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Old 01-02-2006, 12:29   #61
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"The American West of John Ford"

I got this on DVD the other day, after seeing it mentioned in John's first post - a 1971 US TV special on Ford's westerns, featuring not only the man himself, but John Wayne, Henry Fonda and James Stewart.

The DVD opens with a hilarious 1998 intro from Tony Curtis. Dressed in buttonless white suit and thick black gloves, he looks like Dr. No's senile uncle, let out of the attic for good behaviour. He welcomes us to "this preh-sen-tay-shun on Jimmy Stewart"(?!) and stumbles his way through the cue cards for a few minutes before ominously promising to return later. Thankfully you can avoid both his intro and closing comments via the main menu.

The doc itself is in pretty poor shape - the sound's OK, though the volume's set too low. Picture-wise, it's like bad VHS, v high contrast, faded colours (not too bad on the show itself, but clips from Technicolor films like SWAYR and The Searchers, probably not in great shape in 1971, look awful now), and annoyingly, the DVD company (Delta) has stuck their logo intermittently in the bottom corner. It's still watchable though (I've watched films on PD DVD that were far worse), and TBH after a few minutes I forgot about the pic quality.

The show features a lot of VO from Stewart, Wayne and Fonda, tracing Ford's westerns from silents through to Cheyenne Autumn, mostly played to (sometimes excessively long) film clips. It's all broad strokes, nothing really insightful. The priceless material, though, and the backbone of the show, is the new (1971) footage: Ford and Fonda visiting the ex-Fox backlot where they filmed scenes for Young Mr Lincoln; Fonda and Stewart reminiscing fondly with Ford in (I presume) his back yard; and my favourite, Wayne and Ford returning to Monument Valley together for the first time since The Searchers, the mutual affection between the pair evident in their light-hearted bickering. It's the first time I've seen "behind the scenes" footage of Ford and Wayne, and it was, like I said, priceless.

Anyway, if you're a Ford / Wayne fan, this is certainly worth a look, especially considering the price - I got my copy new via Amazon Marketplace for just a couple of quid inc. p&p.

Ford in Monument Valley:


Stewart, Ford & Fonda in conversation:


Duke and Pappy reminisce at one of the Stagecoach locations in Monument Valley:
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Old 01-02-2006, 12:54   #62
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Great stuff Dave; it has be worth a couple of quid as you say. Review added to the first post and also updated with the terrific Warners R1 news.
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Old 01-02-2006, 20:06   #63
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I have just ordered the dvd
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:02   #64
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I've ordered this as I'm a sucker for documentaries about old Hollywood. There's something about seeing Ford, Stewart and Fond sitting down to reminisce that gives me goosebumps.
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:30   #65
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Speaking of documentaries on Ford, has Lindsay Anderson's early nineties BBC piece seen the light of day on DVD yet - tucked away as a gem of an extra perhaps?
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:34   #66
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It's on Criterion's upcoming Young Mr Lincoln, one of the stronger reasons to buy it, even if you have the R2 I would have thought.
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Old 02-02-2006, 19:42   #67
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..speaking of which, the Beaver compares Criterion with Optimum here.
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Old 02-02-2006, 19:47   #68
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And only the first part of the Ford profile is on there. Unless they're planning another later Ford release (like the way they split the Renoir doc), and I can't imagine one that they would, that's a great pity.
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Old 02-02-2006, 19:52   #69
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Fox will license them The Iron Horse or Pilgrimage or Steamboat Round The Bend (or all three) and we'll get the second part and live happily ever after. The End
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Old 02-02-2006, 21:52   #70
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Hehe. But it doesn't make sense to have them put the second part covering his late career on one of his films from the silent era or the mid-30s.

I still think Steamboat Round the Bend, Judge Priest and Young Mr Lincoln would have made a lovely boxset as "Three Folksy Ford Films".
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Old 04-02-2006, 16:00   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackal
I got this on DVD the other day, after seeing it mentioned in John's first post - a 1971 US TV special on Ford's westerns, featuring not only the man himself, but John Wayne, Henry Fonda and James Stewart.
Arrived today, but sadly, without the 3D specs necessary to view it properly ( ). I've vowed never, ever to view the Tony Curtis bookends, but some of the stuff is quite, quite brilliant. Fantastic to see Pappy chew the Duke out 'in the flesh' - and all for under two quid!

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Originally Posted by Narshty
Hehe. But it doesn't make sense to have them put the second part covering his late career on one of his films from the silent era or the mid-30s.
I would take it whichever way it came; wouldn't you?

