Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jubal (1956)

Glenn Ford and Felicia Farr against the beauty of the West in Jubal (1956).

Jubal (1956-Delmer Daves) is being shown on Encore Westerns this month. I believe that the vivid print they are airing may be the restored version that was shown at the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2010, though film purists with a technical streak may find the 35mm print somewhat dissatisfying, for reasons that are explained here and because it is being shown in a pan-and-scan mode.

Filmed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, it appears to be magnificent-looking to this movie peasant, leading me to almost smell the mountain air, the wild strawberries, cow patties, and meadow flowers that are captured in every wide-screen vista as photographed by Charles Lawton, Jr., who also worked on the two other Glenn Ford Westerns made with director Delmer Daves, 3:10 to Yuma (1957) and Cowboy (1958). Ford, who was reaching the apogee of his popularity in the '50s, told an interviewer near the end of life:

"Del was a very fine director. I think the three films we did together hold up well, even today. You know, I can't tell you why we had good chemistry. He was always prepared and he knew what he wanted to achieve with a film. I owe Del a lot of credit in my goal to portray a real cowboy, not an actor pretending to be a cowboy. He saw potential in me and I hope I didn't disappoint him."

Goodbye, Maurice Sendak

Above: Little Bear off on his adventure to the moon, bidding his mother goodbye.

Goodbye to a man who feels as though he was a friend since childhood--illustrator and author Maurice Sendak has died at age 83. Though many of his most popular stories and drawings such as Where the Wild Things Are were too intense for me, others live in fond memory. One of my first books was Charlotte and the White Horse, which he illustrated for author Ruth Krauss and another was Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear, which he drew with great tenderness and considerable humor, along with many sequels. I've never forgotten the enchantment of either book. You can see this creative man's obituary from The New York Times here.
Above: The cover illustration of Charlotte and the White Horse.

 Still another Ruth Krauss book, A Hole Is To Dig: A First Book of First Definitions springs to life in my mind once again. Full of mischievous logic from a child's point of view, this little book featured all sorts of anarchic reasons for the existence of a plethora of things:

Below are the author's words from "Maurice Sendak: On Life, Death, and Children's Lit," an interview with Terri Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air"  broadcast on September 20, 2011. You can hear this interview in its entirety here.

“I’m not unhappy about becoming old . . .[it's] what must be. I only cry when I see my friends go before me. I don’t believe in an afterlife, but I do expect to see my brother again . . . like a dream life . . . but I am in love with the world. I look right now out the window of my studio--I see my trees, these beautiful beautiful maples. It is a blessing to get old, to find the time to do the things, to read the books, to listen to the music. I don’t think I’m rationalizing . . . this is all inevitable, I have no control over it. The wondrous feeling of coming into my own—it took a very long time. You could be talking to a crazy person.”

“I have heart trouble. I’m very sick. I have nothing but praise now really for my life. . . I’m not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more. I’m in a very soft mood, you gather, because new people have died. It’s what I dread more than my isolation. . . . [young people] if they only knew how little I know. Oh, God, there are so many beautiful things in the world that I will have to leave when I die, but I am ready, I am ready, I am ready.”

“Although certainly I’ll go before you’ll go, so I won’t have to miss you. But I will cry my way all the way to the grave. . . . I wish you all good things. Live your life, live your life, live your life.”


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