Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Black Watch (the ending)

14.30 Cinema Arlecchino, Bologna, 26 June 2010
THE BLACK WATCH / Suezin itäpuolella (La guardia nera, USA/1929) R.: John Ford. b.o. King of the Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy. DP: Joseph H. August. Cast: Victor McLaglen, Myrna Loy, Roy D'Arcy. 92' Print: MoMA. E-subtitles in Italian by Sub-Ti.

As my plane was two hours late I caught but the last half an hour of this screening of Ford's first all-talking film which I had never seen before. I would not have recognized John Ford as the director in this heavily expressionistic and exotic film. Ford is taking baby steps in learning to direct dialogue. A weird experience!

The legendary Khyber Pass has crucial strategic value in today's Afghanistan War. It is the main NATO supply route which the Taleban is avidly trying to choke.

Postscript: later I read from the programme notes and from Joseph McBride's book that the dialogue scenes were not directed by John Ford but by Lumsden Hare and that Ford said he felt like vomiting when he saw them. No wonder they seemed unrecognizable!

See entry 30 June 2010 for the beginning of the film.

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