Films Worth Viewing

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"Once Upon a Time in the West" -Sergio Leone-1969

Leone's trilogy with Clint Eastwood made so much money that United Artists were willing to do a Leone film in America, but they wanted to dictate casting. Leone took Paramount on a similar offer. His goal was to make "Once Upon a Time in America." Paramount cut the film drastically for US release. The film barely recouped costs in the US run. It was a big success in Europe; there is a famous story of the film running for two or perhaps four years in a movie theatre in Paris.

The film was shot in about 20 different locations including Monument Valley, a favorite John Ford location. The film makes numerous references to classic westerns. Ennio Morricone wrote another classic score; this time he used ambient natural sounds particularly the creaking windmill in the long opening sequence.

The plot deals with the railroad's conquest of the West. A Farmer/rancher travels to New Orleans where he meets and marries a prostitute. The family she is coming to be a part of is murdered. There are shot and killed by Frank and his gang. Frank is the railroad's problem solver, played by Henry Fonda cast against type as a ruthless killer for hire.
Since the railroad needs the water at Sweetwater, the surrounding land has great value. It will be a station and beget a town. Frank leaves evidence that the massacre was committed by another gang leader, Cheyenne played by Jason Robards. The third gunfighter, Harmonica, Charles Bronson, killed 3 of Frank's men in the opening sequence. Harmonica helps the widow, Claudia Cardinale because he has a reckoning with Frank.

Leone uses spare dialogue, music, and intermittent close-ups to raise the tension. The slow pace is not what we are accustomed to, but it really works. Leone in interviews about this film stressed death, not only the 29 who die in the film, but the death of the old violent West. Harmonica is the only gunfighter to survive, and he leaves. Progress represented by the railroad is not going to be pleasant, but it is unstoppable.

The passage of years has if anything raised the profile of and respect for this film. This is readily available to stream via Amazon; DVD's are easy to find, and libraries are likely to have it.
 
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This film made my top 16 for the @Mano tournament that never was. I will be interested in your take. I have a theory that Pompey--not Doniphon or Stoddard--actually shot Valence. Thoughts?
It’s coming, I swear!
 
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"Once Upon a Time in the West" -Sergio Leone-1969
I was watching the documentary series The Story of Film (Hulu) years ago, during Episode 7 (47:15) the narrator starts discussing Sergio Leone. They show examples of his innovative visual style, the way he used time and other nuggets that I would not have noticed on my own. Most of it comes from Once Upon a Time in the West. I had never seen it, but before the segment was over I had added it to the top of my DVD Queue. The scene where we go from the office to the seeing the town for the first time is just great.
 

storrsroars

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"Once Upon a Time in the West" -Sergio Leone-1969

Leone's trilogy with Clint Eastwood made so much money that United Artists were willing to do a Leone film in America, but they wanted to dictate casting. Leone took Paramount on a similar offer. His goal was to make "Once Upon a Time in America." Paramount cut the film drastically for US release. The film barely recouped costs in the US run. It was a big success in Europe; there is a famous story of the film running for two or perhaps four years in a movie theatre in Paris.

The film was shot in about 20 different locations including Monument Valley, a favorite John Ford location. The film makes numerous references to classic westerns. Ennio Morricone wrote another classic score; this time he used ambient natural sounds particularly the creaking windmill in the long opening sequence.

The plot deals with the railroad's conquest of the West. A Farmer/rancher travels to New Orleans where he meets and marries a prostitute. The family she is coming to be a part of is murdered. There are shot and killed by Frank and his gang. Frank is the railroad's problem solver, played by Henry Fonda cast against type as a ruthless killer for hire.
Since the railroad needs the water at Sweetwater, the surrounding land has great value. It will be a station and beget a town. Frank leaves evidence that the massacre was committed by another gang leader, Cheyenne played by Jason Robards. The third gunfighter, Harmonica, Charles Bronson, killed 3 of Frank's men in the opening sequence. Harmonica helps the widow, Claudia Cardinale because he has a reckoning with Frank.

Leone uses spare dialogue, music, and intermittent close-ups to raise the tension. The slow pace is not what we are accustomed to, but it really works. Leone in interviews about this film stressed death, not only the 29 who die in the film, but the death of the old violent West. Harmonica is the only gunfighter to survive, and he leaves. Progress represented by the railroad is not going to be pleasant, but it is unstoppable.

