Ford at Fox: 24 Film Boxset

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tryavna
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:38 pm
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#101 Post by tryavna » Mon Dec 24, 2007 12:24 pm

I'm another who counts Wee Willie Winkie as an overlooked Ford film. It must be viewed by any serious Ford fan -- if only for the beautiful military funeral in it. But it's also easily Temple's least syrupy child-performance.

OliverB
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:16 am

#102 Post by OliverB » Mon Dec 24, 2007 7:10 pm

If they put the money into restoring them, we'll surely see the films on DVD in a year or more... once the dust from this major release settles.

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domino harvey
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#103 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:22 pm


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Mr Sheldrake
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#104 Post by Mr Sheldrake » Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:36 pm

Nice to see 7 Women on that list. One of the few Fords that focused on women, in a 30s movie made in the 60s. You do have to get past Mike Mazurki as Tunga Khan and the artificial sets. I just saw The Prisoner of Shark Island and it too had an outsider doctor who must save his hostile community. I have always found Anne Bancroft's ultimate sacrifice in 7 Women to be a genuinely moving expression of Ford's personal view of Christianity.

neal
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#105 Post by neal » Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:26 pm

I imagine that this will be all over the slimier deals forums soon, as there's no proof of purchase required-- so I'd fill this out now, if you bought the set.

Redemption for Frontier Marshal

My apologies if this has already been posted.

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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

#106 Post by Matt » Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:36 pm

You can all thank Buck Jones for your free DVD. [-(

neal
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#107 Post by neal » Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:39 pm

Matt wrote:You can all thank Buck Jones for your free DVD. [-(
Classy. Now I've just got to figure out what to do about the fact that ALL of the first five discs I've pulled out of the set are significantly scratched.

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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

#108 Post by Matt » Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:48 pm

neal wrote:Classy.
It's not my fault Fox has a boneheaded redemption scheme. Being the bearer of information does not make one slimy; it's using that information unethically that generates the ooze.

neal
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#109 Post by neal » Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:52 pm

Matt wrote:
neal wrote:Classy.
It's not my fault Fox has a boneheaded redemption scheme. Being the bearer of information does not make one slimy; it's using that information unethically that generates the ooze.
True. Nor is it your fault that their wonderful quality control might make people more inclined to support the exploiting of this oversight than usual.

I just called to ask about the set/discs. The response I got was-- return it to your point of purchase. There is "no more inventory."

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HerrSchreck
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#110 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:05 pm

He may live to regret that offer... I can see images of Matt slumped over a huge grinding wheel in a darkened, dank room-- with Boris Karloff as Mord behind him muttering motivating threats-- with a gigantic pile of Fox discs near him growing larger by the moment (some say by a strange form of dual layer cell-division), begging for water, getting raspier with each turn of the wheel, as the postman stands on a ladder outside his windows to pour more Fox DVDs thru an open screen (because the front door can no longer be opened owing to disc-splat).

EDIT-- I see he regretted it quicker than I could get my post in... never mind. But I'll leave the post up anyhoo since it's kind of funny. I'll leave it to Matt to fill in the blanks about the momentary offer he made...

neal
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#111 Post by neal » Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:19 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:I see he regretted it quicker than I could get my post in... never mind. But I'll leave the post up anyhoo since it's kind of funny. I'll leave it to Matt to fill in the blanks about the momentary offer he made...
Or I can do it... Being the bearer of information does not make one slimy... :wink:

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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

#112 Post by Matt » Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:21 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:EDIT-- I see he regretted it quicker than I could get my post in... never mind. But I'll leave the post up anyhoo since it's kind of funny. I'll leave it to Matt to fill in the blanks about the momentary offer he made...
For the latecomers, I offered to repair scratched discs at no charge. No charge, of course, except for the cashing in of my sanity. I had the good fortune to remember pretty quickly that I don't owe you jerks anything except for a succinct putdown every now and again.

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ellipsis7
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#113 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:29 pm

Slight twist and gentle lift - they come off easily!... Press firmly back on the centre circle to reinsert... Voila!... Its a great set BTW...

