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Hollywood Movie Memories » john ford

Posts Tagged ‘john ford’

The Long Gray Line

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The Long Gray Line

Tagline – Warms your heart! Stirs your blood! Fires your imagination!

Starring – Tyrone Power (Martin ‘Marty’ Maher), Maureen O’Hara (Mary O’Donnell), Robert Francis (James N. Sundstrom, Jr.), Donald Crisp (Old Martin), Ward Bond (Capt. Herman J. Kohler).

Released – February, 1955

Directed By – John Ford

Produced By – Columbia Pictures Corporation, Rota Productions

Distributed By – Columbia Pictures

Description – Based on the true story of Irish immigrant Marty Maher’s 50 year career at West Point. Maher’s dedicated career took him from servant to leader and teacher.

Arriving from County Tipperary, Ireland, Marty Maher reports to West Point for work as a dishwasher. His pay proves insufficient and Maher decides that enlisting would provide a better life.

A mistaken impression provides a rough start and a resulting fight gains him only a stint in the guardhouse. Upon his release, Marty finds that Capt. Kohler, although upset with the fight, believes Marty has enough boxing skill to be an instructor.

His new duties allow for Marty to meet fellow immigrant Mary O’Donnell from County Donegal. Mary works as the cook for Capt. Kohler and their meeting is love at first sight for Marty. Mary, however, refuses to speak with him following the advice of Capt. Kohler that a conversation with the headstrong Irishman would only lead to an argument.

In spite of this, Marty remains persistent. It isn’t long before they speak, they do fight, she falls for him, and they marry.

This warm and sentimental human story continues with their life experiences, and their relationships formed during Marty’s long and distinguished career at West Point. The story of Marty Maher is not all smooth sailing, as a cheating scandal, and racial bigotry make for some rough times.

NOTABLE: Actor Harry Carey, Jr. makes a brief appearance as young cadet Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Long Grey Line was the last film for actor Robert Francis who would suffer an untimely death at age 25.

Location shooting was done at West Point during the summer months in order to not disrupt normal activities.

John Ford originally wanted to cast John Wayne as Marty Maher.


They Were Expendable

Monday, May 16th, 2011

They Were Expendable [Blu-ray]

Tagline – A Tribute to Those Who Did So Much . . . With So Little!

Starring – Robert Montgomery (Lt. John Brickley), John Wayne (Lt. J. G. ‘Rusty’ Ryan), Donna Reed (Lt. Sandy Davyss), Jack Holt (General Martin), Ward Bond (‘Boats’ Mulcahey), Marshall Thompson (Ens. ‘Snake’ Gardner).

Released – December, 1945

Directed By – John Ford

Produced By –  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – An action-packed and inspiring tribute to the contributions made by PT boats during World War II. On duty in Manilla Bay, Philippines in December, 1941, Lt. ‘Rusty’ Ryan is applying for a transfer. Disappointed by his superiors refusal to consider PT boats as a viable navel craft, he hopes to be reassigned to a destroyer.

Before completing his transfer request, news arrives of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Now, more determined than ever, Lt. Ryan and Lt. John Brickley push for a combat assignment for their squadron.

At first dismissed, they are finally given a chance to prove their worth. As Japanese warplanes descend on the island in a surprise attack, the squadron is able to down three Japanese planes, but it is not nearly enough as the island’s military base is destroyed.

Their squadron of PT boats is now assigned to messenger duty until they are ordered to sink a Japanese cruiser that is shelling the island of Bataan. The mission is a success, but the increasing Japanese onslaught has sealed the fate of doomed Americans in both Bataan and Corregidor.

The squadron’s duty is now to evacuate General Douglas MacArthur, his family, and a group of VIP’s from those areas. They again succeed, but the squadron has suffered considerable casualties in both life and boats.

There’s more danger ahead that includes the PT squadron’s most difficult challenge of all. Bataan has fallen and Corregidor may be next. While the PT boats have proven their worth, the chance of any surviving the next mission does not look good.

NOTABLE: They Were Expendable was nominated for two Academy Awards – Best Effects, Special Effects, and Best Sound, Recording.

Actor Robert Montgomery was a real-life PT Boat Captain during the war and helped direct some of the sequences for the film when director John Ford took ill.

The film is loosely based on the experiences of Medal of Honor winner John Bulkeley.

John Wayne’s character is based on Lt. Robert Kelly and Donna Reed’s on U.S. Army Nurse Peggy Smith. The real Lt. Robert Kelly and Nurse Smith sued MGM over their romantic portrayal in the film. The case was settled out of court.

They Were Expendable was the first war feature to be directed by John Ford.


The Informer – Another Triumph For John Ford

Monday, March 7th, 2011

 May, 1935 – Director John Ford’s RKO Radio Pictures production of The Informer has added another success to his resume. The story takes place in 1922 Ireland, during the days of the Black and Tans. Ford, himself an Irish-American and student of Irish history, is on a directorial roll with this film following last year’s The Lost Patrol.

