Friday, July 02, 2010

The Blue Eagle (1997 study version)

11.30 Cinema Lumière - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni, Bologna 2 July 2010
THE BLUE EAGLE (Sinitakkeja / Aquile azzurre, USA/1926) PC: Fox Film Corporation. R.: John Ford. DP: George Schneidermann. With George O'Brien (George Darcy), William Russell (Big Tim Ryan), Janet Gaynor (Rose Kelly), Robert Edeson (Father Joe). D.: 65' (incompleto). Reconstructed by: LoC (1997). Accompagnamento al piano di Gabriel Thibaudeau.

Almost no original material survives. Reconstruction of the incomplete version based on three archival sources (AFI, Prague, Loc) with much nitrate deterioration. Reconstruction provided with notes of missing footage and stills. At the end there is a comparison of footage from the two camera negatives, domestic and foreign, the second camera footage from the Brussels archive.

John Ford's version of the story of the two roughnecks who love the same girl can be compared with What Price Glory? (Walsh) and A Girl in Every Port (Hawks).

The story starts in the navy in the WWI in November 1917, and it continues as a waterfront crime story involving drug traffic via submarine. The boys battle it out over sweet Rose. The boiler room images with the emphasis on the gleaming male physique bring to mind Fassbinder (Querelle) and Tom of Finland.

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