Bucking Broadway

Not rated yet!
Director
John Ford
Runtime
0 h 53 min
Release Date
24 December 1917
Genres
Western
Overview
On a ranch in Wyoming, one of the cowboys, Cheyenne Harry (Harry Carey), falls in love with his boss's daughter. But she decides to elope to the city with Captain Thornton, a wealthy visitor to the ranch. She quickly discovers that life in the city is not what she expected. Cheyenne, devastated by the loss of his fiancée, decides to go to the city to find her, and in the end rescues her from the grips of Captain Thornton and from the extravagant and decadent way of life in the city.
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VJ Morton3
Right Wing Film Geek



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  • TIFF Capsules — Day 4

    TIFF Capsules — Day 4

    BUCKING BROADWAY, John Ford, USA, 1917, 4
    Presenter Peter Bogdanovich, who brought down the house with his Ford imitations, called this film “interesting for what Ford became, not so much for itself.” The DW Griffith influence is here very obvious — e.g. the climax has cowboys riding to the rescue, intercut with the barroom brawl where they’ll intervene. In this 50-minute featurette cowboy star Harry Carey is the dominant artistic force, here playing a bit more gung-ho than usual. But like with a lot of silent films, BUCKING BROADWAY is interesting simply as social archeology and rebuttal of what you thought you knew about film history — the cowboy is already somewhat “Other,” the object of fish-out-of-water in the city comedy, barely two decades after the closing of the frontier and the cowboy’s heyday, and with Wyatt Earp still around in Hollywood. Also surprisingly, there’s here a moment of purely-associational editing for psychological metaphor (involving a radiator). This is 1917, long before Eisenstein and Kuleshov.

    IN MEMORY OF MYSELF, Saverio Costanzo, Italy, 3
    I thought from the opening scene that I would love this film about a Catholic man in formation for an unnamed order (but apparently some kind of contemplatives). The initial interview asks all the right kinds of questions and the lead actor has an appropriately serious face. The opening scenes indicate how silent rules work, and the seminary environment is presented as devout, austere and without a hint of irony or parody (the film gets metaphorical points for never becoming anti-Catholic … see that later). But MEMORY’s script is all ellipses without drama — there are two other men who the lead character appears fascinated by, but we never really learn why (is it a homosexual crush? is it holiness? is it past acquaintance?) and they only come into focus when they leave, and the revelations turn out fairly banal and hardly justifying of either the lead man’s fascination or ours or the portentous loudly-mixed score ladled all over the film. And MEMORY stretches out its few plot points to death … no, it s t r e t c h e s t h e m o u t. The last few scenes get stronger, with the central character finally giving voice to some of what ails him, some of what conflicts him, and while they’re not things every devout man has not felt, it is truthful and causes him to consider whether God can really be calling him. But by the very end, and after plenty of telegraphing that “The Big Moment of Choice is coming, folks,” it didn’t matter which way the film-maker turned it — either in terms of its plausability or in terms of my caring.

    NIGHTWATCHING, Peter Greenaway, Britain, 6
    Well, I didn’t try to tear down the door at Burgundy’s, so that’s obviously a vast improvement over the last Greenaway film I saw. I swore the night I walked out of TULSE LUPER 1 in anger that I’d never watch another of his films. But I relented and NIGHTWATCHING turned out to be exactly what the buzz said it was — by Greenaway standards (underline that part, newbies), a fairly coherent, entertaining and accessible movie with a very good central performance by Martin Freeman, who plays Rembrandt as a bon-vivant “character” who learns what a bunch of asses an Amsterdam regiment is and decides to ridicule them and basically accuse them of murder in his “Night Watch” painting. There’s a couple of great scenes — one of Freeman recounting into the camera Rembrandt’s Greenawayized biography and doing it in a manner somewhat like a human being, and the unveiling of the painting, with cutaways to illustrate not only Greenaway’s theories but the elements in the drama which we had just seen (which made the typically stylized narrative seem not so arbitrary). Lots of elements in common too with COOK, THIEF, one of my all-time faves — the opening scene of a man being forcibly stripped nude on a setting made to llok like a stage, an opening curtain, lots of stylized talk about Art and other Big Topics (most of it intentionally stupid). Still this is Greenaway — there are tedious scenes and the specific historical thesis, that the painting caused retaliation from the officers, killing Rembrandt’s career is [insert Dutch words for “bullshit” and “self-serving”]. And I knew the former even before doing any research, simply from the way Greenaway “waterproofs” his theory by having the head of the team say nobody must do anything publicly, in order to hide their Vast Conspiracy from future generations. The broader thesis, that artists are night watchers who paint onto the black screen of the void, made sense. But the day’s next film went from preaching that to just doing it.

