Archive for November 5th, 2013


By Jon Warner

“Sentimental” is often a pejorative term used to describe a certain kind of art that wears its heart on its sleeve. Regarding film in particular, Ford, Capra and Spielberg have had the term flung at them in condemnation at times. Sentiment is actually neither good nor bad in and of itself though. It is simply a mode for conveying a certain feeling that the director is trying to express, but more often than not, the term has significant negative connotations for some. John Ford was certainly fond of sentiment, or nostalgia or whatever you want to call it, and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is probably his greatest use of it in westerns at least, wrapping the film with a heartwarming charm. As the second film in The Cavalry Trilogy (and best to my mind), it followed Fort Apache and came before Rio Grande. It’s significantly memorable for several reasons even among Ford’s films. Among them the beautiful cinematography by Winton C. Hoch, in color, as he made iconic use of Monument Valley and incorporated imagery borrowed from the paintings of Frederic Remington; furthermore, this just might be the prime example of Ford’s “kitchen sink” approach to making westerns….meaning everything but the kitchen sink….where he weaves action, romance, sentiment, comedy into the plot and often turns on a dime to switch gears. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the most memorable thing about the film: John Wayne’s epic and beautiful evocation of traditional Fordian values as he portrays an aging hero, cavalry officer Captain Nathan Brittles. (more…)

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