Tag Archives: Henry Fonda

John Ford – The Fugitive (1947)

Museum of Modern Art writes:
In 1946, John Ford effectively took over the crew of his friend and fellow spirit Fernández—including stars Dolores del Río, Pedro Armendáriz, and Miguel Inclán, and cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa—and, with Fernández acting as his “first lieutenant,” filmed this abstract, ambitious work on locations in Mexico and at the Churubusco Studios. Ostensibly an adaptation of Graham Greene’s unfilmably scandalous The Power and the Glory, it derives many of its plot points from Ford’s 1935 The Informer, though the film’s ultimate subject is the Mexican landscape, as explored in all of its compositional possibilities by the incomparable duo of Ford and Figueroa. Read More »

Sidney Lumet – 12 Angry Men (1957)

Synopsis:
A Puerto Rican youth is on trial for murder, accused of knifing his father to death. The twelve jurors retire to the jury room, having been admonished that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Eleven of the jurors vote for conviction, each for reasons of his own. The sole holdout is Juror #8, played by Henry Fonda. As Fonda persuades the weary jurors to re-examine the evidence, we learn the backstory of each man. Juror #3 (Lee J. Cobb), a bullying self-made man, has estranged himself from his own son. Juror #7 (Jack Warden) has an ingrained mistrust of foreigners; so, to a lesser extent, does Juror #6 (Edward Binns). Jurors #10 (Ed Begley) and #11 (George Voskovec), so certain of the infallibility of the Law, assume that if the boy was arrested, he must be guilty. Juror #4 (E.G. Marshall) is an advocate of dispassionate deductive reasoning. Read More »

Edward Dmytryk – Warlock (1959)

Synopsis:
In the small frontier mining town of Warlock, rancher Abe McQuown’s gang of cowboy cutthroats terrorize the peaceful community, humiliating the town’s legitimate deputy Sheriff and running him out of town. Helpless and in need of protection, the townsfolk hire the renowned town tamer Clay Blaisdell, as unofficial Marshal, to bring law and order to the town. Clay arrives with his good friend and backup Tom Morgan. The two men stand up to the ranch gang and quiet the town. Johnny Gannon, a former member of the ranch gang is bothered by the gang’s actions, reforms and takes on the deputy Sherrif job while his brother remains part of the gang. The addition of the official lawman to the mix further complicate matters, leading to an inevitable clash of the cowboys, the townsfolk, the gunslingers and the law. Read More »

John Ford – Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

Synopsis:
Few historical figures are as revered as Abraham Lincoln, and few director-star pairings embody classic American cinema as perfectly as do John Ford and Henry Fonda. In Young Mr. Lincoln, their first collaboration, Fonda gives one of the finest performances of his career as the young president-to-be struggling with an incendiary murder case as a novice lawyer. Compassionate and assured, this indelible piece of Americana marks the beginning of Ford and Fonda’s ascent to legendary status. Read More »

John Ford – Mister Roberts (1955)

Plot:
The film represents Henry Fonda’s return to the screen after an absence of seven years, part of which was spent playing the eponymous officer in the immensely successful stage version of Thomas Heggen’s novel. As cargo officer and second in command on a supply ship during World War II, the easygoing Lt. Doug Roberts is excluded from a much desired combat role while playing whipping boy to dyspeptic tyrant Captain Morion (James Cagney). Ensign Frank Pulver (Jack Lemmon), a brash yet cowardly wheeler-dealer, entertains Roberts with his elaborate pranks while the fatherly Doc (William Powell in his last screen appearance) offers advice. The young crew tries every available means of killing boredom, including eyeballing the nurses on a nearby island through a telescope, and Roberts does what he can to get them the R and R they badly need. Read More »

John Ford – The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

The Grapes of Wrath tells the powerful story of the Joad family’s trek from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to the fertile but futile fields of California in the early 1930s. Driven by the live rhythms of the Joel Rafael Band, this heart-wrenching award- winning adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel finds its timeless heart in the generous spirit of the common man. Read More »