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Film homage, John Wayne, "3 Godfathers," 1948, O.K. Corral, statues, Tombstone, Arizona

This Technicolor Western is a Ford remake of his 1919 "Marked Men,"starring Harry Carey (1878-1947). As with many of the director's former close associates, they were barely speaking. (Ford sadly did not have any real friends, as any person of spine refused to bend to his dictatorial hand.) Ford had not cast Carey for decades. But the very day he died the quarrelsome director offered his son, Dobe, the role that had been played by his father 29 years before. (An action the elder Carey had predicted; a complicated mixture of Irish guilt and loyalty.) The remake was shot in the Mohave Desert in 130 degree heat,with Ford driving Dobe mercilessly, saying that Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy (1924-1971) had begged him for the role.


The film opens with Ford's second-unit director Cliff Lyons, posing as the recently deceased actor, sitting atop Carey's horse, Sunny,silhouetted against a sunset on an MGM backlot hilltop, with the text:"Bright Star of the early western sky." The beautiful image was that of Winton C. Hoch (1907-1979) who had been trained at the California Institute of Technology as a research physicist. An expert in Technicolor (having worked for them 20 years as a color specialist), he was the director of four of Ford's most exquisite color films, starting with"Godfathers," then "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (for which he won an Oscar), "The Quiet Man" and "The Searchers."


@2009 David Lee Guss Film homage, O.K. Corral statues, boy gunslinger, Tombstone, Arizona, 2004-2008


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Taken on October 19, 2004