Draw Pardner … John Ford’s canvas …

Henry Fonda

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 Stagecoach forty 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 color and 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”.

So … pardon my colors.

Henry Fonda

My Darling Clementine (1946) … Masterpiece

In my study of Journalism, Graphic Design and Fine Arts, I learned a simple lesson: “Keep your mouth shut and let the pictures do the talking.”

These ‘stills’ from My Darling Clementine speak loudly. My Darling Clementine probably contains more ‘Iconic Images’ than any other Western ever made. These are just a few:

My Darling Clementine / Fonda
My Darling Clementine / Opening Vista
My Darling Clementine / Henry Fonda
My Darling Clementine / Walter Brennan
My Darling Clementine / Victor Mature and Henry Fonda
My Darling Clementine / Victor Mature
My Darling Clementine / Henry Fonda
My Darling Clementine / Henry Fonda
My Darling Clementine / Henry Fonda
My Darling Clementine / Walter Brennan
My Darling Clementine / Walter Brennan
My Darling Clementine / Vista
My Darling Clementine / Adios
My Darling Clementine / Farewell
My Darling Clementine

John Ford … man of substance … man of vision …

Stagecoach Wallpaper

“I am… a mushroom; On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then.” / John Ford

Documentary Biography: Directed by John Ford (1971)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066997/

“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.” / John Ford

Directed by John Ford

John Ford Western Filmography

Information edited from Screen Junkies:
John Ford Western Movies – Jackie Barlow

/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/genres-movies/westerns/john-ford-western-movies/

  • Rider of the Law” – 1919, black and white silent movie – Told of the adventures of  the Texas Rangers.
  • 3 Bad Men” – 1926, Ford’s last silent western. Filmed in the Mojave Desert and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
  • Stagecoach – 1939, Ford’s first western with sound. Starring the unknown John Wayne, along with Claire Trevor, this movie is still the most admired and the most imitated of all the Hollywood movies.
  • MoDrums Along the hawk – 1939, Ford’s first Technicolor movie.  It co-starred Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert.
  • My Darling Clementine – 1946, romanticized version of the legend of Wyatt Earp and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Film’s starred Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp, Victor Mature as Doc Holliday, and Linda Darnell.
  • Fort Apache” – 1948, The first of Ford’s “Cavalry Trilogy”.  John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and also Shirley Temple in one of her last movie appearances. It was one of the first movies to present a sympathetic and authentic view of Native Americans.
  • She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” – 1949, second of the “Cavalry Trilogy”.  In Technicolor.
  • Rio Grande – 1950, Third part of the “Cavalry Trilogy” starred John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, and screen debut of Wayne’s son Patrick Wayne.
  • The Searchers – 1956, The only western Ford made in the 1950’s besides “Rio Grande”, this  movie was named “the greatest western of all time” by the American Film Institute in 2008. Featured the rising star Natalie Wood as well as Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, and others.
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” – 1962, said to be Ford’s last great movie.  It starred John Wayne, Vera Miles, James Stewart, Edmund O’Brien, Andy Devine, Lee Marvin, Denver Pyle, and John Carradine.
Moonrise over Monument Valley / Wallpaper

“We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” / Navajo Proverb

Tonto / Shaman …

In scouting between the lines of the trailer for the new The Lone Ranger movie (starring Johnny Depp as Tonto), we glean that Depp’s portrayal of Tonto appears to be – in part – that of a Native Shaman. (Tread softly Johnny. Critics – and many natives – await in ambush.)

 The image below is stated as that which Depp bases his portrayal of Tonto upon:

Painting by Kirby Sattler “I Am Crow.”

Kirby Sattler / Artist / Website: http://kirbysattler.sattlerartprint.com/

More info:

Johnny Depp Reveals The Inspiration Behind His Tonto Look In ‘The Lone Ranger

http://www.geeksofdoom.com/2012/04/24/johnny-depp-reveals-the-inspiration-behind-his-tonto-look-in-the-lone-ranger/

In the best interests of tabloid journalism … questions – like smoke signals – do arise. And where there’s smoke ….

