THE LIEUTENANTS LAST FIGHT (1912) Francis Ford

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Richard M Roberts
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THE LIEUTENANTS LAST FIGHT (1912) Francis Ford

Postby Richard M Roberts » Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:27 am

Here's a Bison 101 picture directed by Thomas H. Ince, released by Universal, June 1, 1912, starring Francis Ford, Ann Little, J. Barney Sherry, and featuring Art Acord as Big Buffalo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8gKZSX-RHI


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Re: THE LIEUTENANTS LAST FIGHT (1912) Francis Ford

Postby Gary Johnson » Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:51 pm

Filmmakers certainly didn't shy away from downbeat endings in early cinema.

Most of Francis Ford's surviving films that I've seen wear well with age. They tend to play down the hyperbole that was so prevalent at the time. When the officers of the fort look out to watch Ford greet and hug his Indian companion, they laugh with derision over the 'Indian lover'. Their attitude annoys the heroine so that she makes a point of going outside to greet and welcome Ford's friend herself. It's a small moment but it plays out naturally.

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Re: THE LIEUTENANTS LAST FIGHT (1912) Francis Ford

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:01 am

Gary Johnson wrote:Filmmakers certainly didn't shy away from downbeat endings in early cinema.

Most of Francis Ford's surviving films that I've seen wear well with age. They tend to play down the hyperbole that was so prevalent at the time. When the officers of the fort look out to watch Ford greet and hug his Indian companion, they laugh with derision over the 'Indian lover'. Their attitude annoys the heroine so that she makes a point of going outside to greet and welcome Ford's friend herself. It's a small moment but it plays out naturally.



I think Francis Ford's early stardom was well justified, he was an interesting actor and a talented director, unfortunately, when most of your peak work was done at Universal in the teens, there is very little left for one to see to be able to justify that reputation.

I think Francis also influenced his younger brother's work as a director more than younger brother would have ever admitted to.


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Re: THE LIEUTENANTS LAST FIGHT (1912) Francis Ford

Postby Gary Johnson » Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:54 am

Oh, that is obviously true concerning his directorial influence. It's the reason Jack punished his older brother the rest of his life by the roles he gave him in all of his films.
"Francis, how dare you set me off on a career of international renown?? I'll show you...."
There were a lot of strange dynamics floating around that Ford family.

The one influence I am fuzzy about is the humanizing treatment of the Indians. Was that an attitude that came out of the Ince factory? I know Brownlow touched on it in THE WAR, THE WEST and the WILDERNESS but it has been years since I've picked up that book.

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Re: THE LIEUTENANTS LAST FIGHT (1912) Francis Ford

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:06 pm

Gary Johnson wrote:
The one influence I am fuzzy about is the humanizing treatment of the Indians. Was that an attitude that came out of the Ince factory? I know Brownlow touched on it in THE WAR, THE WEST and the WILDERNESS but it has been years since I've picked up that book.



I think that was more prevalent than one might think, even beyond Ince. I've seen a lot of early westerns depicting the "noble savage", not necessarily being exploited by the white man, but at least a neutral character towards the white man in term of the story, don't forget those James Young Deer/ Mona Darkfeather films were also popular at the time. They became more stock villains in B westerns, but even then, it's surprising how many times they are depicted as being mere pawns duped by bad white men into becoming the enemy.


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Re: THE LIEUTENANTS LAST FIGHT (1912) Francis Ford

Postby Gary Johnson » Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:34 am

That's what was so significant about early cinema. There were no corporate rules over depictions of various race of people. Everyone acted as an independent film unit. Their distributors didn't care what they shot as long as product kept flowing in. It didn't last long, however. The Zukors of the world quickly coalesced production into homogenized themes - love and sex.

But if a larger percentage of films from this era had survived, maybe we would find that the majority of them did subscribed to the maxim of the dime novels of the day -- that the only good Indian was a dead Indian. Maybe these more liberal-minded films were more of an anomaly and that's the very reason they did survive.
There's the cynic in me once again rearing it's ugly head. Hope I'm wrong....


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