Jack [John] Ford

T. it.: “All’assalto di Broadway”; Scen.: George Hively; F.: Ben F. Reynolds; Int.: Harry Carey (Cheyenne Harry), Molly Malone (Helen Clayton), L. M. Wells (Ben Clayton, suo padre), Vester Pegg (Thornton, un compratore di bestiame); Prod.: Harry Carey per Butterfly-Universal; 35mm. L.: 1213 m. D.: 59’ a 20 f/s. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The discovery of Bucking Broadway at the Archives françaises du film was a double event: it is one of the rare surviving silent films by John Ford, and it is the first feature film restored by the Archives du Film entirely using digital technologies, which sometimes provoke debate. The nitrate print found was a French version distributed in 1918, in four color reels. It has many flaws: it’s grainy and scratched, with missing frames, many splices, and traces of mold. The intertitles present early stages of decomposition which made it necessary to remove them to avoid contaminating the image. Initially, a color duplicate was made from the nitrate materials using traditional methods, without correcting any of the flaws. However, the name John Ford was enough to justify a more in-depth restoration, and resorting to digital technologies seemed the best solution. […] A work print was struck in black and white containing the original flaws, and a complete storyboard was also made for the film from digitized images. Initial comparison of the two reference documents made it possible to immediately identify and then rectify some anomalies that occurred during digital duplication (inverted images, missing or incomplete scenes). The most serious flaws (torn perforations, visible splices, image instability, deep scratches, spots…) were first identified in the work print and then noted on the storyboard. Starting with this information, the technicians responsible for the corrections made the necessary alterations, which were then submitted to the restoration team for approval.

Jean-Louis Cot, in “Positif”, n. 504, 2003

A first viewing of Bucking Broadway is enough to understand that Ford, then 22, was already in possession of all his capabilities: the story structure, the quality of the photography and framing, and the rhythm of the editing all confirm the great maturity glimpsed in Straight Shooting. The protagonist of the story is cowboy Cheyenne Harry (Harry Carey), who would reappear in about twenty films by the director between 1917 and 1919. This time, Cheyenne Harry is supposed to marry the daughter of a Wyoming ranch owner, but she prefers a seedy wheeler- dealer who drags her to New York. […] Like many westerns at the time, the action in the film is set in the same era in which the film was shot. Here, the road to industrial progress crosses the Wild West: horses run beside cars, cowboys answer the telephone. This colorful, anachronistic world, often described humorously, does however hide a certain bitterness. Because, behind funny, oddball situations (cowboys running to the window to watch a car go by, Cheyenne Harry’s arrival in a New York hotel), it is precisely the end of an era which the director is trying to evoke.

Eric Loné, in “Positif”, n. 504, 2003

Copy From