The passage of years has if anything raised the profile of and respect for this film. This is readily available to stream via Amazon; DVD's are easy to find, and libraries are likely to have it.
It does rank as a "must-see", but over repeated viewings, I don't totally "love" it. The harmonica thing just doesn't play well with me. I also think that unlike other Leone westerns, you need to suspend belief quite a bit more in this one. But Fonda was menacing for being cast out of character and I loved Robards' performance. He should've done more oaters.
 
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This film made my top 16 for the @Mano tournament that never was. I will be interested in your take. I have a theory that Pompey--not Doniphon or Stoddard--actually shot Valence. Thoughts?
Explain your reasoning on Pompey firing the shot. I don't it, but try to convince me.
 
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"The Searchers"- John Ford-1956

This film is generally considered Ford's best Western and probably Wayne's greatest performance The film was shot in Monument Valley. Ford recruited some of the famous Ford Stock Company including Harry Carey Jr. and Ward Bond for the picture. The cinematographer , Winton C. Hoch fills the screen with shots of majesty and beauty.

Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a former Confederate cavalryman who never surrendered. Three years after the war's end he returns home actually to his brother's farm. His brother has two daughters, a wife, and an almost adopted son, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter). Martin is one eighth American Indian. In addition to his other problems, hints of crime are frequently offered, Ethan Edwards hates Indians.

This becomes quickly relevant when a Texas Ranger captain/preacher, Ward Bond, arrives with information that a local farm has been raided and the cattle driven off. Ethan refuses to take an oath, he has never given up on
his oath to the Confederacy, but he accompanies the posse to track the Comanches. It becomes apparent that the posse has been drawn away so the war party can double back to the farms.

The posse splits up, and Ethan discovers his brother and sister-in-law murdered in the burnt out cabin. This begins a six year hunt for the girls. One is brutally killed early, the younger daughter, Debbie appears to be still alive. Martin joins Ethan in tracking the girls. As the years pass Martin becomes convinced that Ethan will kill
Debbie because she will have become Indian. When Ethan finally secures Debbie, she and the film audience are convinced that Ethan means to murder her.

Ethan Edwards is a total obsessive character; he doesn't change despite sparing Debbie. He knows he can't stay among his friends and family. The film ends with him standing in the doorway; the immense vista of
Monument behind him. He can no more live among normal people than could Harmonica.

I have mixed feelings about the Ethan Edwards character, uncomfortable with his racism, but respecting his
focus and relentless sense of purpose. I am sure that this was what Ford intended; Wayne lived this character according to Harry Carey Jr, flawed but unforgettable.
 

8893

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Explain your reasoning on Pompey firing the shot. I don't it, but try to convince me.
He was the third witness but the only one whose story we never hear. Stoddard thinks he shot him; Doniphon says he shot him. Wouldn’t you want to hear Pompey’s version as the only other witness? Even in Doniphon’s version, Pompey has the gun and he throws it to Doniphon. Seems unlikely they could have pulled that off without Valance taking note.

Looking up the film just now, I see that Ford reportedly resented the studio forcing Wayne on him for the role of Doniphon and he retaliated by taunting Wayne and treating him like crap throughout the filming. There is also a story that the only time Ford treated Stewart poorly was when Stewart commented that Pompey’s costume was “a bit Uncle Remussy” to him, whereupon Ford reportedly upbraided Stewart in front of the cast for being racist.

I’ve really only imagined the Pompey version previously; but now that I’ve read that, I would love to see an alternate take exploring this possibility.
 
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"The Searchers"- John Ford-1956

This film is generally considered Ford's best Western and probably Wayne's greatest performance The film was shot in Monument Valley. Ford recruited some of the famous Ford Stock Company including Harry Carey Jr. and Ward Bond for the picture. The cinematographer , Winton C. Hoch fills the screen with shots of majesty and beauty.

Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a former Confederate cavalryman who never surrendered. Three years after the war's end he returns home actually to his brother's farm. His brother has two daughters, a wife, and an almost adopted son, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter). Martin is one eighth American Indian. In addition to his other problems, hints of crime are frequently offered, Ethan Edwards hates Indians.

This becomes quickly relevant when a Texas Ranger captain/preacher, Ward Bond, arrives with information that a local farm has been raided and the cattle driven off. Ethan refuses to take an oath, he has never given up on
his oath to the Confederacy, but he accompanies the posse to track the Comanches. It becomes apparent that the posse has been drawn away so the war party can double back to the farms.

