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Author Topic: Fort Apache (1948)  (Read 14092 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2012, 02:13:49 PM »

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I do not believe the viewer is actually supposed to admire Thursday in the way York seems to be doing.
Of course not. You're supposed to admire York, the way he's using Thursday's death to acquire honor for the regiment. Individuals are not important. The regiment is what matters. Did you learn nothing from Starship Troopers?

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« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2012, 08:16:31 PM »

Of course not. You're supposed to admire York, the way he's using Thursday's death to acquire honor for the regiment. Individuals are not important. The regiment is what matters. Did you learn nothing from Starship Troopers?

So York is pretending to believe that the legend about Thursday is fact, because by printing the legend making Thursday seem like a great man, it brings honor to the regiment?

Interesting. I never thought of that.

(The writers obviously don't know or care about the individuals -- as we saw they didn't even know the correct name of Collingwood. So maybe York realized the only way to get them to write admiringly about the regiment is to give them a "hero.")

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« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2012, 07:45:23 AM »

I think this movie would have benefited greatly if it was shot in color. The landscapes of Monument Valley are used extensively here, and IMO you simply can't enjoy its beauty in black and white in the same way as you would in color. I can only recall feeling this way, this strongly, about My Darling Clementine. The set of "Tombstone," with Monument Valley in the background, would have been much more beautiful. I've always said that if I could go back in time, and choose any two b/w films in history for which I could instead have done in color, it would be Fort Apache and My Darling Clementine.

Of course, directors often specifically chose to shoot a movie in b/w cuz they felt it was more appropriate for the movie. But many times it was simply done because it was cheaper to shoot in b/w. (And while I don't have year-by-year statistics of what percentage of Hollywood of movies were shot in color, I'd guess that during the period of '46-'48 when these two films were made, no more than 10% of all Hollywood movies were made in color). So I'd have to guess that the reason those 2 movies were shot in b/w is that color was expensive and rare during that time, and not because Ford specifically wanted b/w cuz he thought it was more appropriate for the movie -- unless someone can show me a source that says Ford specifically wanted to do those films in b/w (if that's the case,  it would make me very happy; cuz then I'd stop feeling bad that it was done in b/w!).

If only FA and MDC had been made a decade later, I'm sure they would have been done in color. Imagine a film like FA or MDC with the majestic beauty of Sergeant Rutledge; that would have just blown my mind!  Oh well, all I can do is dream...  Wink

« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 07:49:14 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2012, 10:02:03 AM »

Colorized versions of Fort Apache and Rio Grande exist. TNT used to run them frequently, back when they showed decent movies. Looked good to me.

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« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2012, 10:35:26 AM »

Colorized versions of Fort Apache and Rio Grande exist. TNT used to run them frequently, back when they showed decent movies. Looked good to me.

Colorized versions of a black and white movies are as illegitimate as is the Ladd Co.'s version of OUATIA.

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« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2012, 10:50:56 AM »

I do not claim they are "legitimate." I say if you want a gander at what the cavalry films look like in color, these versions exist.

I definitely would not want My Darling Clementine in color, since the B&W photography is such an integral part of the movie.

Presumably budget had nothing to do with it. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon was shot in between the other two cavalry films in glorious Technicolor.

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« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2012, 11:54:25 AM »

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon looks quite good with its color photography, but generally I think that up to the late 50s b/w films are often much more atmospheric than color films.

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« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2012, 01:04:56 PM »

True in a lot of cases, but I wouldn't apply it universally. It seems the whole point of Yellow Ribbon though is to showcase the incredible beauty of Monument Valley - an approach which works marvelously. Certainly the movie doesn't lack for atmosphere, it's positively dripping with it.

On the other hand, I don't think Fort Apache especially lacks for color. One could argue that since it's more story and character-driven, an eye-popping landscape is less important than Yellow Ribbon, where the landscape is the focus. This is an oversimplification of course, but I never watched the movie thinking it would look better in Technicolor. The setting serves its function without vivid splashes of color. And since it's not the focus as in the later movie, I don't miss it.

Rio Grande isn't an especially beautiful film anyway, so I don't care to argue that one. Color, B&W, whatever.  It's still mediocre.

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« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2012, 01:14:32 PM »

Rio Grande is a lesser film, yes, but I like it more now and give it a 6/10. Of his westerns only Sgt Rutledge is weaker.

And when I re-watched it last year I also liked some of the photography.

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« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2012, 02:10:15 PM »

I do not claim they are "legitimate." I say if you want a gander at what the cavalry films look like in color, these versions exist.

I definitely would not want My Darling Clementine in color, since the B&W photography is such an integral part of the movie.

Presumably budget had nothing to do with it. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon was shot in between the other two cavalry films in glorious Technicolor.

I do not want a gander at what the cavalry films look like in color. I wish they had been shot in color. But once they are shot in b/w, I want a gander at their colorized version as much as I want a gander at the Ladd Co's version of OUATIA. (But I appreciate the info Afro)

GENERALLY, I think that most films would look better in color. If color film had been cheaply available 100 years ago, I am sure that very few movies would have specifically used B/W. Some films gain from b/w -- most notably Films Noir. Otherwise, IMO,  most movies -- though certainly not all --  would look better in color. (As proof of that, b/w was almost entirely phased out by the 1970's, as I guess audiences demanded color [and perhaps color film became less expensive])? Of course, there are so many great films that aren't necessarily "hurt" by being in B/W. But there are a few specific great films that I particularly felt that I just wish they were shot in color, cuz it would have added so much: Fort Apache and My Darling Clementine. Though they are both largely town-bound (Tombstone for MDC, the fort for FA), but Monument Valley comes into play significantly. The Tombstone of MDC is actually a town built in Monument Valley -- you can see the buttes and mesas just off in the distance! And FA has many scenes of riding out in the desert. There's just no way that Monument Valley can look as beautiful in b/w as it does in color. Sometimes the point isn't the beauty but that it's MENACING. Such as in Stagecoach, where the desert is not meant to be enjoyed, but a place to get through hopefully safely on the way to your destination -- like a city street in a film noir.
So in that film, the B/W doesn't bother me at all. (Although in 1939, I'd bet that 95% of movies were being made in B/W, so Ison't know whether Ford even considered color at all, based on economic concerns).