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John Hodson
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#114 Post by John Hodson » Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:03 pm

neal wrote:I imagine that this will be all over the slimier deals forums soon, as there's no proof of purchase required-- so I'd fill this out now, if you bought the set.

Redemption for Frontier Marshal
Seems those of us outside the US who bought the set are excluded from the offer.

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Derek Estes
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#115 Post by Derek Estes » Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:29 pm

Sorry John, that sucks. You've really been getting the shaft as of late. Has your set even arrived yet?

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John Hodson
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#116 Post by John Hodson » Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:10 am

Derek Estes wrote:Sorry John, that sucks. You've really been getting the shaft as of late. Has your set even arrived yet?
Oh, yes thanks Derek, just after Christmas and I'm absolutely delighted with it; even this minor irritation can't wipe the smile from my face...

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jorencain
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#117 Post by jorencain » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:12 pm

So, I made it through 19 fantastic films from John Ford (NONE of which I had seen before!!), and then watched "Tobacco Road" today...Not a fun time, I gotta say. It's been the only one in this great set that I haven't enjoyed, at least until the "touched" son ("Dude", I guess his name was) was knocked out. (So, the last 10 minutes were really strong). But all the shouting, car horn honking, etc. really took a toll on my nerves.

There have been so many great discoveries for me in this set (including "Wee Willie Winkie", which was a lot of fun). 1 dud is no big deal, and I'm glad it was under 90 minutes. Alright, now I'm off to "How Green Was My Valley".

planetjake

#118 Post by planetjake » Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:21 am

For me, Tobacco Road is the Gummo of it's generation.

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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#119 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Sun Jan 13, 2008 8:24 am

jorencain wrote: Alright, now I'm off to "How Green Was My Valley".
I have been also enjoying my trawl through this set particularly the early titles - until HGWMV. I should have realised when the disc started oozing treacle when I eased it off the spindle. But Jesus, who the fuck designed those Welsh miners' cottages like Bonanza?! You'd be hard pressed to get half the family cheek to cheek in a real living room let alone the whole damn village and still have space for a squash court. And despite being a mite fond of choral stuff, for once I agree with Daryl 'scissorhands' Zanuck- tell that choir to a put a fuckin' sock in it for a couple o' minutes at least. And those accents! - every nook and cranny of Hollywood-Celtic seems to have been explored here except Welsh (pace the gobshite deacon). Young Roddy seems to have had elocution lessons on alternate days from Freddie Bartholomew and a Munchkin. My Darling Clemantine looks absolutely knobhardingly wonderful though.

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ellipsis7
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#120 Post by ellipsis7 » Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:30 am

It's really a great collection, and with HGWMV I don't see any problem with the set and the choirs, both authentically enough Welsh although Ford brings an Irish sensibility to the picture both with Maureen O'Hara and the sense of community, working class family, parade, ritual etc... Likewise GRAPES finds him reportedly resonating the wilderness to promised land story of the Joads and their fellow Okies with the sufferings and forced emigration of the Irish Famine... What's interesting also is how themes repeat through the body of his work - that almost allegorically religious journey is echoed in CLEMENTINE, 3 BAD MEN and indeed STAGECOACH (not in set)...

The 5 silent features in the box are interesting in that they predate the influence of the Hays office and the office of Joe Breen, the ultra conservative Irish Amerian censor catholic Censor who ruled from 1934-1965... There's evidence that he interfered big way with representation of the Irish War of Independance and the Republican movement in THE INFORMER, PLOUGH AND THE STARS and THE QUIET MAN, so it's interesting to see THE HANGMAN's HOUSE try to deal with a number of issues such as colonialism, self determination and gender exploitation, while there is also representation of Irish immigrant experience recreated from recent memory in THE IRON HORSE and 3 BAD MEN (made in 1926 recreating events from just 50 years earlier in 1876)....

It's worth searching out John Ford's unusually expansive and eloquent article from 1928, "A Veteran Producer Muses" to put it all into context...

