Category Archives: Movies
It is a shame that Glenn Ford (1916-2006), contemporary of many Hollywood luminaries including his chum William Holden, did not receive the credit he deserved for a long and distinguished film and TV career. Perhaps the most egregious omission is that Citadel Press never published The Films of Glenn Ford.
In The Great Movie Stars: The International Years, David Shipman wrote of Ford, “It is always a pleasure to renew acquaintance with him, especially in comedy, where his relaxed and impish performances as a bumbling ordinary guy have been much underrated. In drama he remains the Little Man, often victimized and battling grimly against the forces of fate.”
Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford was born on May 1, 1916 in Quebec City. In 1922 the family relocated to Los Angeles. Gwyllyn, now Glenn, made his first feature film in 1937, Night in Manhattan. In 1939, the same year as Holden gained fame in Golden Boy, Ford was 4th billed in Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence but was in fact the key player. His breakout role was as a young German caught up in the Nazi net cast over Jews and others the Fascist regimes considered undesirables in So Ends Our Night (1941), a major film starring Fredric March and Margaret Sullavan. The same year he co-starred with Holden in the quality western, Texas. Eventually the Holden character goes bad. (Almost a decade later they reversed roles for The Man from Colorado, with Ford as a psychopathic colonel become federal judge after the Civil War.)
Like Holden, Tyrone Power, Clark Gable and various other Hollywood leading men, Ford joined the service during World War II. He enlisted in the Marines.
The war over, Ford returned to the Columbia Pictures fold and had his big breakout role as Johnny Farrell opposite siren Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946). Now considered a staple of film noir, it would not be Ford’s last venture into that arena. Although hardly anyone realizes it today, Ford and Hayworth were a legitimate movie team, co-starring in three other films: The Loves of Carmen (1948), Affair in Trinidad (1952), and The Money Trap (1966). Unfortunately, these films were primarily memorable for the casts, not the plots.
Ford became a major western hero, and sometimes, like James Stewart, a tortured one. The same year as The Man from Colorado (1948), Ford starred in Lust for Gold, a tale of the search for the Lost Dutchman mine. The ending featured a spectacular earthquake. In Western Films: A Complete Guide, author Brian Garfield suggested that as the amoral German immigrant, Ford gave the best performance of his career. (Note that the same year The Treasure of the Sierra Madre had a similar plot and theme: greed.). Ford’s son wrote that co-star Ida Lupino ranked his father and Richard Widmark as her favorite leading men.
Five quality westerns followed: The Violent Men (1955) opposite Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson, Jubal (1956) opposite Felicia Farr and Valerie French and the amazing male duo of Ernest Borgnine and Rod Steiger with Charles Bronson in support. An acknowledged classic was next: 3:10 to Yuma. Ford played ingratiating but dangerous outlaw Ben Wade, captured and assigned to Dan Evans (Van Heflin), a rancher hired to put him on the train over the dangerous obstacle of Wade’s scurvy gang. Wade comes to respect Evans and actually helps him survive. There were two westerns in 1958. Cowboy was rather epic in scope, with a hard edge befitting this tale based on fact. The dude played by Jack Lemmon joined Ford’s no-nonsense rancher on his cattle drive and became a man. The Sheepman was not so hard-edged, with Ford battling with the cattlemen (naturally) and sparring with spunky Shirley MacLaine in this, her fifth film. A sixth western intended as a large-scale remake of the epic 1931 Best Picture Academy Award winner, 1960’s Cimarron was a major disappointment, as would the 1962 remake of 1921’s The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Ford’s first noir classic had been Gilda, and Ford had another significant—and vastly more violent entry in that realm in 1953. Directed by Fritz Lang, The Big Heat joined the pantheon of most famous noirs. After his family is attacked, Detective Dan Bannion (Ford) goes all out for revenge on Mike Lagana’s crime syndicate and its prime hitman (Lee Marvin). It would not be much of a stretch to label Experiment in Terror (1962) a noir. Ross Martin’s psychopath terrorized sisters played by Lee Remick and Stefanie Powers. Ford’s detective is out to nab the miscreant, and symbolic of changing times, in one scene Ford stands alone among a gaggle of female mannequins. His attire may be symbolic: still in fedora, which by decade’s end will disappear from the noggins of both policemen and hoods, but his trenchcoat has no belt.
Contemporary issues were also in Ford’s repertoire. The most famous and significant film in this bailiwick was Blackboard Jungle (1955), whose theme “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets became the anthem for rock ‘n roll. Ford played teacher Richard Dadier (or “daddio” to the punks) at an inner city school packed with society’s newly christened “juvenile delinquents”, including Vic Morrow. The film was controversial on several accounts, not least in casting Sidney Poitier in a prime role as one of the students.
After Blackboard Jungle Ford began a spate of military movies in that almost forgotten comedy subgenre: the “service comedy”: The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), Don’t Go Near the Water (1957) Imitation General (1958), and Cry for Happy (1961). As Shipman indicated, he was also adept at light contemporary comedies (The Gazebo, 1960; Love is a Ball, 1963) and comedy-dramas (The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, 1963; Dear Heart, 1964).
It may be that Ford’s on-screen persona was so soothing and made things seem so effortless that he was not a perennial Academy Award-nominee. He did, however, receive nominations and win awards presented by other organizations, including the Golden Globe for Best Actor-Comedy or Musical (Pocketful of Miracles, 1961), the Golden Apple Award for Most Cooperative Actor (1948 and 1957), the Golden Boot Award (1987), the Laurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance (Don’t Go Near the Water, 1957), and the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1987 San Sebastien International Film Festival. He received his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star in 1960.
