John Ford: The Columbia Films Collection [5 Discs] [DVD]
- SKU: 26101708
- Release Date: 11/25/2014
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The life story of West Point athletic director Marty Maher was the inspiration for John Ford's The Long Gray Line. Told in flashback, the film recalls the first days at the Point for Irish immigrant Maher (Tyrone Power), a pugnacious boy who can't seem to fit in with the institution's regimen of unquestioning discipline. Athletic director Ward Bond takes a liking to Maher and arranges for the young man to become his assistant; Bond also plays Cupid between Maher and Irish maidservant Mary O'Donnell (Maureen O'Hara). When Mary's baby is stillborn, the Mahers begin to regard the West Point cadets as their surrogate children: this eventually leads to the film's most touching scene, in which Mary bids farewell to her son-substitute as he marches off to World War II. Following Mary's death, Marty stays on at the Point, until the place seems somehow incomplete without his presence. On the occasion of his forced retirement, Maher gently pleads with one of his former students--President Dwight D. Eisenhower--to permit him to remain at his post (Ike is played by Harry Carey Jr. in his early scenes, and by the voice of Paul Frees in the wraparound White House scenes). Based on Marty Maher's autobiography, The Long Gray Line seems at first glance too leisurely for its own good, but this appealing film gradually grows on its audience--just like Marty Maher himself. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Whole Town's Talking
The film that revived Edward G. Robinson's career after a string of flops, along with A Slight Case of Murder (1938), it was one of the few comedies on his lengthy list of credits. The gangster-comedy was unusual in the composition of its writing staff, which included frequent Frank Capra collaborators Robert Riskin and Jo Swerling, as well as tough-guy scribe W.R. Burnett, who wrote Little Caesar (1931) and High Sierra (1941). The plot centers on the confusion surrounding the uncanny resemblance of a mild-mannered advertising clerk, Arthur Jones (Robinson), to escaped convict "Killer" Mannion. After the police mistakenly arrest the clerk, they give him a passport to avoid repeating the error. As a novelty, newspaper man Healy (Wallace Ford) hires the clerk, an aspiring writer, to do a series on his impressions of Mannion. But later, the convict appears at Jones' apartment and demands the passport for his own protection, threatening the fearful clerk if he reveals anything about his visit. The criminal also orders Jones to write the series of articles based on his reminiscences, which alerts the police that something strange is going on. Although the district attorney finally places Jones in jail under protective custody, for his safety, Mannion switches places with him in order to kill another inmate. ~ Michael Costello, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Tyrone Power - Martin Maher
- Maureen O'Hara - Mary O'Donnell
- Robert Francis - Red Sundstrom Jr.
- Ward Bond - Capt. Herman J. Koehler
- Donald Crisp - Old Martin