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  • Joan of Arc at the Stake
  • Young Mr. Lincoln

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  • Pilgrimage

    Pilgrimage

    Ford Till ’47

    Senses of Cinema - April 2004

    John Ford was born John Martin Feeney, February 1, 1894, at his father’s farm in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, the child of Irish immigrants. The Irish were a ghettoised minority, then, and it was only toward the end of his life, Ford said, when Kennedy was elected president, that he felt like a first-class citizen. He grew up in Portland, where his father had a bar.

    He sailed a boat, played football,…

  • Joan of Arc at the Stake

    Joan of Arc at the Stake

    1 March 2000

    One would expect godless and nihilistic attitudes to be at antipodes with those of a very Catholic miracle play. In fact, this is not the case. Giovanna d'Arco al rogo ("Joan of Arc at the stake," 1955), Roberto Rossellini's mise en scène of an oratorio by Arthur Honegger and Paul Claudel modeled on medieval mystery plays,(1) draws Joan (Ingrid Bergman) up out of nowhere into a limbo, a blackness with stars, and sends her back into the…

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  • Young Mr. Lincoln

    Young Mr. Lincoln

    Passage: John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln

    1939, the year of Young Mr. Lincoln, was also the year of Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, in which Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) communes with The Lincoln Memorial to revive his faith in the Constitution. For people born in 1890s, like Ford and Capra, Abraham Lincoln was America. And Lincoln was part of themselves, like Christ. Somehow Lincoln sheltered them from the incalculable horror of their Civil War, a war commemorated in…