While thank goodness John Wayne does not star in any of the FAF pics, there is a fleeting glance of his first screen appearance in HANGMAN'S HOUSE (1928)... A football scholar at UCal, he worked in Hollywood during the vacation, where Ford came across him as a prop man... I think he then sustained a sports injury, so Ford helped him work in film fulltime, not giving a lead role till over a decade later in STAGECOACH (1939)... In HANGMAN'S HOUSE he is the unfortunate condemned man being hung in silhouette, and later can be seen at the end of the horse race as the over enthusiastic spectator who breaks down the fence and charges out of left frame foreground!......

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lubitsch
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:20 pm

#121 Post by lubitsch » Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:37 am

jorencain wrote:So, I made it through 19 fantastic films from John Ford (NONE of which I had seen before!!), and then watched "Tobacco Road" today...Not a fun time, I gotta say. It's been the only one in this great set that I haven't enjoyed, at least until the "touched" son ("Dude", I guess his name was) was knocked out. (So, the last 10 minutes were really strong). But all the shouting, car horn honking, etc. really took a toll on my nerves.
There have been so many great discoveries for me in this set (including "Wee Willie Winkie", which was a lot of fun). 1 dud is no big deal, and I'm glad it was under 90 minutes. Alright, now I'm off to "How Green Was My Valley".
TOBACCO ROAD is the most stunning mismatch of photographic style and content in the whole movie history. Deeply atmospheric photography by Arthur Miller and dumb, broad comedy, what was Ford thinking???

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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#122 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:42 am

ellipsis7 wrote:It's really a great collection, and with HGWMV I don't see any problem with the set and the choirs, both authentically enough Welsh although Ford brings an Irish sensibility to the picture both with Maureen O'Hara and the sense of community, working class family, parade, ritual etc...
Well I don't know what part of Wales you have visited. Perhaps you were just invited to the 'Big House' but come on seriously, you gotta admit the sheer scale of those spaces are unreal and do not serve the characterisation or storyline whatsoever. How can you take seriously the references to poverty and hardship when they live in surroundings more akin to' Dallas'. For all Ford's professed enchantment with Sunrise you at least believed in that village eeking out an existence against the odds, despite the level of artifice.

And as an Irishman myself I hope you don't equate irish sensibility with mawkish and syrupy.
Last edited by NABOB OF NOWHERE on Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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tryavna
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#123 Post by tryavna » Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:20 pm

NABOB OF NOWHERE wrote:you gotta admit the sheer scale of those spaces are unreal and do not serve the characterisation or storyline whatsoever. How can you take seriously the references to poverty and hardship when they live in surroundings more akin to' Dallas'.
But isn't that the problem with most Hollywood depictions of Britain during WWII? Everything is large-scale, clean-scrubbed, and unbelievably prim-and-proper -- basically an idealized extension of the more optimistic late-Victorian/Edwardian literature that Hollywood producers grew up reading. Hitchcock's Rebecca suffers from the same problem, with Selznick presuming to tell Hitch how the British upper-classes really behaved. But the biggest offender of all has got to be Wyler's Mrs. Miniver.

In order to appreciate HGWMV, you've got to approach the story as taking place in an alternate Fordian universe, not in a historically accurate representation of turn-of-the-century Wales. Essentially, this is the world where the immigrant characters in Ford's Westerns come from. Approached that way, I can't imagine HGWMV not exerting a considerable emotional impact. The ending is perhaps the most spritually transcendent Ford ever got in his career, with the possible exception of Pilgrimage.

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ellipsis7
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#124 Post by ellipsis7 » Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:43 pm