The posse splits up, and Ethan discovers his brother and sister-in-law murdered in the burnt out cabin. This begins a six year hunt for the girls. One is brutally killed early, the younger daughter, Debbie appears to be still alive. Martin joins Ethan in tracking the girls. As the years pass Martin becomes convinced that Ethan will kill
Debbie because she will have become Indian. When Ethan finally secures Debbie, she and the film audience are convinced that Ethan means to murder her.

Ethan Edwards is a total obsessive character; he doesn't change despite sparing Debbie. He knows he can't stay among his friends and family. The film ends with him standing in the doorway; the immense vista of
Monument behind him. He can no more live among normal people than could Harmonica.

I have mixed feelings about the Ethan Edwards character, uncomfortable with his racism, but respecting his
focus and relentless sense of purpose. I am sure that this was what Ford intended; Wayne lived this character according to Harry Carey Jr, flawed but unforgettable.
Of the John Ford westerns I've seen, The Searchers and Stagecoach are the two right at the top of the list, and can take their place as two of the best movie westerns ever made. Great movies indeed. And some other Ford westerns such as the Cavalry Trilogy (Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and Rio Grande), Wagon Master, and the soon to be reviewed Liberty Valance aren't exactly chopped liver. They are darned good as well, just not quite on the level of the two at the top of the heap.

This may well be John Wayne's best performance. One role that rivals it Is in the Howard Hawks western Red River, the movie that convinced Ford that Wayne could really act.
 
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He was the third witness but the only one whose story we never hear. Stoddard thinks he shot him; Doniphon says he shot him. Wouldn’t you want to hear Pompey’s version as the only other witness? Even in Doniphon’s version, Pompey has the gun and he throws it to Doniphon. Seems unlikely they could have pulled that off without Valance taking note.

Looking up the film just now, I see that Ford reportedly resented the studio forcing Wayne on him for the role of Doniphon and he retaliated by taunting Wayne and treating him like crap throughout the filming. There is also a story that the only time Ford treated Stewart poorly was when Stewart commented that Pompey’s costume was “a bit Uncle Remussy” to him, whereupon Ford reportedly upbraided Stewart in front of the cast for being racist.

I’ve really only imagined the Pompey version previously; but now that I’ve read that, I would love to see an alternate take exploring this possibility.
In your theory, there is lots of rifle throwing that goes unnoticed by James Stewart as well. After the shot gets fired, the rifle gets tossed back to Pompey.
 

8893

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In your theory, there is lots of rifle throwing that goes unnoticed by James Stewart as well. After the shot gets fired, the rifle gets tossed back to Pompey.
No question. And that makes even less sense to me now that you mention it. Pompey’s only role is as a remote holster?
 
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Of the John Ford westerns I've seen, The Searchers and Stagecoach are the two right at the top of the list, and can take their place as two of the best movie westerns ever made. Great movies indeed. And some other Ford westerns such as the Cavalry Trilogy (Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and Rio Grande), Wagon Master, and the soon to be reviewed Liberty Valance aren't exactly chopped liver. They are darned good as well, just not quite on the level of the two at the top of the heap.

This may well be John Wayne's best performance. One role that rivals it Is in the Howard Hawks western Red River, the movie that convinced Ford that Wayne could really act.
I forgot a John Ford western. My Darling Clementine, goes right in with The Searches and Stagecoach at the top of the list.
 
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"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"-John Ford-1962

I have a warm spot for this film because I first saw it in New Delhi. In India theaters often show English language films Saturday Mornings. I will try to keep my comments on this one to what is on the screen. The story line is both simple and complex. Ransom Stoddard (Jimmy Stewart) is a young lawyer who travels West following Horace Greeley's directive:"Go West young man..." The stage he is on is robbed and he is savagely beaten by Liberty Valance. This is told in flashback to a group of newspaper people. Stoddard is rescued by a local rancher, Tom Doniphon,(John Wayne). He is brought to a restaurant where he is treated by the family who owns the restaurant.

The film continues to develop the story of Stoddard who tries to build a new life. In addition to his duties in the family restaurant; he goes to work for the local paper, "The Shinbone Star," teaches reading and writing to
locals, and develops a relationship with the daughter in the family restaurant, Halle Ericson (Vera Miles). Liberty Valence (Lee Marvin) comes into town, trips Stoddard and a platter of food hits the floor. Valance orders Rance to pick up the steak This provokes a standoff between Valance and Doniphon. Stoddard picks up the steak to avert the showdown.

The showdown is only delayed. After a failure in getting himself elected as a Territorial Delegate, Valance challenges Stoddard to a shoot out on the street of Shinbone. The alternative is for Stoddard to leave the Territory. Stoddard is prepared but changes his mind when the newspaper editor is beaten near death. The showdown takes place, shots are fired, and Valance is dead.

