Glenn Ford

Glenn Ford

Glenn Ford Quick Links

News Film RSS

The Teahouse of the August Moon Review


OK
When Marlon Brando is first encountered in The Teahouse of the August Moon, Daniel Mann's 1956 film version on John Patrick's Pulitzer Prize winning comedy of 1953, you want to fight back. Here is Brando in comic Asian stereotype mode, playing Okinawan interpreter Sakini -- Brando hunched over obsequiously, his eyes jury-rigged Oriental style and speaking in an Okinawan accent, and you think, "Brando, you should be ashamed of yourself." But then movie memory kicks in and you recall nasty and virulent racial debauches like Mickey Rooney's Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's and Brando's downplaying doesn't look so bad after all. Although watching a tall American white guy play a short translator from Okinawa is still discomforting, at least you don't feel compelled to rise up and heave your boots through the TV.

Sakini is the audience's guide and master of ceremonies (he beckons the audience into the film by way of a direct address to the camera) in this sharp and funny comedy about American imperialism after the end of World War II. Sakini is the interpreter for the pompous American commander Colonel Purdy (played by Paul Ford, recreating his Broadway performance, a role he would later hone to perfection as the iconic Colonel Hall in Sgt. Bilko), a windbag idiot who makes declarations like, "I'm going to teach these natives the meaning of democracy if I have to shoot every one of them" (Donald Rumsfeld couldn't have said it better). Purdy orders the bumbling Captain Fisby (Glenn Ford, in a fine comic turn, channeling Charlie Ruggles) to lord it over a small Okinawan village and give the villagers a taste of benevolent American democratic dictatorship by making the villagers build a school and organize a "Ladies League For Democratic Action." Sakini goes along with him.

Continue reading: The Teahouse of the August Moon Review

Superman Review


Good
Yeah, it was 1978 when Superman first hit theaters in the version most of us remember -- with Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel and Marlon Brando as his disco-inspired pop. Superman is a lovable epic full of quaint nostalgia and incredible mysteries of logic (because if the earth spun the other way round, time would apparently reverse... riiiight). The story tells the bulk of the Superman legend -- his escape from Krypton, coming to terms with his powers as a youth in Smallville, moving to big old Metropolis and becoming Clark Kent (and falling for crusty Lois Lane), and dealing with a Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman, excellently over the top) plan to buy up real estate in Nevada and then destroy most of California, thus making his new coastline worth millions. Watch for Terence Stamp's Zod in the first scene -- he'll be back to rule as one of cinema's great villains in Superman II.

Continue reading: Superman Review

Gilda Review


Good
The definitive Rita Hayworth vehicle is this film, Gilda, her most famous film, shot when her career was beginning to slow down. Whether dancing, singing, or tempting a pair of men in an Argentine casino, Hayworth is a burning presence in ever scene -- every scene she's in, anyway. Hayworth is absent for the first 22 minutes of the movie, during which Charles Vidor sets up a plot about a troublesome gambler (Glenn Ford) who later enters into Gilda and her rich husband's life. Oh, and they have a past together, too. I could forget Ford, but Hawyworth deserves all the attention she gets throughout the film.

Texas Review


Excellent
With a name like Texas, one expects a grand, sweeping film about the old west, one of those epics about settlers and claim stakers and, ah, you get the drift. Texas is really none of that. At its core it's a relatively straightforward genre movie, and a small one: Two ex-Confederate soldiers (Glenn Ford and William Holden) head to Texas to make their fortune, and soon they're on opposite sides of the law. (The plot eventually revolves around a cattle drive, a corrupt beef baron, and a plot to derail the whole thing.) Throw in Edgar Buchanan as the town dentist -- also of questionable morals -- and you've got a tiny hit that's surprisingly very, very funny. On purpose.

Blackboard Jungle Review


OK
Idealism in the public school system got its start here in 1955's Blackboard Jungle, based on the book that convinced America that our kids were not all angels and schools were not built from picket fence perfection. Today, Blackboard Jungle is surprisingly dated and ineffective, as its picture of high school violence and perversity seems quaint in comparison to Columbine-style massacres and Mary Kay Letourneau. Even the firey Sidney Poitier an Vic Morrow, playing the school's punks, seem set to a lower level than we've seen from them in later, mor compelling works.

Superman Review


Good
Yeah, it was 1978 when Superman first hit theaters in the version most of us remember -- with Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel and Marlon Brando as his disco-inspired pop. Superman is a lovable epic full of quaint nostalgia and incredible mysteries of logic (because if the earth spun the other way round, time would apparently reverse). The story tells the bulk of the Superman legend -- his escape from Krypton, coming to terms with his powers as a youth in Smallville, moving to big old Metropolis and becoming Clark Kent (and falling for crusty Lois Lane), and dealing with a Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman, excellently over the top) plan to buy up real estate in Nevada and then destroy most of California, thus making his new coastline worth millions. Watch for Terence Stamp's Zod in the first scene -- he'll be back to rule as one of cinema's great villains in Superman II.
Glenn Ford

Glenn Ford Quick Links

News Film RSS