Yet Depp’s answers give us hope:

“One of the more curious aspects of the Tonto make-up is the series of black lines that run down his face. According to Depp, those lines are meant to symbolize the character’s emotional life. “There’s this very wise quarter, a very tortured and hurt section, an angry and rageful section, and a very understanding and unique side. I saw these parts, almost like dissecting a brain, these slivers of the individual,” Depp explained. “That makeup inspired me.”

The revitalized Tonto has been met with more than its fair share of criticism, much like Jack Sparrow was in the very beginning. No part of the character’s new look has been mocked as much as the crow that sits on top of his head, another inspiration from the Sattler painting. “It just so happened Sattler had painted a bird flying directly behind the warrior’s head. It looked to me like it was sitting on top,” Depp said. “I thought: Tonto’s got a bird on his head. It’s his spirit guide in a way. It’s dead to others, but it’s not dead to him. It’s very much alive.”

The Lone Ranger 2013 – Depp as Tonto

So far … so good.

John Ford Point … Monument Valley

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
John Ford / Great Western Directors
John Ford and John Wayne at Monument Valley
Stagecoach Poster

Who wuz that masked man? … anyhow??

 The Lone Ranger Opening Theme 

The Lone Ranger Theme Music / William Tell Overture 

Normally I’m pretty excited when I hear there’s a new Western being made …
But when I heard that the movie was a remake of The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp playing Tonto … I had my reservations (if you’ll excuse the expression).
But then I heard that the project had been axed … due to a lack of wampum (if you’ll excuse the expressions).
But then I herd it wuz back on again – them having raised the loot and lowered the costs.
Anyway … the project is now in the can and below is the recent info.
My fears that the movie might insult the legacy, legend and traditional of original Lone Ranger and Tonto are still not thwarted, but we still don’t have enough info to know whether this project will fly or not.

I hope I’m wrong.

The Trailer:
http://ca.ign.com/articles/2012/10/03/hi-yo-silver-watch-the-new-lone-ranger-trailer

The Poster:

Shots:

Depp as Tonto … Hammer as the Ranger

The Ranger and Tonto at John Ford’s Point
The real Tonto and Lone Ranger

Lee Van Cleef – Cowboy Hall of Fame

Trivia: Internet Movie Database IMDB  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001812/bio

– Van Cleef  had almost given up on his acting career in the mid-’60s and turned to painting when he was cast by Sergio Leone in For a Few Dollars More (1965). It made him a superstar in Europe and restarted his career in the US, making him again a recognizable and bankable name.

– Lee had one green eye and one blue eye. This was corrected in the movies with colored contact lenses.

– He was involved in a car accident in 1959 in which he lost his left kneecap. Doctors told him he would never be able to ride a horse again because of the injury. Within six months he was back in the saddle. But the injury plagued him for the rest of his life.

Lee had a smile …

Ride on Lee.

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid … Iconic Images: “The Kid”

Billy the Kid by Woody Guthrie

The Kid …

Jeremiah Johnson … made his way into the mountains …

The Ballad of Jeremiah Johnson – Tim McIntire

Jeremiah Johnson made his way into the mountains
Bettin’ on forgettin’ all  the troubles that he knew
The trail was wide and narrow
And the eagle  or the sparrow
Showed the path he was to follow as they flew.
A  mountain man’s a lonely man
And he leaves a life behind
It ought to  have been different, but oftimes you will find,
That the story doesn’t  always go that way you had in mind.
Jeremiah’s story was that kind. . .
Jeremiah’s story was that kind.

The Way that you Wander … Tim McIntire  

The way that you wander is the way  that you choose,
The day that you tarry is the day that you lose.
Sunshine or thunder, a man will always wonder.
Where the fair wind blows.

