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The Iron Horse

Live Piano Accompaniment by Rob Humphreville
Screening on Film
$12 Special Event Tickets
Directed by John Ford.
With George O’Brien, Madge Bellamy, Fred Kohler.
US, 1924, 35mm, black & white, silent, 120 min.
Print source: 20th Century Fox

The success of James Cruze’s epic Western The Covered Wagon (1923) inspired William Fox’s ambition to top it by sending John Ford to Nevada to film the story of the 1869 completion of the transcontinental railroad. The first of Ford’s American history films, The Iron Horse unfurls its historical tapestry as backdrop to a driving melodrama of a tense love triangle and a son avenging his father’s murder. The film’s gripping action sequences display Ford’s strong command of kinetic cinema with intensely rhythmic sequences of laying the railroad tracks and dramatic battles with “Indians.” While the Native Americans exist as near caricatures in the film, Ford is nevertheless careful to acknowledge the importance of immigrant labor in the completion of the railroad.

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Classic Ford.
A John Ford Retrospective, Part I

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