Collectivity is one of Ford’s grandest and most persistent themes, and it comes to the fore in this small-scale western with no stars than remained one of Ford’s personal favorites. The minimal plot focuses on the various interactions between half a dozen separate groups: ornery outlaws (who kill a bartender out of spite in the pre-credits sequence), horse traders (Ford regulars Harry Carey Jr. and Ben Johnson), traveling Mormons (including a couple of more Ford standbys, Ward Bond and Jane Darwell) who hire the horse traders to help them out, show people (including Joanne Dru and Alan Mowbray), lawmen, and Indians. Furthermore, this may be the closest Ford ever got to making a musical, another form that’s usually collective in spirit; the Sons of the Pioneers--a vocal group that Ford would use again on his next feature, the last and least of his cavalry-trilogy films, Rio Grande--sings no less than four songs, and when cowpokes Carey and Johnson decide to join the Mormons, their decision is expressed by singing the movie’s theme song.
Theatrical Release: April 19th, 1950
DVD Review: Warner - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Warner Home Video - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||English, French, Spanish, None|
with Harry Carey Jr., Peter Bogdanovich and John Ford
What more can be said - one of the director's favorite of his own films and a pure western masterpiece. There must have been a restoration as it looks magnificent even though it is housed on a single-layered DVD. Aside from some niggling noise - it gives a wonderful presentation. The transfer is progressive and exceptionally clean with consistent audio. The Warner DVD sports optional subtitles.
The commentary has some gaps where Carey Jr. and Bogdanovich are watching the film. The Ford input is from an interview Bogdanovich did previously and the director admits the influence of his brother and his desire to make 'pictures'. He discusses his 'eye for composition' not really knowing where it came from. He never thought about filmmaking as an art or of any great importance. It's enjoyable to listen to.
This is another easy recommendation. A magnificent Ford western, only available previously on a French DVD that has a far inferior A/V and no commentary. Need another reason? It's $13. Don't hesitate.