Starring: Dianne Foster, Pat O'Brien, Spencer Tracy, Donald Crisp, Basil Rathbone, Jeffrey Hunter, James Gleason
Company: Twilight Time
Product Description: The legendary John Ford directs screenwriter Frank S. Nugent’s adaptation of Edwin O’Connor’s novel, the barn-burning political film/character study, The Last Hurrah (1958). The singular Spencer Tracy stars as an old-school Irish-American pol, mayor of “a New England City” that just might be Boston; as he faces a potentially rough fifth campaign, he is observed by his journalist nephew (Jeffrey Hunter), fighting charges of graft and abuse of power even as he is assisted and/or opposed by a gallery of colorful characters. The extraordinary supporting cast includes Pat O’Brien, Basil Rathbone, Donald Crisp, James Gleason, Ricardo Cortez, et al; the film was gloriously shot by Charles Lawton, Jr. (The Lady from Shanghai).
My Review and Thoughts:
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Super excited about this release on Special Edition Blu-ray. I am a huge John Ford fan and when I learned Twilight Time was blessing us fans with this release I was super thrilled and super enthused with movie bliss. This is a must own, must experience Blu-ray. A High Definition perfection. A glorious film. A powerhouse piece of cinema both passionate and sublime. Equally parts dramatic and equally parts a perfection. This is a wonderful film with a true visionary talent behind it. Twilight Time has honored and embraced this film in a whole new outlet. They have crafted an excellence that all film companies should look to express their products. This Blu-ray is a top notch experience that I highly praise and highly recommend.
This stars the one and only Spencer Tracy. All one should have to do is write that name, or say that name, and that sums it up. Tracy is one of the best, most talented acting performers to ever grace the cinema world. From Drama, to comedy to western, to everything in between. He was a multi-diverse actor that knew what he wanted to create in a character, and succeeded in doing so in many, upon many pieces of cinema. His brilliant ability to make you believe his characters is what great acting is all about. Another Twilight Time Blu-ray Special Edition release Broken Lance is a prime example of his talent. Broken Lance is a prime example of a film that has been forgotten or overlooked as an important piece of American storytelling and Twilight Time like The Last Hurrah has given new outlets to these priceless films.
This is directed by one of the great directors of all time, Mr. John Ford. When I think of the Western frontier in cinema I think of one man. That man is John Ford. He has away with taking the very fabric of cinema and painting a pure piece of art come to life in his work. He was a director that caused the viewer’s mind to numb when it came to creating movies on screen. His stories through his actors are so thick with history in cinema and passion for the world of movies and the very nature of the motion picture existence that you can‘t help but see why he is considered a genius. Many of his works are classified as masterpiece’s worthy to be always remembered. His many directing jobs blows my mind. I have been a fan of John Ford’s films for a very, very, very long time. When I learned Twilight, Time was releasing this awesome feature film on Special Edition Blu-ray I was super happy and giddy with delight.
John Ford is a wonderful example of a heavy director, a director that builds the plots in his movies for his camera work, his massive direction to bring fourth films that few can even begin to try to. I want to describe his work as very meaty in its approach. His movies give massive character development letting the viewer become a part of the situation and just who the players of the story are and most of all the stunning beauty of cinematography and the worthy approach of splicing and placing every shot into perfect harmony. Many of his films are priceless including this one I am reviewing.
When he directs it is as if the screen growing into the viewer’s mind. When he directs, it creates a sense of perfect harmony that can make the viewer become so woven into the subject that you not only consume each shot you become each shot and you are John Ford, you see what he saw in directing the way he did. His work is the example of what to do behind the camera.
John Ford was a true directing god in his works, a nature of shots and story that only he knows how to do. Many of his works are one of kind pieces of cinema history into the classic realms of directing in a way that does not let go. So, begins this memory of him, this spotlight, his many characters in his films built upon me lasting impressions that I will never forget, an interesting character that works in so many details because he was true motion picture.
John Ford was not only a director, but he started acting in 1914 under the name Jack Ford. He played a Klansman in the classic 1915 The Birth of the Nation. At the age of 22 in 1917 he made his first western called Tornado and that same year he would direct 8 more westerns. In 1935 he won his first Oscar for direction of the movie The Informer a non-western. The directing of the 1940 masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath won him his second Oscar a non-western. The 1941 How Green was My Valley won him yet another Oscar a non-western. In 1942 he was in the navy and filmed a documentary called The Battle of Midway and this won him another Oscar. Also, he created another documentary titled Dec. 7th, and this would win him another Oscar. Amazingly looking back none of these are westerns and yet when you think of John Ford you ultimately say the director of westerns and yet he had a vast career of films.
