In John Ford’s somber exploration mythologizing of American heroes, he slowly reveals the character of Owen Thursday, who sees his new posting to the desolate Fort Apache as a chance to claim the military honour which he believes is rightfully his. Arrogant, obsessed with military form and ultimately self-destructive, Thursday attempts to destroy the Apache chief Cochise after luring him across the border from Mexico, against the advice of his subordinates. –IMDb
Maine-born John Ford (born Sean Aloysius O’Fearna) originally went to Hollywood in the shadow of his older brother, Francis, an actor/writer/director who had worked on Broadway. Originally a laborer, propman’s assistant, and occasional stuntman for his brother, he rose to became an assistant director and supporting actor before turning to directing in 1917. Ford became best known for his Westerns, of which he made dozens through the 1920s, but he didn’t achieve status as a major director until the mid-‘30s, when his films for RKO (The Lost Patrol 1934, The Informer 1935), 20th Century Fox (Young Mr. Lincoln 1939, The Grapes of Wrath 1940), and Walter Wanger (Stagecoach 1939), won over the public, the critics, and earned various Oscars and Academy nominations. His 1940s films included one military-produced documentary co-directed by Ford and cinematographer Gregg Toland, December 7th (1943), which creaks badly today (especially compared with… read more
Beautifully shot film that gets more interesting each minute, and is surprisingly subtle.
Ford renders Col. Thursday's internalized conflict through passive and dull dance. The balance of duty-to-process with uncontrolled passions of family are formally married in a manner that is overly-forced and un-human as the Thursdays and O'Rourkes march hand-in-hand without giving in to emotions. The march thus parallels the uncontrolled Apaches, poetically depicting Thursday's error: refusal of the 'human.'
Also: Terrific new covers for forthcoming books.