THE IRON HORSE (John Ford, 1924)

John Ford’s epic about the construction of a transcontinental railroad is the first great American Western. Ford’s vision is tragic and complex. The film assigns the unification of the nation, East and West, to two individuals from Springfield, Illinois: a man whose son adopts his dream of the railroad after he is murdered; Abe, the […]

ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (Howard Hawks, 1939)

This is the one about a Panama airflight company that braves often impossible weather to transport mail in the 1930s. It stars Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Richard Barthelmess and a pre-hair dye Rita Hayworth.      It is an overwhelming (if a bit long) chronicle of frustrated, unhappy, suspended lives. Howard Hawks’s film reeks of the Depression. […]

MON ONCLE D’AMERIQUE (Alain Resnais, 1980)

Alain Resnais’ Mon oncle d’Amérique blends documentary and fictional aspects. Evolutionary biologist/behaviorist Henri Laborit, who appears as himself, had selected Resnais as the logical person to direct a documentary in which he, Laborit, would present his views about human behavior on the basis of experiments with rats. Resnais brought in Jean Gruault to expand the […]