His work can be a kick in the gut as you follow along with his directing ordeal in the many wonderful subjects he brought to life on screen. His westerns shinned and still are what true West is about. He became the father of the Wild West, the cowboy man, the director of bringing the adventures and the atmosphere of the west to life for all to see. John Ford knew how to play with the viewer and knew just how to place the situations and ordeals of the actors into a reality setting. What stands out the most is that John Ford captures the ordeal of emotions, you feel the pain and the struggle and the fear and the helplessness as they struggle to cope and come to terms with what is happening in his films.
His films are tight woven art pieces brought together for the viewer to take a hold of and experience it first hand, adding to the wonderful cinematic quality that is motion pictures. I love the tension that flows off the screen and into the viewer’s mind while watching a John Ford film. The darkness and dread of knowing the west, the crime, a victim, a killer, a place of beauty all came in crisp wonder behind the direction of this master.
The first time I watched a film by John Ford was the one of a kind 1939 masterpiece Stagecoach starring John Wayne. I know it was in the early 80’s when I first saw this because my Uncle Earl was the one who introduced me to the art form of John Ford. I stayed with my Uncle growing up and his passion was reading westerns and watching westerns and so my love for this art form of cinema grew and when I came across Stagecoach, I knew I would forever be hooked to John Ford.
Shortly after I found myself collecting John Ford ‘s movies. I think what also needs to be said is he brought the very beauty and foundation of America and its history to the screen. He was a true American behind the lens capturing many moments of American history and landscapes of the American frontier. He also had many wonderful friends in actors, directors, writers and so on. His many talented actors that filmed repeatedly was James Stewart, Henry Fonda the one and only John Wayne and many others. He was best friends with Brain Desmond Hurst a beautiful talented overlooked director who brought such classics as Riders of the Sea, Malta Story, 1951’s Scrooge. His friendship and his life were just as priceless as his movies.
Ford gave the western a name, he gave movies living realities that gave a heartbeat, a breathing landscape but his many movies graces all genera’s and his talent to film was flawless. Movies like The Grapes of Wrath 1940, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 1962, Wings of Eagles 1957, The Quiet Man 1952, The Searchers 1956, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon 1949, Three Godfathers 1948 and so many others I could go on and on it just shows you the broad range of his skill and talent. I think what shinned about John Ford is he never liked to talk about himself, he always wanted to talk about someone else or something else. He considered himself like everyone else, he accepted everyone like family. Amazingly out of all the stunts in all his western movies not one horse or stuntman or actor was seriously hurt, he took pride in his films and brought them together in completion as he saw fit.
His movies are fast action, fists fights, gun fights, wagons out of control, cowboy’s killing Indians, Indians killing cowboys, shoot outs, bar room fights, action, action, action and yet also drama, such is the case of the movie I am reviewing. John Ford also was about love, strong attitudes, character development, cinematography, telling a complete story so that the viewer never had to guess. I think what makes him as powerful as a director is all his action films he filmed on the moment, he did not rehearse the wide range of action, and he filmed what he got. The stunts in his films where flawless and extraordinary, breathtaking and brilliant. What is a true honor is to have, such an amazing masterpiece director such as Orson Welles and Ingmar Bergman stating that John Ford influenced them and that they said he was one of the greatest directors of all time. Ford created many things in his filming, he became a pioneer of extreme long shot and location shooting.
John Wayne would become a regular star in his films. Acting in over twenty pictures as Ford as the director. John Ford was also best friends with Merian C. Cooper the director of the one of a kind classic 1933’s King Kong. Cooper would produce many of Ford’s movies.
Interesting to note is Ford was known as Commander John Ford USNR in the United States Navy during World War 2. Ford was there on Omaha Beach on D-Day as the one of the main photographers. Most of this footage was never shown because Ford captured the many horrible deaths of young United States men.
John Ford passed away at the ripe old age of 79 years old in August of 1973 from the illness of stomach cancer. He became the very first to receive the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. He directed over one hundred movies in his life time.
John Ford was a master at cinema, but I will always remember his works of the Western film nature. His talent was able to express the true frontier. He placed his viewers on the plains. He gave the film shots of pure western rugged beauty and gave the very dark and rough atmosphere of an untamed wildness that was the west.
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Another perfected Transfer in Video production. A flawless transfer. The new amazing crisp imagery is something that stands out. The audio is equally perfected. Both audio and video are priceless in this Special Edition Blu-ray.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Isolated Music Track: The music is done by many musicians. This isolated music track is brilliant in its way.
A very awesome listen by three awesome film gurus. A perfect listen for any fan of film history. Audio Commentary with Film Historians Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo, and Nick Redman
Original Theatrical Trailer
I really think Twilight Time honored so many classic actors and actresses with this choice of Special Edition Blu-ray. I am super happy to own this Blu-ray. This film has never looked any better. It’s a classic film that should be seen by any movie buff, and what better way than to experience it on this High Definition Blu-ray. 100 Percent, Highly Recommended. This flawless transfer to an old classic feature film is dynamite. I applaud Twilight Time for choosing this film to bring out.
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