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Four Men And A Prayer Review


OK
In Four Men and a Prayer, director John Ford doesn't have one. Saddled by Darryl Zanuck with a claptrap mystery adventure plot involving the dishonorable discharge and subsequent murder of a proud British career officer during the jewel-in-the-crown years of British colonialism and the efforts of his four sons to find the killer and exonerate their father, Ford assumes the role of Houdini. With a handsome physical production, Ford mounts an impressive sleight-of-hand, diverting prying eyes by throwing everything at the audience he can think of, anything to stay away from the actual story, which Ford doesn't want to get close enough to smell.

The nominal plot has stout-hearted Colonel Loring Leigh (C. Aubrey Smith -- who else?) kicked out of the Lancers for signing an order allowing a shipment guns to find their way into the hands of a band of Indian rebels, who end up massacring 90 men at one of those Indian passes so famous in '30s movie adventure yarns. Colonel Leigh is drummed out of the army but knows he's been set up and his signature forged. Returning to England he summons his four sons -- dim bulb Oxford student Rodney (William Henry), pompous barrister Wyatt (George Sanders), shallow ladies man/aviator Chris (David Niven), and stuffy British attache Geoffrey (Richard Greene) -- in order to show them the evidence proving he was framed by an international gun cartel. He doesn't get that far. While the boys are sipping bitters in the ante room, Colonel Leigh is shot dead in his study and the evidence removed. The press claims Leigh committed suicide from his disgrace, but the boys know better and set about to find his killer and clear his name.

Continue reading: Four Men And A Prayer Review

Stagecoach Review


Very Good
Stagecoach is the archetypical Western -- a stagecoach full of crazies has to make it through Indian country in one piece. Though it was his 80th film (of nearly 200), Stagecoach made John Wayne into the superstar he eventually became. Mitchell won Best Supporting Actor for his role as the drunken Doc Boone, and the rest of the cast, notably Trevor as a hooker being run out of town, are memorable. The film has some amazing gaffes, including guns that kick but don't actually go "bang" and, again most notably, one rear-projected shot from the stagecoach where the Indian outside is riding the wrong way. Classic, yet hopelessly dated.

Continue reading: Stagecoach Review

Stagecoach Review


Very Good
Stagecoach is the archetypical Western -- a stagecoach full of crazies has to make it through Indian country in one piece. Though it was his 80th film (of nearly 200), Stagecoach made John Wayne into the superstar he eventually became. Mitchell won Best Supporting Actor for his role as the drunken Doc Boone, and the rest of the cast, notably Trevor as a hooker being run out of town, are memorable. The film has some amazing gaffes, including guns that kick but don't actually go "bang" and, again most notably, one rear-projected shot from the stagecoach where the Indian outside is riding the wrong way. Classic, yet hopelessly dated.
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