Helping Ford was the psychologically perceptive script written by Dudley Nichols. Both director and screenwriter have elicited widespread praise from the critics. After becoming a master director of silent screen westerns, Ford extended his range with the addition of sound to motion pictures.

British star Victor McLaglen plays the lead as Gypo Nolan, a dim-witted Judas who sells out his best friend for a few pounds before being overwhelmed by his conscience and the consequences of his treachery.

McLaglen, one of Ford’s favorite actors, is a natural at playing a “roguish” type of character with his own background including an under-age stint in the Life Guards, a laborer, a prizefighter, a goldminer, and an Army officer.

John Ford and Victor McLaglen, as they did with The Lost Patrol, have once again teamed up to provide movie audiences with a teriffic motion picture to add to their must-see list – The Informer.

The Informer

Monday, March 7th, 2011

The Informer

Starring – Victor McLaglen (Gypo Nolan), Heather Angel (Mary McPhilip), Preston Foster (Dan Gallagher), Margot Grahame (Katie Madden), Wallace Ford (Frankie McPhilip), Una O’Connor (Mrs. McPhilip).

Released – May, 1935

Directed By – John Ford

Produced By – RKO Radio Pictures

Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures

Description – The 1922 Irish War of Independence is tearing the country apart. In Dublin, Gypo Nolan is a brute of a man who has been kicked out of the rebel movement and, along with his prostitute girlfriend Katie Madden, is on the verge of starving.

While walking the streets of Dublin, Gypo sees a “wanted for murder” poster offering a reward of 20 pounds for information aiding the capture of Gypo’s best friend and rebel Frankie McPhilip. After being insulted by Katie regarding their poverty, and knowing of her wishes to go to America, Gypo’s loyalty to his friend begins to weaken.

Gypo goes to the headquarters of the British Army and reveals that Frankie is at the home of his mother. The arrest goes badly, and Frankie is killed in front of both his mother and sister. Gypo is given the 20 pounds reward and heads for a pub.

At the pub, he tells Katie that he has gotten the money from robbing a drunken American sailor. Gypo attends Frankie’s funeral and rouses the suspicion of members of the Irish rebel army with the money in his pockets and by his defensive behavior.

The rebels take Gypo to see Dan Gallagher, the commander of their forces, who tells Gypo that if he knows who the informer is, and tells them, he will again be allowed to join in with them. Fearing for himself, Gypo claims that the informer is tailor Pat Mulligan and invents a motive to go along with his claim.

Meanwhile, Dan Gallagher speaks with Frankie’s sister Mary and learns that Gypo had been with her brother the night of his death. Further conversation with a stunned Pat Mulligan, over Gypo’s allegation, cause Dan and the rebels to turn their attention right back to Gypo.

NOTABLE: The Informer won four Academy Awards for Best Director (John Ford), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Victor McLaglen), Best Writing, Screenplay, and Best Music, Score. The motion picture was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Film Editing.

In a little bit of trickery, director John Ford told Victor McLaglen on the day before a critical scene regarding his characters trial to take the day off and relax. McLaglen did, and just as Ford expected, spent the day drinking. The next day he had to film the trial scene with a hangover, just the effect Ford wanted for the scene.

Dudley Nichols, who wrote the film is six days and won the Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay, became the first person to refuse an Oscar citing Union reasons.

A presentation script copy for The Informer was found on a garbage pile in Madison, Wisconsin. The copy was brought to the television program Antiques Roadshow and appraised with a value of $4,000.

Initially, the film was a box office failure. However, after garnering four Oscars, The Informer was re-released and earned millions.

The Informer is director Samuel Fuller’s favorite film.


The Lost Patrol

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

The Lost Patrol

Tagline – Blistering Sun… Blazing Bullets!

Starring – Victor McLaglen (The Sergeant), Boris Karloff (Sanders), Wallace Ford (Morelli), Reginald Denny (Brown).

Released – February, 1934

Directed By – John Ford

Produced By – RKO Radio Pictures

Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures

Description – World War I is raging and here in the Mesopotamian desert the commanding officer of a small British patrol has just been killed by an Arab sniper. The command of the patrol is now in the hands of the Sergeant who was never informed as to what their mission was.

In an effort to rejoin their brigade, the Sergeant leads his men north where he hopes they will meet. This is a longshot as the Sergeant is unsure of his own position, or for that matter where the brigade may actually be located.

The eleven men reach an oasis where they decide to spend the night. However, that evening one of the sentries is killed and another seriously wounded. Their horses have also been stolen stranding them in the oasis that is now surrounded by the enemy.

One by one, the remaining men are being picked off by the unseen enemy.

NOTABLE: The Lost Patrol received an Oscar nomination for Best Music, Score.

The Lost Patrol is a remake of a 1929 British silent film that starred Victor McLaglen’s brother Cyril McLaglen.

Actor Victor McLaglen actually served with the Irish Fusiliers in Mesopotamia during World War I.