She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Screening on Film
Directed by John Ford.
With John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar.
US, 1949, 35mm, color, 103 min.
Print source: UCLA

Films from every period of Ford’s career testify to his abiding fascination with the military as a way of life and as a model of community. Ford fused his engagement with the military to the Western genre in his trilogy of films about U.S. Cavalry units assigned to policing indigenous tribes. The middle film of the trilogy, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is packed with plot (a clash with the Arapaho and a love triangle involving a young woman and two rival cavalrymen), but still places its emphasis on the structures of daily life at the cavalry post and the rites of social interaction. If Ford’s pre-war Westerns create the mythology of the West, his postwar Westerns present The West as myth. Now working in glorious Technicolor, the alternately expressionist and realist black and white of previous Westerns gives way to richer-than-life colors that evoke vivid reds and browns of the Frederic Remington’s paintings that Ford acknowledged as an important inspiration.

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A John Ford Retrospective, Part I

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