doc slept in the front room there, right in front of the door (where the

unfortunate Andy Devine could just come right in and bother him...oh what a naughty

character...he almost as funny a hypochondriac as Rock Hudson in Send Me

No Flowers. :D )

 

I never would have caught that about the train! The only thing that really stood

out was the hilly-ness of the town...that was unusual, I thought. And the streets

were realistically covered in snow, not perfectly cleaned. Also, the opening shots

of the townsfolk walking up the hill to church reminded me of the later village scenes

in How Green Was My Valley...a movie which also criticizes the small minded

gossips and self-righteous. So many of Ford's films really go after gossips, one wonders

if it was Hollywood's gossip mill that provided the grist? Or memories of Portland life?

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>I'm so glad you liked Will...did you get to see Doctor Bull by any chance?

 

Nay...but I must needs do so...anon :D

 

...I've just checked the DVR and to my horror I have *Doubting Thomas*, *Life Begins at 40,* *Too Busy to Work, Down to Earth, and Dr Bull.* Yike!!! I didn't know I recorded that many.

 

Well, I won't watch them all, I'm sure. And there is only so much space on the DVR.

 

I will watch at least two of them. Would you care to recommend?

 

*Dr Bull* and ____

 

(I will keep all until I have seen the two...in case I get Willmania and want to watch them all. :)

 

Thanks

:)

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I stupidly didn't record *Down to Earth*, and it's one that I don't have and never saw.

 

My favorites of the bunch are *Doc Bull* and *Too Busy to Work*. The latter film has a little bit of sadness mixed in with the humor. The story reminds me of Ford's silent comedy, *Just Pals*. It's actually a remake of an earlier silent Will made called *Jubilo*.

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I have had a case of the lazies this week - I've been avoiding anything that took any effort. Here goes nothing....

 

I did stay up and see my first Will Rogers ever - just never had the chance before. I would like to see a WR silent now.

 

Here's what struck me -

 

Will's great head of hair.

 

His beautiful eyes - what color? anyone know? - they looked light to me.

 

I got to see him sing, dance, ride and rope - even though none were westerns.

 

Funny that in one movie, they show two twin beds for Will and wife - but showed Will and his son in a double bed together. I thought that was funny for the times.

 

Will Rogers had a ton of Confidence - he just looked easy and comfortable all the time. I guess what he was was what you got - the real deal and nothing else. I would think that came from all his long years of experience and hard work leading up to where I finally see him in films.

 

Happy New Year to all, and JackF - I'm here - this has been a really busy late summer and autumn for me - now I get to take it a little easier. Always good to see your writings.

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>Will Rogers had a ton of Confidence - he just looked easy and comfortable all the time. I guess what he was was what you got - the real deal and nothing else. I would think that came from all his long years of experience and hard work leading up to where I finally see him in films.

 

Will Rogers is new to me as well. I?ve seen two films, *Connecticut Yankee* and *Dr Bull.* After the first one I was reluctant to draw any conclusions about him because it was such a farce, he was supposed act the way he did, etc?but with the latter he plays more the ?contemporary? man in a setting to match and I felt I got a better take.

 

In *Dr Bull* he is immensely likable, not only because he does good things but because of that persona. There is so much humility there that it?s just too hard not to like him. As I get to more of his films--- *To Busy to Work* is next---it will be interesting to gauge how he comes across. Is he the same person in every film?or does he make adjustments (however slight) depending on who?s he playing. Normally the charge of playing yourself in every movie is considered pejorative but if Will does do this---the jury is still out with me---he may be one who can absorb that dubious distinction more gracefully than others might.

 

In the intro to *Dr Bull*, *Mr O* said that John Ford gave Will a green light to rephrase certain lines to his own liking (not to freely ad-lib, he had to stay on script) and this may have contributed to how well he comes across. And if so, thanks to Mr Ford who, as I gather, was not necessarily so flexible in such matters. Thank you, Mr Ford, for lightening up on this one, you did good. :)

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Hi, cinemafan!

