Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'll be there

A great scene from The Grapes of Wrath. Too bad, Fonda didn't win an Oscar for his role. His friend James Stewart got it for The Philadelphia Story. The restored DVD looks and sounds much better than this clip.

I like this song a lot too.

I was looking around on the net and found this review of My Darling Clementine, which I saw a few weeks back, by Michael Atkinson on the TCM site. Before praising the film, he fires a few scattershots:

"He is generally a hallowed filmmaker, and worshipful encomiums have landed at his feet for decades, praising his pictorial beauty (which often seems merely that), his sureness of storytelling (often as shapely as a dime novel, and in any case rarely his screenplays to claim), and his mastery of iconography (which requires no mastery). It’s an argument still happening; for every vague hosannah I’ve heard sung for Ford’s meaningfulness, I could count a hundred examples of clumsy staging, booze-sodden sentimentality, militaristic fetishism, vaudeville overacting, bar brawl camaraderie, and racist war-mongering. (Among his last projects before he died in 1973 was a pro-intervention documentary for the USIA titled Vietnam! Vietnam!) For Ford, Manifest Destiny was never out of fashion, Native Americans were malignant pests, and women were too often pink-cheeked cartoons."

1 comment:

puccinio said...

Those kind of potshots are still common among people who are quite unable to actually look at Ford's movies and see how complex his vision is. Like someone who glorified Native American massacres was actually made a honorary member of the Navajos for providing them employment and thereby helping their community for so many years.

Ford's films are above all unbelievably honest about the fact that racism was present in America, and at the time during so much censorship it was definitely better than not showing them at all. And Ford's ''The Searchers'', ''Two Rode Together'' and ''Cheyenne Autumn'' are among the most powerful anti-racist Westerns, even if the latter is somewhat compromised, it's still quite prominent.

In any case, Ford isn't someone you can categorize as left-wing or right-wing, Democrat or Republican. My advice is just watch his movies.