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  • Repast

    Repast

    ★★★★

    Its rhythms are unusual, and there's a faint dread hanging over it that made it difficult to grasp what it was really doing. This is the first talkie Naruse I've seen. I'm used to his bombastic melodrama rather than the light romantic comedy that REPAST presents (I mean comedy in a rather conservative sense of a story that presents the restoration of a family, although there's is a good dose of humor here as well). What stood out the most,…

  • They Died with Their Boots On

    They Died with Their Boots On

    ★★★★½

    Some of Walsh's greatest scenes––Custer's punishment march interrupted by de Haviland; the tea leaves scene; Sharp and Custer's drinking––in a narrative just slightly too long but rich in subversive implications. The dual structure (Civil War/Indian Wars) plus Butler's comment about the only true Americans being on the other side (referring to Native Americans) develop an odd tension about the nature of America's imperialist violence. The film is filled with vitriol against the Natives, primarily through California Joe, but also clearly has great respect and regret over the actions that characters like Sharp and Taip commit.

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  • The Searchers

    The Searchers

    ★★★★★

    For a very long time, I was very mild on THE SEARCHERS, I liked it pretty much least of all among mature Ford films. The last few months have been a sort of renaissance with me and Ford––I've watched about a dozen, finding them for the most part richer than before, sometimes by complete orders of magnitude. I can just about say that the films John Ford made with Frank Nugent are some of the most complex documents on how…

  • Now, Voyager

    Now, Voyager

    ★★★★½

    A messy magnificent melodrama, succeeds in its Cinderella transformation because of its variation on a theme structure and because of its ultimate kindness to the characters. Unusually emotionally articulate and intelligent; I never quite caught how complex and twisted the character psychologies are, nor how fluid the relationships become.