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Archive for January 13th, 2012

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 By Peter Lenihan

This is the first entry in a bi-weekly series that will normally run every other Wednesday. The subject, of course, will be the films of John Ford. There are “spoilers.” I am posting this piece from an internet café—the internet at my workplace is inconsistent at best, and for whatever reason it is impossible for me presently to access WordPress sites there. What this means is that I won’t be able to respond to comments in a timely manner. However, I can see them through a feed and anyone with specific comments or questions can email me at plenihan@gmail.com.

“Jack” Ford could have promised a world in fifty minutes; it’s certainly what he offers here. The usual suspects are presented—a marshal, a teacher, a cashier, a doctor, a bum and a kid. In other words, a town collectively remembered both in 1920 and now, and although it supposedly rests “on the borderline between Wyoming and Nebraska” this could just as easily be Tourneur’s Walesburg or Ford’s own Fairfield. Bim is spoken of before seen, the off-screen bum telling kids they can be president someday. It’s offered almost as a gag, and since we don’t know the “no good” Bim yet it’s easy to laugh—the tramp telling the uneducated and the poor-as-dirt they too can become the most powerful man in the world. It’s a lot less funny, though, once we see Bim, played here with real intelligence and a tremendous degree of sensitivity by Buck Jones. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1939 92m) not on DVD

Who’s your love, tell me who…who’s your love?

p  Edward Black  d  Carol Reed  w  Frank Launder, Michael Pertwee  novel  Emery Bonnet  ph  Jack Cox  ed  R.E.Dearing  md  Louis Levy  m/ly  Manning Sherwin, Eddie Pola  art  Alex Vetchinsky

Margaret Lockwood (Leslie James), Renée Houston (Gloria Lind), Lilli Palmer (Clytie Devine), George Robey (Horace Blount), Naunton Wayne (Hugo Smythe), Hugh Sinclair (Earl of Pangborough), David Burns (Joe Gold), Helen Haye (Aunt Primrose), Moore Marriott (Bretherton Hythe), Mary Clare (Mrs Wallis), Kathleen Harrison (Penelope), Martita Hunt (Headmistress at Mme Dupont’s), Muriel Aked (assistant head, Mme Dupont’s), Drusilla Wills (Miss Polkinghorne), Michael Hordern,

Here’s a film to make one think about the ramifications of the Hays Code in Britain.  It’s interesting to ponder the impact, for while the Code itself didn’t apply to British films, it pretty much did by proxy.  Not conforming to the code could mean no distribution in the US, which could spell financial calamity.  So Anna Neagle could no longer wear that Doris Zinkeisen dress from the sadly lost The Little Damozel in which she may as well have been naked (indeed her cleavage in Nell Gwyn would still cause offence).  We could no longer see Jessie Matthews’ scanties in her musical interludes, so her star dwindled.  So Britain would become demure, or at least for the most part.  There were films that still echoed the pre-1934 naughtiness, films that may have had limited exposure overseas and may be very much of their time but which seem now priceless heirlooms of a forgotten British cinema.  One such film is Carol Reed’s A Girl Must Live(more…)

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