Drums Along The Mohawk John Ford

Drums Along The Mohawk John Ford

John Ford was Hollywood’s resident genius and the greatest practitioner of the Western; he was also fiercely and sincerely conservative in dealing out his vision of American community values. This makes him impossible to dismiss but sometimes hard to forgive, with this 1939 Revolutionary War saga coming in for mixed emotions all around. Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert are two newlyweds who set up a farm in the Mohawk Valley only to endure the slings and arrows of the redcoats and their Indian stooges. But the community perseveres, and fights on to the end in the darkest days of the war. This is a most watchable example of mindsets that you’d now cross the street to avoid: Ford was a Neanderthal when it came to women (inevitably, a hysterical Colbert has to be slapped) and don’t even ask about his cursory dismissal of Native Americans, who range here from the "painted heathens” arranged against the heroes to the comical stooge Blue Back (Chief Big Tree) who’s hilarious when he won’t remove his hat in church. But strip away the cringe-making attitudes and you’ll find the heart of Ford’s sympathy, the idea of an indestructible people who find solace in each other and give each other strength. And this very genuine belief in such communal values gives his films warmth that straight Yankee myth-making can’t provide. I would be remiss in saying this is unproblematic, but the core sensibility of this film is something American movies have lost and might want to rediscover. Extras include a commentary by Nick Redman and Julie Kirgo, the latter of whom provides immeasurably fascinating background both cinematic and historical, as well as the trailer and some still galleries. (Fox)