And even in the scenes on the military bases in FA, wouldn't it have been more beautiful and given it a better feel if it had been in color? The beautiful kersey blue uniforms, the flowing gowns the women wore at the beautiful dance at FA (easily the best dance in any Ford western)? And how MDC,  wouldn't the town of Tombstone been more beautiful if it had been in color?

Again, I must emphasize: if the director specifically intended to shoot in B/W for aesthetic reasons, that was his decision and that is it! {eg. I wouldn't say RE: the Mona Lisa:  da Vinci should have used a red paint stroke in this spot rather than black." No way! He painted what he chose was best and I must accept it as is. I wouldn't say that I prefer he did this stroke rather than that.
However, let's say I knew that red paint was unavailable to him at the time or was very expensive, and so he may have chose black as a second best option, well then yes, I think I am allowed to wonder, what if he had indeed had all the options available to him cheaply, what would he have done if he had all those options.

Similarly: in the mid-40's, color films were still not very common, cuz film stock was very expensive. So I think there is a reasonable possibility that fact that FA and MDC were shot in BW was because at that time, very few films were in color cuz the processing was expensive -- similar to da Vinci. I Ford specifically thought the films would look better in B/W, then that is settled. But if he did it cuz color was too expensive -- and therefore  had they been shooting it 20 years later (when color was less expensive) they woulda done it in color -- then I think it is reasonable to dream about how FA and MDC would have looked in color.



btw, Sergeant Rutledge is a silly story, but sooo beautiful to watch: Monument Valley is breathtaking; the kersey blues of the US Cavalry, (and some nice sets that I liked). Though the story was ridiculous, at the time I saw the movie I wrote something like "I am a sucker for color movies involving the Cavalry's Kersey Blues, and Monument Valley." Whatever rating that film gets is due to its LOOK -- which wouldn't have been half as beautiful in black and white.

Beautiful color landscapes (and other nice visuals like the kersey blue of the cavalry), has made many a bad Western enjoyable to watch (eg. Sergeant Rutledge, Saddle the Wind, greatly enhanced an already classic movie (eg. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers). and IMO could have had the same effect on FA and MDC -- made movies that are already classics, even more beautiful.


« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 02:46:46 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: June 25, 2012, 05:04:04 PM »

Wrong.

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« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2012, 06:05:54 PM »

As I sought to demonstrate with screen caps in the MDC thread (http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1205.0 ), Ford and Joe MacDonald purposely chose B&W to give Clementine a noir look. Picturesque views of Monument Valley was not what either was interested in for this project.

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« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2012, 02:52:45 AM »

As I sought to demonstrate with screen caps in the MDC thread (http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1205.0 ), Ford and Joe MacDonald purposely chose B&W to give Clementine a noir look. Picturesque views of Monument Valley was not what either was interested in for this project.

Thanks for that.  Knowing that it was specifically intended for b/w, not for financial reasons, makes me happier.

Speaking of which, I gotta watch the theatrical version of MDC one of these days. I bought the Fox Studio Classics dvd with both the "Pre-release version" and the theatrical version, but I've so far only seen the pre-release. (For some reason, this dvd takes a very long time to load and still the menu doesn't come up; I have to press PLAY a few times till it finally works. So ultimately it works but it takes some effort. When one side didn't work, I flipped it over, and saw only the pre-release version without knowing it). The next movie I watch will be the theatrical version of MDC. (Though I've seen the pre-release version so long ago that I don't remember it scene-by-scene to compare).

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« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2012, 05:10:10 AM »

As I sought to demonstrate with screen caps in the MDC thread (http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1205.0 ), Ford and Joe MacDonald purposely chose B&W to give Clementine a noir look. Picturesque views of Monument Valley was not what either was interested in for this project.

Thanks for that Jinkies, saves me an argument. That movie's all rough-hewn interiors and moody shadows - Monument Valley's almost an afterthought in Clementine.

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« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2012, 05:23:30 AM »

with B/W movies while we can't know for certain in every case whether it was done specifically for artistic reasons or just for financial reasons, there is absolutely no doubt that in at least some cases it was done for financial reasons.

For example, I specifically remember the following story from the bonus features of The Quiet Man: Ford had been looking for some time for a production company to produce that movie. He finally got a small company called Republic Pictures to do so. But he insisted that it be shot in color; Republic had a cheaper and subpar color process called Tru Color, but Ford insisted that they use the more expensive and better Technicolor. Republic was so certain that they'd lose money on that movie, that they made a deal with Ford: if he would do a Western for them in B/W, then they'd agree to produce TQM in Technicolor.  The Western turned out to be Rio Grande , with the same leads -- John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara --  as TQM; (I don't remember whether or not Republic insisted that Wayne and O'Hara be used). Republic figured that a B/W Western with Ford was a sure money-maker, and that would compensate for what they expected to be a loss with TQM And of course, TQM turned out to be a huge hit. But the point is that Rio Grande was specifically done cuz they figured a Western with Ford/Wayne/O'Hara done in cheaper B/W, would be easy money. So while I can't know in each instance whether B/W was used for artistic or financial reasons, it was used for financial reasons in at least some instances.

« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 05:39:13 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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