THE GRAPES OF WRATH
1940, 20th Century Fox, 129 min, USA, Dir: John Ford

Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) returns from prison to find his family evicted from their dust-blown, Midwestern farm and packing to head for the deceptively golden promise of California prosperity. Director John Ford brings John Steinbeck’s classic novel about Depression-era poverty and the resultant migration and labor unrest to vivid life. With an incredible supporting cast that includes Jane Darwell, John Carradine and Charley Grapewin. Nominated for seven Oscars and winner of two (Ford got Best Director and Best Supporting Actress went to Darwell). "Shows half a nation with the economic rug pulled out from under it. … To those … who had gone hungry or been homeless, it would never become dated. And its sense of injustice, I believe, is still relevant. The banks and land agents of the 1930s have been replaced by financial pyramids.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.


YOUNG MR. LINCOLN
1939, 20th Century Fox, 100 min, USA, Dir: John Ford

Director John Ford and actor Henry Fonda’s first collaboration produced this poignant, fascinating chronicle of Abraham Lincoln’s early life. The emphasis is on the simple joys and hardships that shaped the president-to-be’s youthful years, events that molded a shy country lawyer into one of the most distinguished of American leaders. We follow Lincoln as he clerks in a general store, studies law from second-hand books and endures heartbreak as his first love, Ann Rutledge (Pauline Moore), dies a tragic, premature death. Ford culminates his story as savvy Lincoln skillfully defends two brothers (Richard Cromwell, Eddie Quillan) wrongfully accused of murder. Marjorie Weaver plays future first lady Mary Todd. With Alice Brady, Donald Meek and Ward Bond.


MY DARLING CLEMENTINE
1946, 20th Century Fox, 97 min, USA, Dir: John Ford

John Ford directs one of the most beautiful, melancholic, lyrical Westerns ever made, painting an atmospheric interpretation of Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda), the Earp siblings (Ward Bond, Tim Holt), Doc Holliday (Victor Mature) and their escalating feud with the cattle-rustling Clanton family (Walter Brennan, John Ireland and Grant Withers). Although Ford hews closer to the legend than to the cold hard facts (especially with the fictionalized female characters, Cathy Downs as Clementine and Linda Darnell as Chihuahua), that is, in large part, the point of the film - an elegiac vision of a heroic age when almost-mythological personalities walked the earth as real, flesh-and-blood people. Poignant, exhilarating and gorgeous from beginning to end.


Syndicate content