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Originally Posted by Narshty
I still think Steamboat Round the Bend, Judge Priest and Young Mr Lincoln would have made a lovely boxset as "Three Folksy Ford Films".
The Critertion marketing boys say 'don't call us...' How about 'Judging Bendy President Ford'? Needs a bit of tweaking...
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Old 05-02-2006, 16:22   #72
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Ford described it as: "The worst piece of crap I've directed in 20 years." It has the look and feel of a TV movie (with a terrible accompanying score), the news of Ward Bond's death arrived on set during the shoot, Harry Carey Jr. struggled with a drinking problem, and Pappy didn't seem to give a damn - Two Rode Together was not a happy film.

Ford's third film with an indian abuction at the heart (the other two being, of course, Rio Grande and The Searchers), it could be seen as a far more pessimistic version of his '56 classic. The ingredients are there for a facinating film, a very good cast, and an interesting story; Henry Brandon, back in 'Scar' mode, plays Quanah Parker, (who, in real life, was the son of an Indian abductee, Cynthia Ann Parker), who Jimmy Stewart's Marshal and Richard Widmark's cavalry officer have to trade with in order to get abducted whites back to their settler families.

They bring back to the Fort a boy and a Mexican woman, the former now a completely feral Comanche, the latter facing a rough ride from those whispering army wives, and 'civilised' society.

It's frustratingly slap-dash stuff at times, particularly the second half, with few Fordian touches (and some inexlicably poor photography), it could easily be read as racist (of all the Comanche, only Quanah Parker himself comes across as anything near a human being), the whole barely being held together by a bravura performance from Stewart as the cynical, practical 'Guth' McCabe. It's thanks to Stewart, and Widmark, that it remains anything near watchable, even though Ford's touch has seemingly temporarily deserted him - that combination of human tragedy, which then sweeps effortlessly into slapstick humour at the denouement is jaw dropping.

Was it Bond's death, just like Fred Kennedy's during The Horse Soliders, that killed Ford's appetite and ulitmately the whole production? Who knows.

Sony's R2 DVD is at the same time very good...and not too good. The anamorphic image fluctuates from being pin-sharp to quite soft, from showing excellent strong colours to looking a little washed out (though this again, especially during some quite dull outdoor shots, could be down to the production itself). It's clean enough, the sound is decent and it's in OAR. And it's cheap enough, but one for Ford fans only.

Last edited by John Hodson; 06-02-2006 at 09:30.
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Old 07-02-2006, 12:11   #73
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DVD Town review of Criterion's Young Mr. Lincoln.
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Old 08-02-2006, 15:12   #74
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I finally got around to watching Wagon Master last night, taped off TV a while back, and really enjoyed it. Got off to a slow start, and the central characters played by Johnson and Carey were so ridiculously nice, I was actually a bit bored until the wagon train got going, and things got much more interesting. Thought it was beautifully filmed, and with the always watchable Ward Bond in support, and some great bad guys, I was left thoroughly entertained. Pity it's not available on DVD other than the French release - don't Warner own the R1 rights? If they do, I'd have thought it would be a shoo-in for the second (non-Wayne) John Ford boxset they've announced.

Last edited by jackal; 08-02-2006 at 15:14.
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Old 08-02-2006, 15:27   #75
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Yes, Warner do own it, and it is puzzling, but it doesn't seem to be included. Maybe - cross fingers - it'll make the cut; there is still time...
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:11   #76
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A poster at DVDTalk forum claims June 13 is the street date for The Searchers SE (and by association, the Wayne/Ford set?):

Quote:
The newest edition of home media retailing reports that The Searchers will be released on June 13th in a new special edition as well as on HD DVD. Warner Bros. reports that the cost of restoring the classic western was $600,000 but was worth the effort to present a new SE version of one of the studio's first ever DVD releases in 1997, which according to George Feltenstein, SVP of theatrical catalog marketing, was "Pretty much an Abomination".
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Old 15-02-2006, 23:59   #77
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Just watched Lindsay Anderson's '92 doco on John Ford on the Criterion Young Mr Lincoln (both it an the Fonda 'Parky' have transferred astonishingly well to DVD for such vintage TV programmes), excellent stuff. I've a feeling that some of the clips have been cut, probably a rights issue; for instance, there is no clip of Stagecoach only stills (which may be understandable given Warners have their own Ford agenda). But Ford's Fox films don't seem to have any problems.

Lovely to see bits of Straight Shooting, 3 Bad Men and Four Sons; as has been noted, it is a shame we only get the first part of this two-part doco - here's hoping Criterion have more for us on another Ford soon...
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Old 16-02-2006, 00:13   #78
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The Criterion is a marvellous disc. My review will be up on DVD Times on Friday and is a predictable rave. In fact, if they bothered to subtitle their extras I'd have given perfect 10s.
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Old 21-02-2006, 20:46   #79
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I've added Mike's review of Young Mr Lincoln to the first post.
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Old 22-02-2006, 10:46   #80
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has there been any news from the Warner chat at the HTF from last night ?
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