Throughout the history of cinema, some of the greatest stars have accomplished incredible feats in their field. Let’s Take Five is a podcast to highlight them and take five of their films to show their range and accomplishments. Every Friday, Austin Lugar and Eric Martindale will review one of those films to receive a better understanding about what makes them so great.
Our current topic is John Ford and his Five are…
1 ) Stagecoach
2 ) The Grapes of Wrath
3 ) My Darling Clementine
4 ) The Searchers
5 ) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
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For reasons unknown, Volver is the most popular film in America for Pedro Almodovar. All of them were Oscar darlings, but this brightly colored family drama was the one that got the biggest audience. Eric and Austin try to understand why as they look into the complicated story that involves secrets, a dead body and a ghost. As always, the podcast does contain spoilers and the guys will spoil everything as they recontextualize the film from the information revealed at the end. It’s almost like they….return to the beginning. (Volver means to return.)
Two men talk about their woes on and off screen. In Talk to Her, it is about two men trying to understand their loneliness as they worry about two men in a coma. In Let’s Take Five, two men worry about what these characters do in Talk to Her. Austin and Eric dive into Pedro Almodovar’s Oscar winning film as they discuss the complexity of personal sacrifice, violation of women and the weirdest scene Almodovar has ever made….so far.
The guys return to the world of Pedro Almodovar for a different type of story. While last week was a fun farce, All About My Mother looks at a group of women all facing a personal tragedy. They have to come to grips with the death of a child and loved ones facing terminal illnesses. While it’s more somber material, this film highlights Almodovar’s warmest elements as he praises the roles of female friendships and the power of melodrama.
Viva Pedro! The guys are starting their next five by jumping into the feminine and sometimes farcical world of Pedro Almodovar. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was his international breakout film. It is the story of a woman seeking revenge towards her ex-boyfriend and teaming up with various women who have also been scorned. So early in his career, this movie is filled with his sense of humor, use of color and complicated female characters.
Another Five is over! Eric and Austin went through some of John Ford’s greatest hits from Stagecoach to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. And they still have plenty more they could have covered. They talk about some of those as well as the aspects of Ford’s vision that connected with them the most. They also rank the Five and announce their new subject. Get excited!
In the end of his career, John Ford made one more powerhouse movie by teaming up two of the greatest actors of the generation. Neither John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart play Liberty Valance, but maybe one of them was the man who shot him. The guys dive into what Ford is saying about his western legacy, the end of an era and the myth of morality. But it wouldn’t be a successful take on a team-up if they didn’t have a team-up of their own. Enter…Eric’s dad, Ray Martindale!
We got The Duke! John Wayne teams up with John Ford again for their most complicated western. In The Searchers, Wayne plays a racist Confederate soldier who spends years looking for his taken niece. The guys discuss Ford’s exciting use of color, his take on the bigoted character and what the ending means for the family.
Get your water bottle filled because we’re off to the Dust Bowl! I know there are so many Dust Bowl movies and TV shows that air every week, but let’s look back at the first one, The Grapes of Wrath. John Ford adapted this acclaimed John Steinbeck novel with one of the best actors of his generation, Henry Fonda. But is it any good?
Get settled in because the guys are hitching a ride to a Stagecoach. As they start their John Ford Five, they quickly realize this will be a journey that will never let you get bored as Austin and Eric are impressed by the scale of Stagecoach’s action, ensemble and legacy.