Stoddard has returned to Shinbone for the funeral of Doniphon. He has become a man of distinction, governor, ambassador to England, and currently US senator. This was built upon his fame as the man who shot Liberty Valance. Stoddard tells the truth to the reporters, Valance was shot by Tom Doniphon.

What is Ford trying to say? The tagline "Print the Legend" is best indication. The film is worthy of discussion, thoughtful discussion. Is Ford commentating on his history as a director of westerns? Clearly
there is a tension between old western heroes and progress.

Peter Bogdanovich regards this as the last classic western. Roger Ebert says this is an old man's film. There are a number of definitions of what constitutes a great film. For me greatness must include not only a film which offer new treasures in repeated viewings, but also gives you something to think about.
 
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Up next: "The Magnificent Ambersons", "The Grapes of Wrath," and "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
 
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I watched Mary Queen of Scots. This is why they should never make movies for girls. Awful. Awful. Awful. If they make this movie for boys there are lots of opportunities for action and interesting things. Instead it's just talking and ladies-in-waiting giggling. I watched because its an interesting period in history, all of which was turned into a dull gray mess. Did I mention it was awful. There isn't single good performance by anyone in the film. Awful.

BTW, listening to Gene Pitney (of Somers, Ct) sing the title song to Liberty Valance is more interesting than the entire MQoS movie.
 

nwhoopfan

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I watched Mary Queen of Scots. This is why they should never make movies for girls. Awful. Awful. Awful. If they make this movie for boys there are lots of opportunities for action and interesting things. Instead it's just talking and ladies-in-waiting giggling. I watched because its an interesting period in history, all of which was turned into a dull gray mess. Did I mention it was awful. There isn't single good performance by anyone in the film. Awful.
Ah good, it wasn't just me. I tried, but I quit halfway thru. I like Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, but the movie didn't grab my interest at all.
 

CL82

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This film made my top 16 for the @Mano tournament that never was. I will be interested in your take. I have a theory that Pompey--not Doniphon or Stoddard--actually shot Valence. Thoughts?
Based on what?
 

8893

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Based on what?
He was the third witness but the only one whose story we never hear. Stoddard thinks he shot him; Doniphon says he shot him. Wouldn’t you want to hear Pompey’s version as the only other witness? Even in Doniphon’s version, Pompey has the gun and he throws it to Doniphon. Seems unlikely they could have pulled that off without Valance taking note.

Looking up the film just now, I see that Ford reportedly resented the studio forcing Wayne on him for the role of Doniphon and he retaliated by taunting Wayne and treating him like crap throughout the filming. There is also a story that the only time Ford treated Stewart poorly was when Stewart commented that Pompey’s costume was “a bit Uncle Remussy” to him, whereupon Ford reportedly upbraided Stewart in front of the cast for being racist.

I’ve really only imagined the Pompey version previously; but now that I’ve read that, I would love to see an alternate take exploring this possibility.
 

CL82

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Of the John Ford westerns I've seen, The Searchers and Stagecoach are the two right at the top of the list, and can take their place as two of the best movie westerns ever made. Great movies indeed. And some other Ford westerns such as the Cavalry Trilogy (Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and Rio Grande), Wagon Master, and the soon to be reviewed Liberty Valance aren't exactly chopped liver. They are darned good as well, just not quite on the level of the two at the top of the heap.

This may well be John Wayne's best performance. One role that rivals it Is in the Howard Hawks western Red River, the movie that convinced Ford that Wayne could really act.
Mmm, tough to pick the best Wayne performance I'd rank The Quiet Man and True Grit ahead of this.
 
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"Once Upon a Time in the West" -Sergio Leone-1969

Leone's trilogy with Clint Eastwood made so much money that United Artists were willing to do a Leone film in America, but they wanted to dictate casting. Leone took Paramount on a similar offer. His goal was to make "Once Upon a Time in America." Paramount cut the film drastically for US release. The film barely recouped costs in the US run. It was a big success in Europe; there is a famous story of the film running for two or perhaps four years in a movie theatre in Paris.

The film was shot in about 20 different locations including Monument Valley, a favorite John Ford location. The film makes numerous references to classic westerns. Ennio Morricone wrote another classic score; this time he used ambient natural sounds particularly the creaking windmill in the long opening sequence.