 

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

> I have had a case of the lazies this week - I've been avoiding anything that took any effort.

 

That sounds like me every day! :)

 

> Here's what struck me -

>

> Will's great head of hair.

>

> His beautiful eyes - what color? anyone know? - they looked light to me.

>

 

I think Betty, his wife, wrote in her biography that his eyes were blue, but I haven't double checked that.

 

I like his puckish face and pointy ears. He resembles a cowboy-gnome sometimes. :D

 

>

> Will Rogers had a ton of Confidence - he just looked easy and comfortable all the time. I guess what he was was what you got - the real deal and nothing else. I would think that came from all his long years of experience and hard work leading up to where I finally see him in films.

>

 

Even when he was faced with a situation that was out of his league (like King Arthur's court), he didn't stay thrown for a loop for long. Before you know what's happening, he's found a way to turn things to his advantage. You should see *Steamboat Round the Bend*, when you get a chance.

 

Great to see you posting again. :)

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  • 2 months later...

For anyone in the New York City area, a rare upcoming opportunity to see a Will Rogers film, and arguably his finest, on the big screen. Anthology Film Archives is doing an interesting series called *Auto-Remakes* about directors who remake their own films. They'll be showing *Judge Priest* followed by *The Sun Shines Bright* with Charles Winnenger in the Will Rogers role.

 

http://anthologyfilmarchives.org/film_screenings/series/36952

 

NY Times article on the series:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/movies/auto-remakes-directors-series-at-anthology-film-archives.html

 

Other directors in the series include Raoul Walsh (High Sierra/Colorado Territory), Howard Hawks (Ball of Fire/A Song is Born), Ernst Lubitsch (The Marriage Circle/One Hour with You) and of course, Alfred Hitchcock (The Man Who Knew to Much 1934/1956).

 

I hope to go.

 

Edited by: MissGoddess on Mar 11, 2011 12:38 PM

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"I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat."

 

I'm so glad this thread has resurfaced. I missed it the first time. Will Rogers is the person I most admire. There were better writers. Better actors. But Will was the real deal. A cowboy, about two thirds Cherokee, "We didn't have birth certificates in the Indian territory. We figured if you were standing there, that was proof enough that at some time in your life you must have been born."

 

Most important, he seems to have been a decent man. As you indicate, Miss Goddess, FDR named him Ambassador of Goodwill as his radio broadcasts alleviated the desperation of so many during the depression.

 

In James Whitmore's adorable tribute, he remarked that Will was the only comedian to have a statue in the nation's capitol. Of course, the inscription reads, "I never met a man I didn't like."

 

When I was young, my friends wanted to be Joe Namath, Mick Jagger or Clint Eastwood. I wanted to be Will Rogers. Thank you, Miss G, for an exceptionally well written post. It's brought back so many memories.

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> When I was young, my friends wanted to be Joe Namath, Mick Jagger or Clint Eastwood. I wanted to be Will Rogers.

 

I never met a Red River I didn't like! I'm so glad you popped in and shared your thoughts on Will. How extremely unusual you admired him from the start...my discovery is shamefully late and I was born in Oklahoma. :0 I don't think I saw my first Rogers film until five or six years ago and before that he was the name of a park in L.A. and a vague, folksy icon I couldn't quite place. My loss, because there's probably no other figure in the entertainment business I can say has my unqualified admiration and affection.

 

I have a book he wrote about being in the hospital, a short, humorous thing that helped in the past year when I had some illness issues. I experienced first hand in this respect how he was able to cheer people in times of distress.

 

Do you have a favorite Will Rogers movie, Red-Will (not Danagher)?

 

I do believe he was the real deal and I regret the world lost him so soon.

 

I can't wait to see him on the big screen in a couple of weeks.

 

Will in 1924

1924.jpg

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It's not so much from movies I like him. I like the folksy witticisms. Some of the writing. Mostly, it's the persona. The "cowboy philosopher." The fact that he could make a serious or spiritual point, but make it in good humor.

