Tag Archives: John Ford

My Movie Alphabet – Blogathon

Click on title to be taken to “My Movie Alphabet” Blogathon central.

“A”

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A defining film of both the science fiction and horror film.  Ridley Scott’s first sci-fi film established him as a visual force in filmmaking.  The film’s art direction and set design hold-up to this day.  When the Alien is finally revealed it is worth the wait.  The edge-of-your seat chaos of the siren & strobe self destruct sequence is matched with the equally tense quiet terror of the escape pod shuttle scene.

“B”

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Is there any more dreaded question from a child to a parent regarding a film than, “Mommy, what happened to Bambi’s Mother?”

“C”

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The brightest film-noir you will ever watch.  “My daughter, my sister, my daughter, my sister”.

“D”

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Quite possibly one of the best foreign films ever made.  There is no glory in this war or this crew.  You feel the claustrophobia of serving on a submarine and knowing that if your hull is breached you are dead.

“E”

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Because of how old I was when I first watched “E.T.”, no other film has given me such an emotional connection.

“F”

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When A Fish Called Wanda first came out I was fully discovering British humor.  Through my local PBS channel I fell in love with Benny HillFaulty Towers, and Are You Being Served?  At the local video store I discovered the Monty Python films.  And then Wanda came to a theatre near you.

“G”

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“Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

Though Goodfellas and later The Sopranos present a more realistic and less glamorous life of the mafia, The Godfather is the reason why we all at some point wondered what it would be like if we were a gangster.

“H”

Click on image to watch video clip tribute

Humphrey Bogart – Arguably one of the most underrated actors of all time and the first anti-hero.  If you look at four of his most famous roles–Rick (Casablanca), Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Charlie Allnut (The African Queen), and Queeg (The Caine Mutiny)–you will see each is unique and powerful and not stereotypical and one-note.  His enduring appeal is because he played the flawed and/or reluctant hero.  His characters grew as people and you felt for their story.

“I”

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“They call me Mr. Tibbs!”  Sidney Poiter and Rod Steiger at their best.  A film like this if it were made today would have come out five years after it was relevant.  In the Heat of the Night came out in the middle of the Civil Rights movement as the country was still tearing itself apart before Martin Luther King’s assassination.

“J”

Click on image to view 1973 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance Speech

John Ford – When asked what directors he favored, Orson Wells replied, “the old masters, by which I mean John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford.”  To know why Wells said this watch The Grapes of WrathCheyenne AutumnHow Green Was My ValleyThe Quiet ManThe Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and most especially The Searchers.

“K”

Click on image to view “Khannnnn!” scene.

Khan – You ever wonder why Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan is still arguably the best Star Trek movie?  A very real enemy with very real motivation with an incredible performance by Ricardo Montalban.  Add a good story with great direction and the best performances given by all the regular players, and you have a film that has stood the test of time.

“L”

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Leach, Archibald – Archibald Leach mastered one role to perfection:  Cary Grant.  Probably no other classic Hollywood Star has worked with more famed directors and in more quality films than Cary Grant.  And no star ever walked away from the film business like he did, thereby leaving us a never-changing image of who he was.  Later in life when he forgot his ticket to a charity fundraiser, he explained his situation and said he was Cary Grant.  To wit, she replied “That’s impossible.  You don’t look like Cary Grant.”  Smiling he responded, “who does?” (Source of story is The Encyclopedia of Hollywood by Scott & Barbara Siegel)

“M”

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The best Harrison Ford film you have never watched with his best performance ever.

“N”

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Watch Nosferatu today and you will still be impressed with its story, effects, and principal performance.  If you had watched in 1922, then you would not have slept for days.

“O”

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The single greatest icon shattering moment in cinema history, in one of the best Westerns ever made, with one of the most evocative scores used in film.

“P”

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“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” – Inigo Montoya;”As you wish.” – Wesley; “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya; “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is ‘never get involved in a land war in Asia”‘- but only slightly less well-known is this: ‘Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line’!” – Vizzini; “Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped.” – Prince Humperdinck

“Q”

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“Now listen 007”

“R”

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My favorite Hitchcock film.  (with possibly the worst trailer I have ever watched)

“S”

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Love them or hate them, superhero movies are here to stay.

“T”

I spent many a Saturday afternoon watching old Tarzan films, but I’m sure those Saturday TV versions never aired the scene I linked to the image above.

“U”

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“You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That’s the Chicago way! And that’s how you get Capone. Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? I’m offering you a deal. Do you want this deal?” – That’s why Sean Connery resurrected his career and won an Academy Award.

“V”

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I don’t think anyone does court dramas better than Sidney Lumet.  The Verdict is Exhibit-B for my case.

“W”

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After the teaser trailer, my expectation for this film went through the roof, and Pixar delivered.  It is still my favorite Pixar film.

“X”

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The Gold Rush was Charlie Chaplin’s tenth feature as The Tramp and includes the famous dancing shoes with forks scene where he later eats the shoes.  It’s amazing that after playing The Tramp for so long, that Chaplin was still able to create a classic film and not allow the character to go stale.

“Y”

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One name:  Frau Blucher…(horses whining)

“Z”

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Zardoz gave us James Bond in a loin clothe, and Sean Connery wondering where he went wrong in his career.

Thank you to Myfilmviews for introducing me to this Blogathon


5 Best Cowboy Movies (Westerns)

Picking the 5 Best Westerns was very difficult, but here was my criteria.  First, no star could have more than one film.  Second, no director could have more than one film.  And third, it could not be contemporary western (i.e. No Country for Old Men or Brokeback Mountain).  So here goes:

#5:  The Searchers

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One of the Duke’s best performances in one of John Ford’s best films.  Due to the casting of caucasians in red make-up as Native-Americans, the film feels a little dated.  But the great story makes up for it.

#4:  High Plains Drifter

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John Wayne once asked Clint Eastwood if he could make one normal Western.  The answer is no.  This movie proves why.  Among other things, the ending is Surreal.

#3:  True Grit (2010)

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The dialogue in this film is brilliant, and thanks must be given to the author of the book – Charles Portis.  What also must be said is the John Wayne version is equally loyal to the book but is only beaten out by the Coen Brothers update because of the supporting cast and, more importantly, Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross.

#2:  The Wild Bunch

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In it’s time considered one of the most violent movies ever made.  It still holds-up today, especially the small moments of cruelty–a group of children using a magnifying glass to burn ants, for example.  A great film about men facing their own oblivion, both from life and their way of life.

#1:  Once Upon a Time in the West

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Even if you take away the great vistas, performances, and musical score, thanks to one icon shattering moment this film would still be #1 on this list.  The best Western ever made was directed by an Italian (Sergio Leone), filmed in Spain, and starred Americans.  Though the story can be difficult to follow, this movie is proof positive that a film does not have to be perfect to be great.  Watch it and you will see what I mean.

What are your picks?