The plot deals with the railroad's conquest of the West. A Farmer/rancher travels to New Orleans where he meets and marries a prostitute. The family she is coming to be a part of is murdered. There are shot and killed by Frank and his gang. Frank is the railroad's problem solver, played by Henry Fonda cast against type as a ruthless killer for hire.
Since the railroad needs the water at Sweetwater, the surrounding land has great value. It will be a station and beget a town. Frank leaves evidence that the massacre was committed by another gang leader, Cheyenne played by Jason Robards. The third gunfighter, Harmonica, Charles Bronson, killed 3 of Frank's men in the opening sequence. Harmonica helps the widow, Claudia Cardinale because he has a reckoning with Frank.

Leone uses spare dialogue, music, and intermittent close-ups to raise the tension. The slow pace is not what we are accustomed to, but it really works. Leone in interviews about this film stressed death, not only the 29 who die in the film, but the death of the old violent West. Harmonica is the only gunfighter to survive, and he leaves. Progress represented by the railroad is not going to be pleasant, but it is unstoppable.

The passage of years has if anything raised the profile of and respect for this film. This is readily available to stream via Amazon; DVD's are easy to find, and libraries are likely to have it.
The first 15 ten minutes of this film, the killers waiting at the train station, is classic, film making as visual storytelling at its best, and the payoff when Bronson arrives is wonderful.
 
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Bonus Material

I just watched Kurasowa's "High and Low." This film is based on an Ed McBain 84th Precinct novel, "king's Ransom." Gondo, Toshiro Mifume, is a shoe company executive involved in attempt to buy control of National
Shoes. He is approached by a group of executives with a similar plan. These directors are only interested in increasing profits; they plan to compromise quality which Gondo won't except.

The meeting breaks up. Gondo receives a phone call telling him the his son has been kidnapped and that he
must pay a 30 million yen ransom. It turns out that the kidnapper grabbed the wrong boy, the chauffeur's son,
but he still expects to be paid. The first half of the film details Gondo's decision to pay the ransom and the delivery of the ransom. The second half of the film dives deep into the Yokahama underground to find and apprehend the kidnapper.

This is Japanese film noir. The first half is brilliant; the second half can be a little overcooked, but even that is redeemed by a brilliant coda where Gondo and the kidnapper meet at the prison. Really excellent , and this isn't among the top five Kurosawa films in critics estimation.
 

ZooCougar

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Bonus Material

I just watched Kurasowa's "High and Low." This film is based on an Ed McBain 84th Precinct novel, "king's Ransom." Gondo, Toshiro Mifume, is a shoe company executive involved in attempt to buy control of National
Shoes. He is approached by a group of executives with a similar plan. These directors are only interested in increasing profits; they plan to compromise quality which Gondo won't except.

The meeting breaks up. Gondo receives a phone call telling him the his son has been kidnapped and that he
must pay a 30 million yen ransom. It turns out that the kidnapper grabbed the wrong boy, the chauffeur's son,
but he still expects to be paid. The first half of the film details Gondo's decision to pay the ransom and the delivery of the ransom. The second half of the film dives deep into the Yokahama underground to find and apprehend the kidnapper.

This is Japanese film noir. The first half is brilliant; the second half can be a little overcooked, but even that is redeemed by a brilliant coda where Gondo and the kidnapper meet at the prison. Really excellent , and this isn't among the top five Kurosawa films in critics estimation.
I need to see this.
 
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"The Magnificent Ambersons" -Orson Welles-released in 1942.

Any discussion of this film begins with a mystery of the missing film. The amount missing depends on what source you use. The first preview had a film of 135 minutes; it was a disaster with the audience. RKO cut the
film to 88+ minutes. They didn't work at marketing the film; it was a commercial failure, this theatrical version had to be re-shot to make sense of the changes.. The first 60 minutes are as Welles intended, the last under 30
minutes are the changed version. Supposedly, the 135 minute version was sent to Welles in Brazil, don't ask.
This version has never been found despite the biggest treasure hunt in film history.

Welles has an oversized reputation among film nerds. I'm struggling to give you good reasons to watch this film. The camera work is excellent, production values are great, and there is a lot of excellent acting. The central character is very unlikable. The story is obvious, change (particularly the coming of the automobile) destroys a way of life. Morgan (Joseph Cotton) is an inventor who loved and lost an Amberson. He returns years later a widower with a beautiful daughter. They attend a ball at the Amberson mansion. George Amberson Minniver meets Lucy Morgan. The Ambersons made a ruinous investments in lights. They die like flies, and George and his aunt lose everything. The denoument has George being seriously injured in an automobile accident and Morgan coming to his aid.

