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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

BECOMING JOHN FORD (2007)


Nick Redman made this documentary on the iconic American director as an add-on to the magnificent Ford-At-Fox DVD box-set. It’s a painfully arty piece of selective criticism that’s all but a double portrait of Ford & studio head Daryl F. Zanuck. Fair enough for the post 1935 work, but what makes the box-set indispensable comes from the bounty of rediscovered Ford pics made @ Fox before the Zanuck era. With few exceptions, the excerpts & bloviators ignore these little seen beauties to rehash the usual Fordian debates of the late ‘60s auteur wars. (One fresh idea makes a visual comparison of Henry Fonda’s Young Abe Lincoln to Nosferatu! A delicious idea, but to what point?) The rest is boilerplate Film Comment stuff dressed up with fancy monochromatic lighting. A disappointment. But try and check out the Extras which include Ford's WWII documentaries, including a fine restoration of THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY/’42 which has long been circulating in horrendous public domain prints.

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