    SILENT LIGHT, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/Holland, 9
    What is so special about the incredible opening shot, which some of my buds say is among the most beautiful in movie history? It’s not simply some “inherent beauty of nature” (I would not have been impressed by that), but the fact that the sunrise actually happens before our very eyes (though time lapse is used) and that Reygadas takes the time to show the light change the world, or actually creating our experience of it. And there’s real drama — what gets revealed to us as the shot continues. As in Genesis 1, in the beginning, the movie screen was a void. Then there were the stars. Then there was the light. Then there was a cosmic shape. Then there was nature per se [trees, hills]. Then there was nature as shaped by man [farms, crops]. Now that the natural world is fully revealed — cut to a home on a street [i.e., to man as fully civilized]. Yes, it’s a very lengthy shot but (1) we see the universe happen within it and (2) its length and slowness prepares us, trains us, for what follows. SILENT LIGHT is, in almost every conceivable way, paced slowly but precisely for that reason is deeply moving. The father in a Germanic Mennonite family in Mexico is having an affair but his religious conscience (he has seven children) will not let him at ease. This milieu makes the Official Art-House Style seem more like a natural fact. The people in this semi-separated religious community (they’re not isolated, like the Amish; they drive trucks, etc.) do speak slowly, do pause between sentences, never talk over one another, never engage in idle chat, etc. And so even such elements of Reygadas style as long takes and slow camera movements seem more like a reflection of this world than an imposed authorial contrivance. Simple. Beautiful. Perfect.

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    1. […] Silent Light. But while Reygadas shows us the birth of the universe (as my friend Victor Morton wonderfully describes here) presented to the camera by God, in Tarr’s film, the camera is God, creating the reality in which […]

      Pingback by Reality Manifested: The Opening Shot of Tarr’s The Man From London | Peter Labuza on Cinema | June 11, 2016 | Reply


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  • TIFFing time again
    (”Bucking Broadway” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    TIFFing time again

    If this year’s Toronto International Film Festival lineup is any indication, it will be a long fall, with the Artist-Industrial Complex lecturing about the evil that is (in the words of this blurb) “the so-called War on Terror” (and the rest of the usual demonology). With that in mind, I didn’t give a bunch of films playing at this year’s festival so much as a second look — here’s the whole list of Toronto movies and presentations that I would not see on principle. I saw the subject matter or read the descriptions, crossed it off and moved on.

    Looking at that list, or rather the length of it (20 films and several presentations) — I really have to wonder if alienating conservative viewers is something Hollywood, Indiewood and the Festival Mafia do as a conscious marketing strategy or is just so much their unstated “Dasein” that they can’t even step outside themselves to see it.

    But in a festival of almost 300 films, that’s not an insurmountable loss. In fact, here is another pretty distinguished list (will try to reconstruct later, VJM) — the films I really wanted to see but probably will not (I may juggle stuff around, depending on buzz). For the most part, it was simply a matter of scheduling, trying to squeeze a quart of 60 must-see films into a pint pot of 50 time slots. You can get to their individual pages from this list-page.

    • Cassandra’s Dream (Woody Allen, Britain) — no explanation needed, I hope
    • The Last Lear (Rituparno Ghosh, India) — Amitabh Bachchan, the world’s biggest star, in his first English role
    • Beyond the Years (Im Kwon-taek, South Korea) — the pansori singer was the best part of Im’s Chunhyang
    • Christopher Columbus: The Enigma (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal) — another weird-out conversation piece like A Talking Picture?
    • The Duchess of Langeais (Jacques Rivette, France) — every film by the New Wave Masters is an event
    • Juliette Binoche in films by Hou Hsiao-hsien and Amos Gitai — can maybe the world’s greatest actress help out torpid auteurs?
    • The Pope’s Toilet (Enrique Fernandez/Cesar Charlone, Uruguay) — wack premise could make a great semi- (or even non-) blasphemous black comedy
    • Juno (Jason Reitman, USA) — Thank You for Smoking as a debut film; plus, later, Mike d’A says strong buzz from Telluride
    • Lars and the Real Girl (Craig Gillespie, USA) — Ryan Gosling; the word “Lars” and the use a puppet to substitute for a person (Ryan, stay the hell away)
    • Boy A (John Crowley, Britain) — echoes of Nolan’s Memento and the Dardennes’ Le Fils
    • Ellen Burstyn presents Alice Doesn’t Live Here Any More (Martin Scorsese, USA) — No explanation needed, I hope

    So … bitching over.

