Friday, June 04, 2010

Donovan's Reef (1963) or how I learned to stop worrying and Love John Ford

The great movie houses must one day fall, like the topmost towers of Illium. The Mendon Twin Drive In, The Capitol, the Coolidge Corner, that fortress known as the Brattle all will go to smash under the deluge of download culture.
Entropy favors Dunkin Donuts.
And when it becomes time to make my last stand on behalf of the Big Indoor Screen, I know that fate will reserve me a seat at the Harvard Film Archive.
Because only the Harvard Film Archive is willing to hazard all on a screening of John Ford's filmography, the monuments and the misfires.
Completism is a becoming irrelevant in the shadow of Youtube and Facebook, the HFA will have none of that though, they will show it all and compel all and sundry to make up their own minds.
So when it came screening "Donovan's Reef" Ford's 1963 "comedy" starring John Wayne, Lee Marvin and Elizabeth Allen, these are the life lessons I derived from this the master director's south seas swan song.

1.) It is quirte possible for John Ford to drink heavily and steadily through out the entire film making process and still produce an aimless charming derelict of a movie.

2.)Life is about brawls, grown adult men express their love by beating up their friends within an inch of stupidity.

3.) Life is also about drinking, chiefly beer and brandy at all hours of the day and even on Christmas, especially on Christmas.

4.) When in doubt lie to a woman, when really in doubt manipulate and evade if need be, take her water ski-ing over dangerous jumps.

5.) These United States are ruled by a King and he is Lee Marvin.

6.)Prim hawties from Boston will flirt with Cesar Romero but always settle for John Wayne no matter how old and battered the Duke may look.

7.) Modern engagements are sealed with a spanking on the affianced' female's backside...

So there you have it, the very nub of the Fordian Zeitgeist, a code by which to live and love the movies in good times and bad, inebriation and damning sobriety.

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