Posts tagged Ford

A SINGLE MAN (Ford, 2009) - Perhaps not the best movie to watch when your significant other is due to get on a plane back home, but one I really enjoyed nonetheless. Firth is simply perfect in his minimalism, and while I could have done without the color filtering, it was at least motivated (in my naive interpretation, it was basically de-saturated = sad, saturated = noticing the beauty and small pleasures in life), and Ford does know how to make a shot noticeable, for instance by using Janet Leigh’s eye, above.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but who’d have thought the awkward boy from ABOUT A BOY would turn out so beautiful? The adjective is carefully chosen - he’s not hot or handsome or cute, beautiful’s the word. It feels weird talking about it, since I found out - looking up his height on imdb - that he’s my baby brother’s age almost to the day, but the way Ford films and frames him, he’s hard not to objectify. It’s actually kind of interesting, seeing the male gaze firmly in place but trained very clearly on men. I know it’s not meant for me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it.
As for the ending, I was spoiled on it, but it didn’t much matter. I probably could have guessed it, otherwise - it’s very tidy, like the protagonist, and literarily (?) almost inevitable. A SINGLE MAN might not be very original, but as a meditation on death and grief, I’ve seen worse. 

A SINGLE MAN (Ford, 2009) - Perhaps not the best movie to watch when your significant other is due to get on a plane back home, but one I really enjoyed nonetheless. Firth is simply perfect in his minimalism, and while I could have done without the color filtering, it was at least motivated (in my naive interpretation, it was basically de-saturated = sad, saturated = noticing the beauty and small pleasures in life), and Ford does know how to make a shot noticeable, for instance by using Janet Leigh’s eye, above.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but who’d have thought the awkward boy from ABOUT A BOY would turn out so beautiful? The adjective is carefully chosen - he’s not hot or handsome or cute, beautiful’s the word. It feels weird talking about it, since I found out - looking up his height on imdb - that he’s my baby brother’s age almost to the day, but the way Ford films and frames him, he’s hard not to objectify. It’s actually kind of interesting, seeing the male gaze firmly in place but trained very clearly on men. I know it’s not meant for me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it.

As for the ending, I was spoiled on it, but it didn’t much matter. I probably could have guessed it, otherwise - it’s very tidy, like the protagonist, and literarily (?) almost inevitable. A SINGLE MAN might not be very original, but as a meditation on death and grief, I’ve seen worse. 

6 notes

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (Ford, 1946) - This movie really illustrates just how superfluous 3D is: a good director can convey depth just fine in 2D. Ford does it all throughout the movie, but the shot above is a good example. The focus of the scene is the first encounter of Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) and Doc Holliday (Victor Mature), who talk in the foreground. Fonda is at the end of a very long bar counter, and Mature is at the start of it. We see some other people approach the counter, but don’t think much of it, because the conversation’s the focus. Then, without a cut, without even changing the focus, Ford draws the second plane we’d been ignoring so far into the action.
People often think that watching movies with a critic’s eye takes away from “just enjoying” movies. But a lot of the time, a bit of film literacy can really enhance how you experience a movie. I’ve seen the story of Wyatt Earp before (I quite like TOMBSTONE, for instance), but seeing just how a story’s told can still be a thrill.  

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (Ford, 1946) - This movie really illustrates just how superfluous 3D is: a good director can convey depth just fine in 2D. Ford does it all throughout the movie, but the shot above is a good example. The focus of the scene is the first encounter of Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) and Doc Holliday (Victor Mature), who talk in the foreground. Fonda is at the end of a very long bar counter, and Mature is at the start of it. We see some other people approach the counter, but don’t think much of it, because the conversation’s the focus. Then, without a cut, without even changing the focus, Ford draws the second plane we’d been ignoring so far into the action.

People often think that watching movies with a critic’s eye takes away from “just enjoying” movies. But a lot of the time, a bit of film literacy can really enhance how you experience a movie. I’ve seen the story of Wyatt Earp before (I quite like TOMBSTONE, for instance), but seeing just how a story’s told can still be a thrill.  

2 notes

STAGECOACH (Ford, 1939) - An odd screen cap, perhaps, but illustrating the thing that, for me, was most notable about this western: for 1939, it’s mighty progressive with its mores. Ford doesn’t leave any doubt about it: the prostitute is the decent one in this film, and the ‘legion of decency’ are humorless villains - they’re depicted with less respect than the murderers. He also sides with an escaped convict (Wayne, who’s in his early thirties here, and - I never thought I’d say it - quite hot) and a drunk, but that comes as less of a surprise. I honestly thought I’d like this more than I eventually did, but it’s undeniably well-made, with a nice camaraderie between the stagecoach passengers and beautiful vistas. Seeing Geronimo as a stereotypical Indian (i.e. completely vilified, a storytelling device rather than a person) was a bit jarring, especially with ‘operation Geronimo’ (a rather unfortunate name, if you ask me) just happening and all. 

STAGECOACH (Ford, 1939) - An odd screen cap, perhaps, but illustrating the thing that, for me, was most notable about this western: for 1939, it’s mighty progressive with its mores. Ford doesn’t leave any doubt about it: the prostitute is the decent one in this film, and the ‘legion of decency’ are humorless villains - they’re depicted with less respect than the murderers. He also sides with an escaped convict (Wayne, who’s in his early thirties here, and - I never thought I’d say it - quite hot) and a drunk, but that comes as less of a surprise. I honestly thought I’d like this more than I eventually did, but it’s undeniably well-made, with a nice camaraderie between the stagecoach passengers and beautiful vistas. Seeing Geronimo as a stereotypical Indian (i.e. completely vilified, a storytelling device rather than a person) was a bit jarring, especially with ‘operation Geronimo’ (a rather unfortunate name, if you ask me) just happening and all. 

THE INFORMER (Ford, 1935) - Kind of watched this for the Fuller article: he cites his as one of his top ten movies ever, and in his autobiography says that some of the same sets were used in this film and SHOCK CORRIDOR. I can’t say I detected that, to be honest, but that might just be the difference in the atmospheres: this movie’s foggy all the way through, a long way from the stark lighting in Fuller film.
All in all, I was conflicted: I enjoyed watching this film because Ford is just such a good director, and the film’s full of memorable shots and nice symbolism, but I didn’t care much for the story. It’s a good thing I didn’t watch this with BF - he can’t stand it when protagonists make dumb decisions, and “Gypo” makes one after the other. I suppose the not-quite-subtle message much have appealed to Fuller though, and the movie does start and end on memorable notes.

THE INFORMER (Ford, 1935) - Kind of watched this for the Fuller article: he cites his as one of his top ten movies ever, and in his autobiography says that some of the same sets were used in this film and SHOCK CORRIDOR. I can’t say I detected that, to be honest, but that might just be the difference in the atmospheres: this movie’s foggy all the way through, a long way from the stark lighting in Fuller film.

All in all, I was conflicted: I enjoyed watching this film because Ford is just such a good director, and the film’s full of memorable shots and nice symbolism, but I didn’t care much for the story. It’s a good thing I didn’t watch this with BF - he can’t stand it when protagonists make dumb decisions, and “Gypo” makes one after the other. I suppose the not-quite-subtle message much have appealed to Fuller though, and the movie does start and end on memorable notes.

1 note