    Unlike last year, I got all my first choices, and this festival is shaping up with the potential to be the greatest ever. After a so-so first day, the potential masterpieces come in daily and in bunches — Andersson, Herzog, Rohmer, Maddin, A. Lee, Baumbach, Olmi, Lee M-s, Ozon. Plus enormous buzz on the Bar-Lev, Van Sant, the Coens and Matsumoto. The films by the uneven Miike and Loach look to fit the maker’s good molds rather than the bad ones. Plus Cannes prize-winners by Mungiu, Kawase, Lee C-d. And my first exposures to Tarr, Reygadas, and Jiang. The Breillat and Arcand even seem tolerable. A rediscovered Ford silent, plus a contemporary-made silent slapstick homage. Even Greenaway, whose last film became the first I ever walked out on, is cause for optimism — getting back into Dutch paintings and a group of militiamen, so can we expect The Draughtsman, The Thief, His Wife, etc.? And to top it all off — Max von Sydow presenting one of Ingmar Bergman’s movies a few weeks after his death.¹

    This will be an awesome week-and-a-half. Here is my planned schedule.

    6 SEPT
    630pm Fugitive Pieces (Jeremy Podeswa, Canada)
    900pm The Brave One (Neil Jordan, USA)
    1159pm The Mother of Tears (Dario Argento, Italy)

    7 SEPT
    915am You, the Living (Roy Andersson, Sweden)
    noon The Mourning Forest (Naomi Kawase, Japan)
    400pm One Hundred Nails (Ermanno Olmi, Italy)
    715pm Les Chansons d’Amour (Christophe Honore, France)
    900pm Lust, Caution (Ang Lee, Taiwan)

    8 SEPT
    1000am Persepolis (Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, France/Iran)
    1245pm The Man from London (Bela Tarr, Hungary)
    330pm The Edge of Heaven (Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey)
    600pm No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers, USA)
    900pm The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, USA)

    9 SEPT
    200pm Bucking Broadway (John Ford, USA, 1917; presented by Peter Bogdanovich)
    345pm In Memory of Myself (Saverio Costanzo, Italy)
    600pm Nightwatching (Peter Greenaway, Britain)
    900pm Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/Holland)

    10 SEPT
    1000am 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days (Cristian Mungiu, Romania)
    1215pm Happiness (Hur Jin-ho, South Korea)
    300pm Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, Britain)
    700pm Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog, USA)
    915pm My Kid Could Paint That (Amir Bar-Lev, USA)

    11 SEPT
    1100am Children of the Sun (Yaldey Hashemesh, Israel)
    100pm Chaotic Ana (Julio Medem, Spain)
    345pm Operation Filmmaker (Nina Davenport, USA)
    600pm Margot at the Wedding (Noah Baumbach, USA)
    915pm Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, USA)
    1159pm Sukiyaki Western Django (Takashi Miike, Japan)

    12 SEPT
    930am It’s a Free World… (Ken Loach, Britain)
    noon The Last Mistress (Catherine Breillat, France)
    230pm Atonement (Joe Wright, Britain)
    600pm A Girl Cut in Two (Claude Chabrol, France)

    13 SEPT
    930am Dr. Plonk (Rolf de Heer, Australia)
    1230pm Reclaim Your Brain (Hans Weingartner, Germany)
    300pm Days of Darkness (Denys Arcand, Canada)
    515pm Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea)
    915pm A Gentle Breeze in the Village (Nobuhiro Yamashita, Japan)

    14 SEPT
    900am Romance of Astrea and Celadon (Eric Rohmer, France)
    noon M (Lee Myung-se, South Korea)
    300pm The Walker (Paul Schrader, USA)
    545pm Erik Nietzsche: The Early Years (Jacon Thuesen, Denmark)
    800pm The Virgin Spring (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1960; presented by Max Von Sydow)
    1159pm Dainipponjin (Hitoshi Matsumoto, Japan)

    15 SEPT
    945am California Dreamin’ (Endless) (Cristian Nemescu, Romania)
    1245pm Angel (Francois Ozon, France)
    245pm Son of Rambow (Garth Jennings, Britain)
    600pm The Sun Also Rises (Jiang Wen, China)
    800pm My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, Canada)
    1100pm Just Like Home (Lone Sherfig, Denmark)

    ——————
    ¹ Was there nobody in Italy to do the same for Antonioni? Or is/was any tribute programming done at Venice?

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  • TIFF Grades — Days 4/5
    (”Bucking Broadway” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    TIFF Grades — Days 4/5

    9 SEPT
    BUCKING BROADWAY, John Ford, USA, 1917, 4
    IN MEMORY OF MYSELF, Saverio Costanzo, Italy, 3
    NIGHTWATCHING, Peter Greenaway, Britain, 6
    SILENT LIGHT, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/Holland, 9

    10 SEPT
    4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, Cristian Mungiu, Romania, 9
    HAPPINESS, Hur Jin-ho, South Korea, 6
    ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE, Shekhar Kapur, Britain, 2
    ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, Werner Herzog, USA, 6
    MY KID COULD PAINT THAT, Amir Bar-Lev, USA, 8
    MY KID COULD PAINT THAT, Amir Bar-Lev, USA, 1
    (duplication except for one character is not a typo … this is the most conflicted I can recall feeling about a movie)

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