Ford, Peter. Glenn Ford: A Life. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2011.
Garfield, Brian. Western Films: A Complete Guide. Rawson Associates, 1982.
Shipman, David. The Great Stars: The International Years. London: Angus & Robertson, 1972.
Blindspot, Season 2
Everything Now by Arcade Fire
Power of Peace by the Isley Brothers and Santana
Unpeeled by Cage the Elephant
Paranormal by Alice Cooper
Never Gets Old by Joe Nichols
The Darkest Hour by Madchild
A Boy from Tupelo: 1953-1955 Recordings
Music Vol. 1 by Herb Alpert
July 18th was the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. Love her or hate her, she has had a profound impact on literature and pop culture. I am definitely in the “love” camp, and with all of the media coverage of the anniversary, I’m feeling inspired to go back and re-read and re-watch everything Austen-related. This being the Multimedia blog, I’m highlighting our ebooks, audiobooks, and movies related to Jane.
If you would like to listen to Jane Austen’s books, we have a wide selection of audiobooks in various formats that you can check out. Pride and Prejudice will always be one of my favorites, but I think Persuasion’s heroine is one of Austen’s best.
If you prefer e-reading, we have a number of titles available via OverDrive/Libby that are either authored by Jane Austen or re-imagined renditions of her books, such as the modern retelling of Emma written by Alexander McCall Smith. Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern version of Pride and Prejudice, has been quite popular.
Ah, the movie adaptations. I love watching movie adaptations after just having finished a book, particularly for period dramas. You can check out the DVD and blu-ray selections of various Austen-related titles here. Colin Firth with always be my Darcy, but I also thought the more recent version with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden was well done. Love and Friendship, the film based on Austen’s short novel Lady Susan, published after her death, was highly entertaining. P.D. James also put a murder mystery spin on Elizabeth and Darcy’s life as a married couple in Death Comes to Pemberley, and the miniseries version has some great actors: Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell Martin, Matthew Goode and Jenna Coleman. For something more modern, I highly recommend Clueless, where Emma is turned into a hilarious story about a Beverly Hills teenager. And for something completely different, check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
I hope you enjoy getting acquainted or reacquainted with Jane! If you need a primer to get you in the mood, I really loved this compilation of notes from readers of The Atlantic on their experiences with Austen.
Apologies for the lateness of this post–with summer arriving, the library has been very busy! Better late than never…
“Matt King is an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.”
I often refer to this movie as the male version of Steel Magnolias. It’s an emotional and touching drama dealing with family and death, but for the most part it’s funny and real. The first time that I watched this movie, I had never seen Shailene Woodley in anything before and I was extremely impressed by her performance. George Clooney, as always, is great.
Love & Hate
I checked out this album because I wanted to hear more after Michael Kiwanuka’s song “Cold Little Heart” was used as the opening credit song for Big Little Lies (which also has Shailene Woodley!). After listening, “Cold Little Heart” is definitely still a standout track amongst the highly-orchestrated retro-soul songs, but “Black Man in a White World” is a close second for its timeliness and loneliness even with its punchy hand claps. It might take a few listens to sink into this one, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
“A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. This original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing dreams.”
I saw this movie in theaters and I LOVED it. I’ve heard some people criticize it for being another movie where Hollywood is patting itself on the back, but I’m a sucker for the LA landscape (especially that view from the Griffith Observatory featured in the iconic scene on the poster), and I apparently can’t turn down a good “actor/musician tries to make it” story. I loved the songs and had them stuck in my head for days afterward. I also wept uncontrollably at the ending (but that also could be because I was nine months pregnant at the time…). It was heartbreaking and beautiful. I can’t wait to watch this movie again.
I think a lot of people expect all Feist albums to have the cutesiness of “1234.” Not that I don’t love “1234,” but this album definitely has a more dramatic, lonely vibe and I really enjoyed it. I also found it to be great for summer night listening. The tracks fade in and out with sounds of crickets and passing car radios which really set the scene. My favorite tracks are “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You” and “A Man is Not His Song.”
All summaries from http://catalog.ccls.org/.
Kong: Skull Island
Nature’s Great Race
Poverty: Politics and Profit
Second Chance Kids
Fight for Space
Ukraine on Fire
Shark Week: Shark ‘N’ Awe Collection
Great Yellowstone Thaw: How Nature Survives
Ultralife by Oh Wonder
Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star
Out in the Storm by Waxahatchee
Anthems for the Apocalypse by Jonathan Jackson & Enation
Quazarz Vs. The Jealous Machines by Shabazz Palaces
Night & Day by The Vamps
The Queen of Hearts by Offa Rex
Smurfs: The Lost Village
The Fate of the Furious
The Lost City of Z
Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
A Quiet Passion
A Woman, A Part
Alive and Kicking
Mimi and Dona
The Penguin Counters
A Walk with Love & Death by The Melvins
Every Valley by Public Service Broadcasting
American Grandstand by Rhonda Vincent and Daryle Singletary
Hug of Thunder by Broken Social Scence
Something to Tell You by Haim
Music in My Heart by Charley Pride
Boo Boo by Toro Y Moi
Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo
Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockman
House of Spies by Daniel Silva
Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave
I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool by Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella
Lany by Lany
My Love Divine Degree by Cody Chesnutt
Gravebloom by The Acacia Strain
TLC by TLC
Hydrograd by Stone Sour
Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 by Calvin Harris
The Storm by ZZ Ward
1967: Sunshine Tomorrow by The Beach Boys
London Southern by Jim Lauderdale