The Red Pony (Lewis Milestone, 1949)

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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Scharphedin2
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden

#1 Post by Scharphedin2 » Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:41 pm

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tryavna
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:38 pm
Location: North Carolina

#2 Post by tryavna » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:56 pm

Milestone strikes me as the kind of director who was genuinely innovative for his time but whose innovations are taken for granted now. For instance, All Quiet is as good and absorbing an early sound Hollywood film as you're likely to come across; it's light-years away from the previous Best Picture winner (1929's Broadway Melody) in terms of its expansiveness and naturalism. But as directors and actors became more used to sound within the next couple of years, filmmaking caught up. Or to take another example, the pre-credit action that occurs at the beginning of Of Mice and Men (1939) must have seemed quite striking and experimental at the time. But again, we've grown used to that device, so it's no longer novel.

Personally, I like Milestone a lot. Often, he's visually stylish in a very pleasing way, as in Strange Love of Martha Ivers and The General Died at Dawn. And the fact that he can make a routine flag-waver like The Purple Heart or a bizarre film like The North Star (which mixes music, war action, and a battle-of-wills between Erich von Stroheim and Walter Huston) worth watching demonstrates his intelligence and taste.

BTW, I haven't seen The Red Pony yet, but I like Aaron Copland's score for it. Very much in his folksy mode, but warm and sincere nevertheless -- and obviously a score that can stand on its own (since I haven't seen the film itself).

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Scharphedin2
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden

#3 Post by Scharphedin2 » Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:15 am

tryavna wrote:BTW, I haven't seen The Red Pony yet, but I like Aaron Copland's score for it. Very much in his folksy mode, but warm and sincere nevertheless -- and obviously a score that can stand on its own (since I haven't seen the film itself).
Absolutely! And shame on me for not mentioning Copland's wonderful score. Without imposing on or overpowering the film, it completely envelops the action, and it is just right. Again, without having seen many of Milestone's films, I am sure that this one would rate in the top. For a "small" film, so much care seems to have gone into all the aspects of making it.

I look forward to seeing OF MICE AND MEN (another Steinbeck adaptation of course) and NORTH STAR that you mention. THE PURPLE HEART was just released in the UK in the Fox Studio Classics line, and I ordered it primarily based on a really enthusiastic review by Gary Tooze over at Beaver.

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