Jeremiah Johnson (Vocal Mix #2): Tim McIntire 

An Indian says you search in vain for what you cannot find.
He says  you’ll find a thousand ways for runnin’ down your time.
An Indian didn’t  scream it, he said it in a song,
And he’s never been known to be wrong.
He’s never been known to be wrong.

Sam Elliott … rides in … MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame

Some actors seem born to be in Westerns …

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Elliott:

Samuel Pack “Sam” Elliott (born August 9, 1944) is an American actor. His rangy physique, thick horseshoe moustache, deep, resonant voice, and Western drawl lend to frequent casting as cowboys and ranchers.

… One of his first film roles was as ‘Card Player #2’ in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

… In 1979, he played the oldest brother in the made-for-TV miniseries The Sacketts, also starring Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Glenn Ford, Ruth Roman, Mercedes McCambridge, Jack Elam, and Gilbert Roland, among others.

… including Buffalo Girls (1995) in which he played Wild Bill Hickok. In 1998, Elliot was named the Grand Marshal of the Calgary Stampede parade and rode in the procession before 300,000 spectators. He has also starred in Road House (1989) with Patrick Swayze and played Virgil Earp in Tombstone (1993), which starred Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.

Sam Elliott Website: A Tribute to Sam Elliott: http://www.automatedculture.com/sam_elliott/

“I`ve spent my entire career on horseback or on a motorcycle.”

A Western Education …

In researching Westerns … I’m finding I have some ‘dues’ to pay. I’ve discovered my education in Western movies is sadly lacking and there are a ton of Westerns out there that I have never seen that I need to ‘catch up on’ – even at this late date.

In doing so I’ve also found that I sometimes have to subject myself to a few Westerns that are less than excellent. Like tonight, when I decided to watch The Shadow Riders with Tom Selleck. Tom Selleck is a favorite actor of mine and, in fact, is in one of My Favorite Westerns: Quigley Down Under. But The Shadow Riders is (sadly) not of the same calibre. It’s a TV Movie – a B Movie. Not that all TV Movies or B Movies are poor – some are pretty good and a lot of fun to watch – they just aren’t normally ‘top of the line’ in production qualities.

The Shadow Riders actually has some pretty fine talent in – besides Selleck:  Sam Eliott, Ben Johnson; Catherine Ross … plus a sampling of trusty support actors. But it’s not a good movie.

Selleck and Elliot appeared together several times in Westerns:

With regard to Ben Johnson: a fine Western actor who has appeared in MANY Westerns – and is also in another of my My Favorite Westerns: The Wild Bunch. He’s one of the four (anti) heroes who march to the final showdown – along with William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Warren Oates.

Ben Johnson definitely has a place in the MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame

Ben Johnson

Ride on Ben …

Ride on.

The Wild Bunch: Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine
The Wild Bunch: Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

Cooper enters the Hall …

Gary Cooper Inducted:
MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame

“The general consensus seems to be that I don’t act at all.”

Gary Cooper Western Filmography

The Virginian 1929 / Fighting Caravans 1931 / The Plainsman 1936 /
The Cowboy and the Lady 1938 / Northwest Mounted Police 1940 /
The Westerner 1940 / Along Came Jones 1945 / Distant Drums 1951 /
Springfield Rifle 1952 / High Noon 1952 / Garden of Evil 1954 /
Vera Cruz 1954 / Man of the West 1958 / Alias Jesse James 1959 /
They Came To Cordura 1959 / The Hanging Tree 1959

High Noon … the Guns …

Guns … ever a controversy …  never a solution ? 


In High Noon even Grace Kelly – a pacifist Quaker and sworn gun hater – eventually pulls a gun and kills somebody.
God forbid that any of us should ever have to do such a thing … and in a perfect world guns wouldn’t exist.
Unfortunately, this is surely not a perfect world.
Do Westerns glorify and encourage gun usage?
In my youth I handled and used guns extensively. Today I own no guns and haven’t shot one in many years … and have no intention of doing so.

Guns: Internet Movie Firearms Database: http://www.imfdb.org/w/High_Noon