Still from Malta Story (Courtesy: tvguide.co.uk)

Brian Desmond Hurst – Malta Story (1953)

A telling of the 1942 Axis attacks, and civilian and British resistance, during the siege of Malta, and the role of these events in the defeat of Rommel in north Africa. Excellent acting by Jack Hawkins and Alec Guinness. Highly effective use of archival footage of the battles at sea and in the air, and…

Victor McLaglen in The Infomer

John Ford – The Informant (1935)

A well constructed narrative that works at several levels: the political context, personal intellectual capability, loyalties, the charity of giving, forgiveness, and the longing for true liberty. It is well paced and exceedingly well acted by Victor McLaglen. The trial scene owes a debt to Fritz Lang’s M, and the debt is well discharged. Ford…

The famous closing shot of The Searchers

John Ford – The Searchers (1956)

One of Ford’s best films, with a great role for John Wayne. The text is reclamation, and the subtext who warrants it − and how morality is relative, and, if not exposed by, is aware of, guilt. When I first saw this, I thought it was a screed against the First Nations; now I think it’s…

Wagon Master

John Ford – Wagon Master (1950)

Ford regarded this as one of his finest films, and there is something to the spare, almost cold, cinematography of the landscape that holds the eye. The theme is the establishment of community, in this case Mormon settlers heading for the promised land in Utah, knowing what hardship is before them. Beyond this, there is…

Wagon Master

John Ford

Ford, John: Cheyenne Autumn (1964). One of Ford’s finest. When the Cheyenne, already long into their return to their homeland, split into two factions, one’s heart breaks. Ford, John: Fort Apache (1948). –  A study of the martinet, and his disregard of the respect due to life. John Wayne acts well, and Monument Valley outdoes everyone. Ford, John; Marshall,…