6 Shots From 6 Films: Special John Ford Edition

4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films is just what it says it is, 4 (or more) shots from 4 (or more) of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films lets the visuals do the talking.

John Ford was born 127 years ago today, in Maine.  Seeing as how John Ford is one of the most influential and important directors of all time, it was pretty much guaranteed that we were going to share a few shots from his filmography on the Shattered Lens.  As a challenge to myself, I decided that I would only picks shot from Ford’s non-westerns.

However, I then remembered just how much I love The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and that plan pretty much went out the window.

Anyway, in honor of John Ford, here are….

6 Shots From 6 Films: Special John Ford Edition

The Informer (1935, dir by John Ford, DP: Joseph H. August)

The Long Voyage Home (1940, dir by John Ford. DP: Gregg Toland)

The Grapes of Wrath (1940, dir by John Ford. DP: Gregg Toland)

They Were Expendable (1945, dir by John Ford. DP: Joseph H. August)

The Quiet Man (1952, dir by John Ford, DP: Winton C. Hoch)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962, dir by John Ford. DP: William H. Clothier)

Here Are The 2019 Nominations of the Detroit Film Critics Society!

Earlier on Friday, the Detroit Film Critics Society released their nominations for the best of 2019!

Now, back in 2018, the DFCS honored some great films that were overlooked by the Academy, films like Eighth Grade, A Quiet Place, and First Reformed.  I mean, I really, really loved the 2018 DFCS awards.  And you know what?  I’m pretty happy with what they came up with for 2019 as well!  I especially like the nomination for Anna Paquin in The Irishman.  With all the overblown controversy about how many lines she spoke in the film, it is often overlooked that she gave a great performance and, with just the power of her withering glare, pretty much transformed Peggy into the conscience of the film.

Here are the DFCS nominees for the best of 2019!  The winners will be announced on December 9th!

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
Bong Joon-ho – Parasite
Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Julianne Moore – Gloria Bell
Lupita Nyong’o – Us
Charlize Theron – Bombshell
Renee Zellweger – Judy

Robert De Niro – The Irishman
Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Robert Pattinson – The Lighthouse
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems

Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse
Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Sam Rockwell – Richard Jewell
Wesley Snipes – Dolemite Is My Name

Kathy Bates – Richard Jewell
Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit
Anna Paquin – The Irishman
Florence Pugh – Little Women

The Irishman
The Lighthouse
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Frozen II
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Toy Story 4

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Uncut Gems
Wild Rose

Dolemite Is My Name
The Farewell
The Irishman
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Amazing Grace
Apollo 11
Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror
Knocking Down the House
Rolling Thunder Review: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

Ana de Armas – actress (Knives Out, The Informer, Yesterday)
Jessie Buckley – actress (Wild Rose, Judy)
Kaitlyn Dever – actress (Booksmart, Them That Follow)
Aisling Franciosi – actress (The Nightingale)
Paul Walter Hauser – actor (Richard Jewell)
Florence Pugh – actress (Fighting with My Family, Midsommar, Little Women)
Lulu Wang – director (The Farewell)
Olivia Wilde – director (Booksmart)

44 Days of Paranoia #24: The Informer (dir by John Ford)

For today’s entry in the 44 Days of Paranoia, I want to take a look at John Ford’s Oscar-winning 1935 film, The Informer.

The Informer takes place in Dublin in 1921, during the Irish War of Independence and shortly before the creation of the Irish Free State.  Friendly but stupid and irresponsible Gypo Nolan (Victor McLaglen) has been kicked out of the Irish Republican Army and is pretty much a pariah among his own people.  His prostitute girlfriend, meanwhile, only wants to raise enough money to book passage for America and start a new life.

Gypo sees an opportunity when he runs into his former IRA colleague Frankie (Wallace Ford), who is one of the few people to treat Gypo kindly.  Frankie is also fugitive who has a £20 bounty on his head.  Gypo impulsively turns informer and lets the British know where Frankie is hiding.

When Frankie is killed, the guilt-ridden Gypo uses the reward money to buy a bottle of whiskey and then spends the rest of the day drunk and trying to convince the IRA the Frankie was betrayed by a nonexistent man named Mulligan.

When it was initially released in 1935, The Informer did well with both audiences and critics.  It was nominated for Best Picture and won Oscars for John Ford, Victor McLaglen, and screenwriter Dudley Nichols.  However, when viewed today, it’s easy to see the flaws in The Informer.  The film feels stagey, heavy-handed, and rather melodramatic.

And yet, with all that in mind, I still like The Informer.

Some of that, of course, is because it’s a film about Ireland and, specifically, it’s a film about how the Irish Catholics were oppressed by British occupiers.  This is a topic that I find to be endlessly fascinating and, speaking a someone who still has family living in Ardglass, County Down, I have to admit that I have a weakness for films (like this one) which tend to take the Irish side of things.

On a technical level, John Ford’s direction holds up pretty well.  There’s a few scenes where the story’s theatricality gets the better of him but, for the most part, Ford does a good job of capturing Gypo’s dreary existence and maintaining a level of suspense, despite the fact that Gypo’s fate is obvious to the audience long before it’s obvious to anyone in the film.  In Ford’s hands, the fog-filled and shadowy streets of Dublin serve as a representation of Gypo’s increasingly desperate and paranoid mindset.  Ford’s Dublin is a world where danger can come out of nowhere and where there’s no place for a big and stupid target like Gypo to hide.

The film is dominated by Victor McLaglen’s theatrical performance.  Again, there a few moments where McLaglen’s performance is a bit too broad but, for the most part, his boisterous approach works will for his well-meaning but not too smart character.  One can see not only why the film’s characters are weary of Gypo  but also why they have a difficult time rejecting him all together.

The Informer may not be perfect but it’s still worth tracking down and seeing.

Other Entries In The 44 Days of Paranoia 

  1. Clonus
  2. Executive Action
  3. Winter Kills
  4. Interview With The Assassin
  5. The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald
  6. JFK
  7. Beyond The Doors
  8. Three Days of the Condor
  9. They Saved Hitler’s Brain
  10. The Intruder
  11. Police, Adjective
  12. Burn After Reading
  13. Quiz Show
  14. Flying Blind
  15. God Told Me To
  16. Wag the Dog
  17. Cheaters
  18. Scream and Scream Again
  19. Capricorn One
  20. Seven Days In May
  21. Broken City
  22. Suddenly
  23. Pickup on South Street