Tag Archives: John Carradine

The Set of 400: #170 – My Favorite Meal on the Cuff

Today! Because courage can be purchased at yon’ tavern –

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Directed by John Ford (x2)

Starring James Stewart (x2), John Wayne (x2), Lee Marvin, Vera Miles, Edmond O’Brien (x2), Andy Devine, Ken Murray, Woody Strode, John Carradine (x3), John Qualen, Jeanette Nolan, Lee Van Cleef, Strother Martin (x2), Denver Pyle, Carleton Young, Paul Birch, Joseph Hoover

In concocting this list, I realized that many of the movies I considered my favorites came to me because they were clearly the favorite of someone around me first. Hell, my little sister watched Strictly Ballroom so many times that I’ve committed lots of its dialogue to memory, and it nearly fought its way on here (Strictly Ballroom is great, by the way). My older sister had a poster for Moonstruck hanging up in their room for years, and it had all the glitz and glow of an Oscar winner, even for eight-year-old Joe, that even now I’m like “Yeah! Moonstruck! That movie’s great!” even though I have no recollection of what that movie is about. Does Nicolas Cage only have one hand in it? Is that right?

Jeez, what the hell was that movie about?

But the handful of John Wayne movies on this list I can attribute directly to my old man. Many of them blend together into one Indian massacre of a film that I can’t precisely distinguish, but a few others stand out pretty well. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is at the top of this western list. John Wayne is John Wayne as always (here, one Tom Doniphon), and Jimmy Stewart is the tenderfoot bookworm come to town, just as elections and the east are infiltrating old west life. The movie starts at the end, with Stewart’s Ransom Stoddard returning to Shinbone (the town is named Shinbone!) for a funeral, then jumps back to his initial arrival – and all the drama connected to Lee Marvin’s odious Liberty Valance. Along for the ride are a wonderful bunch of great comic turns – an odd staple of the best John Ford films – including Andy Devine’s hilarious Link Appleyard and Edmond O’Brien’s drunken, raging publisher Dutton Peabody. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #200 – My Favorite Swiped Candlesticks

Today! Because I will take you in the end! You know I will!

Les Miserables (1935)

Directed by Richard Boleslawski

Starring Fredric March, Charles Laughton (x2), Cedric Hardwicke, Florence Eldridge, Rochelle Hudson, John Beal, Frances Drake, Jessie Ralph (x2), Ferdinand Gottschalk, Jane Kerr, John Carradine (x2)

Still the best film version of Victor Hugo’s novel (even if it lops off the final quarter of the story), 1935’s Les Miserables brings the 1,100 page novel in under two hours, and manages to cover pretty much the whole main plot. If you’re a huge fan of the book or the musical – and come on, who isn’t? – there is plenty glossed over and lost along the way, but if this story has always basically boiled down to Valjean v. Javert, this is the film version for you. Plus, no Russell Crowe singing!

Gah!

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The Set of 400: #333 – My Favorite Missing Boot

Today! Because here’s something an old squire like you could use, sir – a whistle for calling your sheepdog –

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

Directed by Sidney Lanfield

Starring Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie, Lionel Atwill, John Carradine, E.E. Clive, Barlowe Borland, Beryl Mercer, Morton Lowry, Ralph Forbes, Mary Gordon

The Hound of the Baskervilles was the first and one of the best films in the long-running 20th Century Fox/Universal Sherlock Holmes series of the ’30s/’40s starring Rathbone and Bruce, and kicks off our little mini-marathon of these movies over the next year. A lot of these movies don’t really hold up – they were cranking them out two or three a year for the better part of the next decade, so naturally some weren’t going to be stellar – but they’re all at least pretty watchable due to the excellent work of the leads and their specific takes on the iconic roles.

Baskervilles is particularly interesting for a few reasons. While many of the movies are based on Doyle stories, most needed massive alterations and changes to make the screen – not so much here, as Baskervilles is also one of the rare book-length Doyle tales. Also, Sherlock is off-screen for a large portion of the middle of the film – leaving the heavy lifting to Watson, and the lead-billed, nominal star of the movie, Richard Greene as Henry Baskerville (Greene is probably best known for his work as TV’s Robin Hood in the 1950’s for ITV/CBS). And as a fun fact, this is the only Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock film to reference in any way Holmes’ cocaine use, a topic so eagerly covered in the very solid Seven-Per-Cent Solution with Nicol Williamson some years later.

It’s also got Robert Duvall as Watson and Alan Arkin as Sigmund Freud! Not pictured – Olivier himself as Moriarty!

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