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

> It's not so much from movies I like him. I like the folksy witticisms. Some of the writing. Mostly, it's the persona. The "cowboy philosopher." The fact that he could make a serious or spiritual point, but make it in good humor.

 

I hear you. He was so charismatic and as you say, his sharp and perceptive comments made their point but didn't draw blood. Such a rare, rare quality. I love reading about him. I have about five biographies, including those written by family and friends.

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

> There is a Will Rogers museum in Claremore, OK.. A great place to visit. Remember Claremore from the the movie "Oklahoma"?

 

Hi condo! Actually I don't...is that the name of the little town in the musical? I haven't seen it all the way through since forever. I bet they were saluting Will, then, if they included it.

 

Everywhere in the world Will would travel, he'd be greeted off the plane by crowds of people and one of the first things he'd say is "Anybody here from Claremore?" Even if it was Timbuktu. :D

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

> Even the film, THE WILL ROGERS STORY is entertaining. Maybe not a classic. But an interesting little curiosity. If you like the subject, how bad can a biography be?

 

I saw that was on TCM not long ago, I was unable to watch it all. His son played him.

 

3261493674_d3141b2332.jpg

 

You mentioned James Whitmore, I believe. Funny, every time I see Whitmore, I think of Spencer Tracy, not Will. I never knew he played him so often on the stage.

 

I wish TCM would do one of its interstercials on Will. :)

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Oh dear, now I can't see the screen for tears. You hit on many reasons *Too Busy to Work* is one of my favorites. I LOVE the ending shot. It reminds me of Ford but even more of Chaplin. In fact, the whole story and character reminds me of Chaplin. Especially that flower scene. Thank you for posting those. :)

 

That line about parades, Will liked to use a similar one alot when asked about his fame.

 

So did you like it?

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I LOVE the ending shot. It reminds me of Ford but even more of Chaplin. In fact, the whole story and character reminds me of Chaplin. Especially that flower scene. Thank you for posting those. :)

 

Yes, I immediately thought of Chaplin's "Tramp" with the closing shot. I did not think of Ford, but it makes sense since Jubilo is like Ethan Edwards, at least in Too Busy to Work. Like Ethan, Jubilo feels he must move on. He's left to wander.

 

toobusytowork13.jpg

 

The "cemetery" scene is what I felt was most Fordian. And Jubilo is on the outside of that.

 

That line about parades, Will liked to use a similar one alot when asked about his fame.

 

I like it. It makes perfect sense. We need our failures to make the successful feel good.

 

So did you like it?

 

Yes. I didn't expect the subplot. That was interesting. But I liked the main story the most, of course.

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TOO BUSY SPOILERS TO WORK

 

I didn't think you'd like it!

 

> Yes, I immediately thought of Chaplin's "Tramp" with the closing shot. I did not think of Ford, but it makes sense since Jubilo is like Ethan Edwards, at least in Too Busy to Work. Like Ethan, Jubilo feels he must move on. He's left to wander.

>

 

He's helped keep a family together that he feels he cannot be a part of. It's so sad. I really like the way the film presents such a character. Jubilo is a little like "Bim" as well as the Little Tramp. The movies in the thirties sure had a lot more to say for "the little guy", and all in different, unique ways. Ford's "everymen" were often character actors, Will was the universally beloved Everyman, and Capra's were movie stars, but they all spoke up for the harsh way society treated them. That beating Jubilo takes, I have to admit I was pretty shocked at the savagery of it when I first saw the movie

 

 

>

> The "cemetery" scene is what I felt was most Fordian. And Jubilo is on the outside of that.

>

 

I agree. Will is still connected to his dead wife, but he's not at peace with the past.

 

>

> I like it. It makes perfect sense. We need our failures to make the successful feel good.

>

 

Oh dear, the way you make it sound is so pitiful. What did George Bailey's brother say? No one is a failure who has friends?

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