Saturday, March 17, 2007

They don't make 'em like this anymore...

Just finished watching the great John Ford classic Rio Grande on the TV this snow-bound March Saturday afternoon. It is nice to remember what Americans used to admire in a man, and in a cause.

* Dedication to duty
* Discipline over personal feelings
* Strength and decisiveness in battle
* Belief in truth, and moral right
* Joy in ethnic diversity and stereotypes
* Protection of the virtue of a woman, even unto death
* The honor of the Confederacy, even in the Union army after the war
* Great horsemanship

No way this movie could be made these days, at least not like it was. And more's the pity...

Sir Chuck of the Duke's brigade

14 comments:

  1. I agree. I am a John Wayne fan myself.

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  2. It does seem that they can make good chick flicks but don't have the knack for making good guy flicks anymore sometimes. Once in a while they will make a guy flick that is as good as the best of the oldies. Hunt for Red October, and Master and Commander were like that. It may be that the public's taste hasn't changed as much as the moviemakers has.
    To be fair the guy flicks of old weren't always good. But many were very good and the writers had a feeling for them which they sometimes miss today.
    Sometimes the fault is hubris, they overestimate the sophistication of their own opinions and their own ability to probagate them in an entertaining manner. Conversely they underestimate the "guy flick" genre(which is strange as the sixteenth century version of guy flicks was good enough for Shakespeare). For instance they might pack it with violence creating a "gladitorial" effect. In doing so they underestimate the subtlety of the guy flick. In a classic guy flick violence is in the place where it belongs and contributes to the story. For instance High Noon had only one killing. Zulu had much killing but little blood and no hate. And Great Escape had very little of any, and where it was it was well placed. And so on. Good guy flicks don't delight in blood, but delight in, well-"guyness". Perhaps it needs a scriptwriter like John Ford who also knows how to delight in guyness.
    My favorite John Wayne, by the way was "North to Alaska".
    I can't say what my favorite oldie overall is. Possibly "Cockleshell Heros"

    Sir Jason the Cinematic Expert

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  3. By the way Chuck have you ever imagined what Your Dream Movie would be like?

    Sir Jason

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  4. * Dedication to duty
    * Discipline over personal feelings
    * Strength and decisiveness in battle
    * Belief in truth, and moral right
    * Joy in ethnic diversity and stereotypes
    * Protection of the virtue of a woman, even unto death
    * The honor of the Confederacy, even in the Union army after the war
    * Great horsemanship
    _______________________________

    Actually I think John Ford had more of a grasp of how soldiers think then modern war movie makers. American soldiers display cynicism as an affectation and filmmakers seem to read to much into it and make it ring false. The fact is that John Wayne was closer then caricature paints-though Rick of Casablanca catches a glimpse.

    Sir Jason

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  5. have you ever imagined what Your Dream Movie would be like?

    Can't recall that I ever have, Sir Ja...but please, honor us with yours!

    Sir C

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  6. The fact is that John Wayne was closer then caricature paints-though Rick of Casablanca catches a glimpse.


    Wow, great observation, Sir Ja, never thought of it like that. That must be the essence of why Wayne and Bogart are enduring greats, while most others seem to fade away into sadly humorous period identities.

    Thanks for the cinematic insight of the week!

    Sir C

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  7. Can't recall that I ever have, Sir Ja...but please, honor us with yours!

    Sir C
    _____________________________
    Yahedi-romanticised biography of Orde Wingate, British adventurer, crusader , oddball, self-righteous zealot, and founder of the IDF

    Like the Desert Wind-romanticised biography of Ralph Bagnold, explorer, scientist, soldier and leader of the Long Range Desert Group

    Queen of Cities-

    Espionage during the thirties and forties centered around Istanbul with it's romantic setting, posh old-world, rich-peoples hangouts and the labyrinthine mixture of ideologies, creeds, ethnic groups, and lost causes which were as "Byzantine" as ever struggling to hold their own while the Great Powers stomped about making havoc.

    Cutty Sark-the gallant clipper-ship Cutty Sark

    Dying Winds-the tale of the Gustav Ericson line, the gallant people of the Aland isles and the last stand of the sailing ship

    Faithful One-the story of how the brave Mary Ann Patten navigated the Neptune's Car to San Francisco

    Deliverer-the story of the great Raoul Wallenberg who rescued tens of thousands of Jews with no weapon. A friendly but unpretentious fellow, with non assuming manners, he never seems like what you would expect a "saint " to seem like. Yet he may have been one of the greatest and the Nazis had a strange fear of him. Maybe the righteous really are as the scent of death. Unfortunatly the Russians arrested him-perhaps they could not believe someone was really doing all that just for love of his fellow men. We will never really know what happened to him as the depths of the Gulag are unexplorable. Thus this must of necessity be a tragedy. Still people like that should be remembered and we should have a movie for this reason if no other.

    Sir Jason

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  8. Espionage during the thirties and forties centered around Istanbul with it's romantic setting, posh old-world, rich-peoples hangouts
    -----------------------------
    A spy-story isn't quite complete unless it has a mysterious, "posh old world, rich-people's hangout"

    Sir Jason

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  9. The fact is that John Wayne was closer then caricature paints-though Rick of Casablanca catches a glimpse.


    Wow, great observation, Sir Ja, never thought of it like that. That must be the essence of why Wayne and Bogart are enduring greats, while most others seem to fade away into sadly humorous period identities.

    Thanks for the cinematic insight of the week!

    Sir C
    ____________________________

    It is commonplace to say that soldiers care more about their comrades then "the cause". However that fact is skewed by the lack of realization that emotion and loyalty are not the same thing. The Army was the establishment and a soldier in being cynical was grasping onto what little freedom he could maintain. Also Nationalism or Ideology for a Great Power army tends to be a default(Lost Cause soldiers like Poles, etc would probably think about that sort of thing more).
    One reason I know this is because the Army was inconsiderate of it's mens psychological well-being sometimes. The classic example was that new men, instead of being assigned to units in reserve and given a chance to integrate were often dropped in the line like ammunition(a positivly Russian thing to do). Yet the US army took on the best during the war and if it seldom performed spectacularly it equally seldom performed embarrassingly. It is obvious that "duty, honor, country" did mean something to them though they would never admit it.

    Sir Jason

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  10. Yahedi-romanticised biography of Orde Wingate, British adventurer, crusader , oddball, self-righteous zealot, and founder of the IDF
    -----------------------
    Yahedi: Hebrew for "the friend". No better gratitude.

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  11. Hey, wish you were making movies!

    I'd pay to see "Queen of Cities"...

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  12. Hey, wish you were making movies!

    I'd pay to see "Queen of Cities"...
    _____________________________
    So would I, naturally enough. It was inspired by reading "Istanbul Intrigues"

    Sir Jason

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  13. Yahedi-romanticised biography of Orde Wingate, British adventurer, crusader , oddball, self-righteous zealot, and founder of the IDF
    -----------------------
    Yahedi: Hebrew for "the friend". No better gratitude.
    ______________________
    Correction: thats Yahidid not Yahedi

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yahedi-romanticised biography of Orde Wingate, British adventurer, crusader , oddball, self-righteous zealot, and founder of the IDF
    -----------------------
    Yahedi: Hebrew for "the friend". No better gratitude.
    ______________________
    Correction: thats Yahidid not Yahedi
    ________________________________
    Again corrected: that's Hayidid.


    Sir Jason

    ReplyDelete