Saturday, July 16, 2011
THE OX-BOW INCIDENT (1943)
I really enjoyed posting two straight weeks of blogs on Hollywood films from the 1930's, and so for the 1940's I'm going to up the ante and try for three weeks worth. Looking at titles I have left from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, this shouldn't be a problem. As before, I’ll list my expectations for each film going in and state whether these expectations are reached or not. And I’ll once again give each film my Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award because there was such a bounty of great supporting performers from this period and I just like doing it.
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
Expectations: I remember back in the days of Poli Sci at good ole watching this film along with a film about the Leo Frank/Mary Phagan criminal case. Both are good examples of mob justice reaching the wrong conclusion.
After Viewing: Another case of a studio head (Zanuck of Fox) making a film that he knew wasn’t going to make a profit simply because he (buoyed by the persistence of director William Wellman) knew it could be memorable film. And he was right in my opinion.
Glamorous leading ladies needed: So much for the glamorous leading ladies of the forties. The two females with any screen time at all in this film are Jane “Ma Joad” Darwell and Margaret “Wicked Witch of the West” Hamilton. That’s all right, The Ox-Bow Incident is a more of a guy thing, anyway.
DVD commentator discrepancy: Two commentators on this DVD. One, William Wellman Jr., discusses how rare it is that his father would change any original material when he adapted a book for a film. The other commentator then gives us several examples, including two characters that were morphed into one, of how the senior Wellman did just that.
And the Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award goes to…Harry (Henry) Morgan. One of movies and TV’s greatest sidekicks. I’m guessing this was one of his earliest roles as Henry Fonda’s, uh, for lack of a better word…sidekick.