“What are you squeezin’ that watch for?
Squeezin’ that watch ain’t gonna stop time.” Glenn Ford as Ben Wade / 3:10 to Yuma
Quiet on the set! Master at Work …
One critic has noted the likely influences of German Expressionist film makers in 3:10 to Yuma. Such insight is beyond my ken – so it’s much appreciated. Other, closer to home influences, are more obvious, as from Fred Zinnemann’sHigh Noon and John Ford’s Classics Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine … others.
No color? No Computer Generated Effects?
All the unique virtues of Black and Film making are in evidence. Plus more:
high angle … low angle … wide angle … echo shots … close ups … lighting … shot framing … scene composition … dramatic use of Light/Dark/Shadow … Direction …
Nearly every shot in 310 to Yuma is crafted … seamlessly and unpretentiously integrated.
Director Sergio Leone didn’t invent Close-Up shots, but he certainly was influential in their use.This is partly why The Appaloosa is often referred to as the “American Spaghetti Western” – as Director Sidney J. Furie uses close-ups extensively. The movie was also made during the height of Spaghetti Western popularity (1966) and has more than it’s share of Mexican banditos.
Leone’s Eyes … guess who ?
Leone’s Eyes …
Eastwood, Van Cleef, Wallach, Bronson
Furie’s Eyes … In your face Amigo
The Appaloosa – Screen shots – uncropped
“The truth is, whether your film is about the great mythological character you have to do right, or it’s a little movie that nobody ever heard of, you still approach it like it’s the most important thing in the world. But failing goes with the territory. Filmmakers are like gunslingers, and you don’t win every duel.”
“I haven’t lived a perfect life. I have regrets. But that’s from a lifetime of taking chances, making decisions, and trying not to be frozen. The only thing that I can do with my regrets is understand them.”
- Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner Western Filmography
Silverado (1985) / Dances With Wolves (1990) / Wyatt Earp (1994) /
Open Range (2003)
When you attend Art College, the first thing they do is take your colors away and lock ‘em up. Then they hand you a black crayon and a piece of white paper and say: “Shut up and Draw, pardner.”
And draw you do.
In 1917 John Ford was handed a black crayon and a camera – and between 1917 and 1927 he drew 62 black and white ‘moving pictures’. ‘Silent films’ they called ‘em.
Some 40 of these ‘pictures’ were lost – basically thrown away. But in the process Ford learned the Mastery of composition, framing and direction.
Then, about 1928, somebody said: “Hey … maybe this guy can help us figure out how to use this thing called ‘Sound’.”
Wikipedia: “Stagecoach (1939) was Ford’s first western since 3 Bad Men in 1926, and it was his first with sound. Reputedly Orson Welles watched Stagecoachforty times in preparation for making Citizen Kane. It remains one of the most admired and imitated of all Hollywood movies, not least for its climactic stagecoach chase and the hair-raising horse-jumping scene, performed by the stuntman Yakima Canutt.”
Ultimately, in 1939, Ford finally got his colors:
Wikipedia: “Drums along the Mohawk (1939) was a lavish frontier drama co-starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert it was also Ford’s first movie in colorand included uncredited script contributions by William Faulkner. It was a big box-office success, grossing $1.25 million in its first year in the US and earning Edna May Oliver a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance.”
But Ford had learned something about Black and White – it could say things in dramatic ways that color often distracted from. So on occasion he went back to his black crayon and white slate, as in“The Man who shot Liberty Valence”.
Eagle Dance Song – Ronald Roybal – Native American Flute Music
John Ford Point … Monument Valley
“Director John Ford’s 1939 film Stagecoach, starring John Wayne, has had an enduring influence in making Monument Valley famous. After that first experience, Ford returned nine times to shoot Westerns — even when the films were not set in Arizona or Utah. A popular lookout point is named in his honor as “John Ford Point.””
- Travels with Grama http://www.travelswithgrama.com/travels/monvalley.htm
Below: John Ford’s Point: Shot from the new movie: The Lone Ranger- starring Johnny Depp and Arnie Hammer.
John Ford’s Point – Monument Valley – The Lone Ranger 2013
Director John Ford at John Ford Point – Monument Valley
I’ve decided I need to create another section called The Great Western Directors.
I hadn’t intended this, but it’s become unavoidable. The reason being that in working on my celebration of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, I’ve discovered so much material and information on Sam Pekinpah that it could almost take up half the blog spot by itself.
Pekinpah was a very interesting man – and a great Director. He made about 5 Westerns – most notably The Wild Bunch and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid – and his impact on filmdom itself has been so powerful (not just Westerns) that he cannot be ignored. Quite a few other people feel the same: there is so many documentarys, songs, numerous articles, and interesting commentary from people that worked with him, for him and against him that I think it will prove interesting to many Western fans – and add to their appreciation of his work.
Other Directors of note (off the top of my head) include: John Ford, Howard Hawkes, Sergio Leone, John Sturges, Anthony Mann, … and there will easily be another three or four that I wish to honour.
Typically, the more I work on this blog the bigger the project becomes. I do wonder if I shouldn’t be more restrained in what I am putting out because I’m not sure how willing people will be to look through such a lot of material. Yet, as I said, some of it is so interesting that I feel folks will find it of interest also … ??