The Long Gray Line

The Long Gray Line ★★★★½

For the 100th episode of the podcast, I finally put myself in the hot seat and got to choose the film for once! And after long deliberation,* I went with John Ford's solemn military school classic, a truly incoherent and paradoxical text if one ever existed ("That's an experimental film!!" proclaimed Straub). As Keith Uhlich and I talk on this, you see the ways this film slowly transforms to a mournful look at the way belief in an institution can test one's soul, and how it provides meaning for one who never truly fits in (a more belabored reading could make Martin a stand-in for African Americans). Not a perfect film, but its inconsistencies are often what lead to its pathos.

*My other choices: Jean-Marie Teno's Clando, Roy Del Ruth's Hard to Handle, Otto Preminger's Whirlpool, and Mohammad Malas's The Night.