Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Best Lookin' Shootout ever

John Ford was a true artist. I love the way he composed his shots when directed films--especially his westerns. And most especially when he shot his films in black-and-white.

His finest visual work was, I think, in 1946's My Darling Clementine, Ford's historically nonsensical but nonetheless brilliant story of Wyatt Earp and the shootout at the OK Corrall.

Take a look at the last ten minutes of that film:

My Darling Clementine

Visually, it's perfect. Every single shot is beautifully composed and photographed. There's a shot from 3:15 to 3:25 that I'd love to have framed on my wall, but that could be said for any single moment from this sequence.

John Ford was a great filmmaker in every sense--a master of storytelling and characterization as well as a visual artist. But it's his visual sense that I admire the most. Except for Kurosawa, I don't think any other director could compose a scene with such elegance.

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