lubitsch wrote:
jorencain wrote:So, I made it through 19 fantastic films from John Ford (NONE of which I had seen before!!), and then watched "Tobacco Road" today...Not a fun time, I gotta say. It's been the only one in this great set that I haven't enjoyed, at least until the "touched" son ("Dude", I guess his name was) was knocked out. (So, the last 10 minutes were really strong). But all the shouting, car horn honking, etc. really took a toll on my nerves.
There have been so many great discoveries for me in this set (including "Wee Willie Winkie", which was a lot of fun). 1 dud is no big deal, and I'm glad it was under 90 minutes. Alright, now I'm off to "How Green Was My Valley".
TOBACCO ROAD is the most stunning mismatch of photographic style and content in the whole movie history. Deeply atmospheric photography by Arthur Miller and dumb, broad comedy, what was Ford thinking???
Maybe not... See Tom Milne's Time Out review which gives a good idea oh what Ford might have been thinking...
Ford's next film but one after The Grapes of Wrath, obviously intended by Fox as a follow-up in the Oscar-winning social conscience stakes, was generally castigated as a crude, stagy mockery, derived at one or two censorship removes from the play based on Erskine Caldwell's bawdily earthy novel. In retrospect, however, it emerges as a fascinatingly subversive piece, undermining the starry-eyed humanism of the earlier film's 'We are the people' view. Instead of Steinbeck's Joads of Oklahoma, stubbornly maintaining their faith in the American Dream even in the depths of misery, we get the Lesters of Georgia, poor white trash perfectly content to wallow fecklessly in their mire of animal sexuality (when young) or tranquil sloth (when old age takes over). Beautifully realised by Ford, not unlike Kazan's Baby Doll in its blackly comic blend of dark sexuality and overheated melodrama, Tobacco Road is often very funny, sometimes deeply moving, and always provocative in its acknowledgment of an alternative to 'the American way of life'.
nabob of nowhere wrote:It's really a great collection, and with HGWMV I don't see any problem with the set and the choirs, both authentically enough Welsh although Ford brings an Irish sensibility to the picture both with Maureen O'Hara and the sense of community, working class family, parade, ritual etc...

Well I don't know what part of Wales you have visited. Perhaps you were just invited to the 'Big House' but come on seriously, you gotta admit the sheer scale of those spaces are unreal and do not serve the characterisation or storyline whatsoever. How can you take seriously the references to poverty and hardship when they live in surroundings more akin to' Dallas'. For all Ford's professed enchantment with Sunrise you at least believed in that village eeking out an existence against the odds, despite the level of artifice.

And as an Irishman myself I hope you don't equate irish sensibility with mawkish and syrupy.
You put your finger on the question, what is Irish about John Ford, which is a complicated and controversial one to answer, and what denotes Fordian auteurship is a further puzzle? I suppose in HGWMV the conjunction of town, chapel, choir and mine are drawn from Wales, but it is then fused into a mythical 'Fordian Universe', as suggested above... Those mining towns were decimated in the 1980's as Thatcher dismantled the British coal industry, but they did once thrive, and HGWMV is drawn on rose tinted childhood memory...

Like I say, there are Fordian tropes - duty, family, community, parade, ritual, matriarchy, , loyalty, journey, landscape - which may or may not be drawn from his Irish background... If you look at the titles of books about him, 'Searching for John Ford' by Joseph McBride, 'The John Ford Movie Mystery' by Andrew Sarris, 'John Ford - Print the Legend' by Scott Eyman, there are as many questions as answers, conundrums, contradictions as consistencies and conventions.....

I have a Cahiers du Cinema book from about 1990 on Ford, and there is a chapter mapping Monument Valley and the mesas, from which landmarks you can trace the journeys in for instance the cavalry trilogy.... While the narratives cover long time and territory, Ford actually uses the same small area over and over again, subtley change angles etc, constructing an artificial story universe out of a restricted location space of 5 miles by 5 miles...

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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#125 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:20 pm

Don't get me wrong, I totally buy into the 'mythic universe'. It's not that I expect a branch of neo-realism or exacting historical verisimilitude from John Ford movies. Perhaps it's the fact that I came to this after Clementine and Grapes and after being totally captivated by the pacing, staging and lighting in those, Valley strikes me as being a bit of a potboiler, further undermined (no pun intended) by what I feel are ludicrous interiors and set dressing.

The point raised by tryvana about ' Rebecca' I think underscores my point rather than confounds it. Here for example that great gothic pile of Manderlay actively exudes malice and seems to have hatched the crepuscular Mrs. Danvers.

My main issue is principally with the interiors,in that they have exactly the converse effect. I'm also not sure what the low angles and use of short lenses are supposed to be achieving here either. An ominous counterpoint of imminent dissolution to a perceived idyll perhaps but all it manages to evoke in me is irritation at the enhanced perspective of the set design. Ah well..'Drums' is next up, so let's see if a burst of Technicolour can quell this savage breast.

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