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John Ford Collection [DVD]
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Classic John Ford collection begins with 'My Darling Clementine' (1946), a classic paean to the Old West. Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) and his brothers Virgil (Tim Holt) and Morgan (Ward Bond) head for a peaceful ranching life in California, but tragedy strikes and makes Wyatt take up the Sheriff's badge again in the town of Tombstone - home to Doc Holliday (Victor Mature) and the notorious Clanton Boys. It isn't long before the Earps, Holliday and the Clantons face off in the most famous gunfight in history - at the OK Corral. Ford's adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic novel 'The Grapes Of Wrath' (1940), follows the traumatic journey made by the Joads, a dispossesed Oklahoma family who head towards California to begin a new life. Henry Fonda stars as Tom Joad, struggling against the forces of nature and the Depression to set down roots for the future. In 'The Horse Soldiers' (1959), John Wayne plays hardbitten Union Cavalry Colonel Marlowe, who teams up with a pacifist doctor (William Holden) in this Civil War western.Together with a feisty Southern belle (Constance Towers), the pair lead a cavalry patrol on a mission 300 miles into Confederate territory, in an attempt to destroy a railroad junction and choke off vital supply lines.
The Grapes of Wrath - John Ford's memorable screen version of John Steinbeck's epic novel of the Great Depression--often regarded as the director's best film--stars Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. After having served a brief prison sentence for manslaughter, Joad arrives at his family's Oklahoma farm only to find it abandoned. Muley (John Qualen), a neighbour now nearly mad with grief, tells Tom of the drought that has transformed the farmland of Oklahoma into a desert and of the preying land agents who have ploughed under the shacks of the sharecroppers. Joined by former hellfire preacher Casy (John Carradine), Tom finds his extended family packing their ramshackle truck to seek work in the fields of California. Among the talented cast, Fonda does perhaps the best work of his career, as does Qualen in the film's most haunting sequence. In a stirring film that stands as a microcosm of the depression experience of millions, Ford gives poverty a human face in a way that was rare then and even rarer in the decades to follow as Hollywood films with a sense of class consciousness dwindled like a species nearing extinction.In John Ford's How Green Was My Valley, Huw Morgan, now a middle-aged man leaving the mining town of Cwm Rhondda, recalls the events that most impressed themselves upon his younger self (Roddy McDowall). Still too young to work in the local coal mine like his father, Gwilym (Donald Crisp), and his five older brothers, he senses the seriousness of an imminent strike by the rift it creates between his father and the other boys. Richard Llewellyn's nostalgic novel, with its Fordian themes of family and community, could hardly have found a better director. While the acting and writing are excellent, this is truly Ford's film, one in which his brilliantly chosen groupings and compositions are the most expressive elements. Possibly the most moving film of Ford's career, How Green Was My Valley received five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. The Horse Soldiers - This latter-day sort-of Western from John Ford--falling midway between The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance--is a crisp re-telling of a true-life episode from the Civil War. In 1863 a Union colonel named Grierson (Marlowe in the film, and John Wayne by any name) led his cavalry several hundred miles behind Confederate lines to cut the railroad between Newton Station and soon-to-be-embattled Vicksburg. There's a certain amount of bombast in the running arguments about wartime ethics between Marlowe and the new regimental surgeon (William Holden), who don't take to each other at all. But Ford more than makes up for it with such tasty scenes as an encounter with a couple of redneck Rebel deserters (Denver Pyle and Strother Martin), an ethereal swamp crossing led by a cornpone deacon (Hank Worden), and above all the famous skirmish with a hillside full of grade-school cadets from a venerable military academy. The film ends rather abruptly because Ford abandoned a climactic battle scene--the veteran stunt man and bit player Fred Kennedy having been killed in a horse fall. --Richard T. Jameson My Darling Clementine - In another of his classic Westerns, John Ford again reflects upon the advance of civilisation on the receding frontier, recounting the events leading up to and including the legendary gunfight at the O.K. Corral. As they drive their cattle toward California, Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) and his brothers, Morgan (Ward Bond), Virgil (Tim Holt), and young James (Don Garner), stop outside Tombstone, Arizona, where they refuse an offer for their stock made by Old Man Clanton (Walter Brennan) and his son, Ike (Grant Withers). The three older brothers ride into town, and, after Wyatt subdues a drunk, return to the wagons to find James dead and their cattle stolen. With little doubt about who the perpetrators are, Wyatt decides to accept the offer to be marshal of Tombstone that he had just recently refused. Although ostensibly focused on the famed gunfight, My Darling Clementine's more concerned like many of Ford's films with the creation of a community, the rule of law, and the civilising influence of women on the wild and woolly West. When the showdown finally comes, it's without blood lust, as the Earp brothers conduct themselves with the ritual solemnity of samurai warriors. Fonda gives a subtle, brilliantly understated performance in the lead role, establishing a naturalist motif that is picked up and furthered by Joseph MacDonald's magnificent, barely lit shots of Ford's beloved Monument Valley.
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Grapes of Wrath"(40) is based on the Pulitzer prize winning novel of 1939 by John Steinbeck. The film covers the arduous and harrowing journey of the Joad family from their abandoned home in Oklahoma to California, and their attempts to try and find work in this new land. The first half of the film is faithful to the book. The second half less so. Henry Fonda gives one of his more powerful performances as Tom Joad, just released from prison who returns to a deserted home. He travels on to find his family. The film is very strong on family loyalty but is mostly about the ills of social injustice.
At the end of the film Tom goes off to join a movement committed to social justice and says the following famous words:-
"I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look, wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build, I'll be there, too."
"How Green Was My Valley"(41) is also based on a famous novel by Richard Llewellyn, who strangely enough was an Englishman. This film chronicles the lives of the Morgan family in the South Wales coalfield at a time of great social and economic upheaval.Read more ›
Languages: English, Italian, Spanish, German, French.
Subs: English (HoH), Italian, Spanish, German, French, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Dutch, Swedish, Portuguese, Turkish.
The Horse Soldiers:
Languages: English, Italian, Spanish, German, French.
Subs: English (HoH), German (HoH), French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese.
How Green Was My Valley:
Subs: English (HoH), Czech, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Swedish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Hungarian, Polish.
My Darling Clementine:
Subs: English (HoH).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movies. I knew most of them. Happy with the content and extremely happy to review them.Published 19 months ago by Joao Gentil
Grapes Of Wrath : One of the many of my most favourite films that I have purchased from Amazon, this time on 22-06-2012 within a John Ford box set, so's a soupcon belated... Read morePublished on 23 Sept. 2012 by MEL's Scotland