This series is supposed to feature films worth viewing; this my 3rd or 4th time watching this film; I don't get the adulation, but then I'm not a Welles fan. I included this film because it deals with the loss of status and its effects.
 
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"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"-Elia Kazan-1945


This was Kazan's first film. He was a young successful stage director. The film is an adaption of Betty Smith's classic novel. It is set in turn of the century Williamsburg Brooklyn. It is the story of a poor first generation family. The father, Jimmy Nolan, is a singing waiter and a drunkard, but he is also a man of great charm and love for his family. James Dunn received an Oscar for his portrayal. The tree in the title is an invasive species which pushes through the concrete and refuses to die. Francine (Peggy Ann Garner) is a bright curious 12 year old who loves her father. She is aware of his faults, but she loves and admires him nevertheless.

The setting of a tenament building was one of the most expensive sets ever built at Fox. It is the center of the film. The long suffering mother, Dorothy McGuire, holds the family together, but she knows she appears hard.
Things begin to fall apart when she discovers her pregnancy, then Jimmy Nolan dies. The family is poised on the knife edge of disaster. Francine's plan to continue her schooling and to become a writer is in peril.

This is beautifully shot and acted. The tree despite being nearly cut down and destroyed emerges again.

This may be a little difficult to find. The first time it was available was in a set. The set runs about $40 on Amazon, but it includes 14 other films among them: "Streetcar Named Desire," "East of Eden," "On the Waterfront," "A Face in the Crowd," and "America, America." Kazan is a seriously underrated director, and he was a major influence on Scorcese. This is definitely worth viewing, and is a very good introduction to Kazan.
 
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"Grapes of Wrath"-John Ford-1940

Roger Ebert, in "The Great Movies," makes the point that this film is unwatched greatness. The same might be said about Steinbeck's novel upon which it is based. I read it in high school, probably few current 'Yarders can say the same today. The Depression has passed into a time beyond living memory, but still short of history. Psychically World War II is so much closer to our consciousness. I remember hearing that the US didn'treally get out of the Depression until WWII.

Steinbeck's novel was banned from some California libraries until 1990. Yet, it was purchased by Zannuck for the huge price of $50,000. Steinbeck agreed to the sale, but only if Ford would direct. Ford was a conservative.
This was going to be a controversial movie. Fonda fought hard for the principal role of Tom Joad. Zanuck had the background of the book investigated. Were the conditions really as bad as the book showed? Zanuck was satisfied, and the film utilizes 'Okies traveling westward as background extras in the film.

There were some parts of the book which couldn't be filmed most famously Rosannsharon offering her milked filled breasts to a starving man. There is a bit of doggeral which Tom Joad recites, if you read the book you remember it, that probably wouldn't make it in if it were re-made today. The film follows the book pretty closely, but provides a more upbeat ending.

Tom Joad, recently paroled from prison, comes home to his family. They have been pushed of their land in the dustbowl, and the family, 3 generations of Joads, is moving to California chasing the jobs promised in handbills. Tom met the former preacher who has lost his faith and brings him along. The journey is difficult, two Joads die and the husband of another left. There is huge resentment to this 'Oakie migration among the local population in rural California. They were burned out, physically attacked by locals in concert with the police, and discriminated against brutally.

Ford films realistically, but by focusing on one family avoids falling into the message movie category. The acting is truly great. The photography by Greg Tolland, one of the all time greats, is remarkable, there are no wasted shots, and the lighting and setups are flawless. Fonda, Carradine, and Jane Darwell as Ma Joad live the roles. This is a great film that deserves your attention. Ford and Darwell won Oscars. It is readily available.

I haven't decided on my next trio, and I wonder if readers might prefer single film suggestions. Also, I am open to suggestions for recommendations.
 
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While it is possible to purchase this film singly, I suggest buying one of the several sets which include "The Grapes of Wrath." I mentioned The Henry Fonda Collection before; this includes: "Drums Along the Mohawk," "The Ox Bow Incident," "My Darling Clementine," and "The Longest Day." There are 5 other films including "Jesse James" and "The Return of Frank James" which are worth seeing and hard to find. This set runs $30+.

Another option is the huge Ford at Fox box; this runs 70$ on Amazon. This includes 24 Ford films: silents, the Will Rogers films, and many others. It has a good book, and some other nice printed material. The big add on is the documentary"Becoming John Ford." In this documentary are two of his wartime films for the US Army.
 

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