Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1958 - GIDEONS DAY, John Ford's Scotland Yard police drama entertains with it professionalism

How John Ford an Irish American director got mixed up in this very British film is a mystery for a film scholar.  The actors, the writer and the cinematographer F.A Young, are all English.  The film was primarily shot on location in 1950's England and John Ford got involved exactly for what reason?

The film is a crime drama about the day in the life of a Scotland Yard police inspector.  Jack Hawkins who usually played generals for David Lean seems to be enjoying himself as the easy going detective.  Ford apparently enjoyed working with Hawkins and said he was the finest actor he ever directed.  John Wayne, Henry Fonda and James Stewart take note.

By this point in his career, John Ford had simplified his visual style to the point where it was almost invisible.  The moody photography and dramatic compositions on his previous films had now been replaced by a very clean visual style.  Ford takes this episodic and simple story and moves it along at an entertaining pace finding just the right pulse for the performances and the action when it suddenly comes. 

This is a smart and simple film by a master filmmaker who made over 200 films in his lifetime.

91 minutes

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