Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pick of the Week:

Undoubtedly it has to be the "John Ford goes to War" retrospective at the Harvard Film Archive on Quincy Street in Cambridge this weekend.
If ya wanna git yer war on, this is the place to go...

The funny thing about the John Ford series at the HFA is how much I am enjoying his clear misfires, oh don't get me wrong, "The Searchers" is the "Citizen Kane" of westerns, but for all that I got plenty love for stuff like "The Fugitive" (1947), Sergeant Rutledge (1960) and even a complete catastrophe like "Seven Women" (1966).
Hell I'm waiting for "The Fugitive" to come out in a definitive Criterion collection edition!
The reason for this perverse affinity for Ford's critically unheralded films is simple, sometimes a great man, a directorial genius with a lo-ong filmography reveals something more of himself when a film goes off a cliff.
In "The Fugitive" Ford surrenders to his every repressed Murnau-style expressionistic impulse no matter how inappropriate, in Sergeant Rutledge Ford attempts to single handed summon to life a black action hero (the incomparable Woody Strode) a full ten years before the genre would ever be viable and in "Seven Women", the melancholy final film to a storied career a last ardent valentine to all the actresses and women of strength he'd flirted with artistically over a forty year span.
So it goes without saying I'll be at "Donovan's Reef" tomorrow night, I hear it's nothing but an ode to drinking and bar fights with Lee Marvin and John Wayne doing the duties, I can't wait.

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