John Ford (Jack Ford)

It. tit.: Centro!; Scen.: George Hively; F.: George Scott; Int.: Harry Carey (Cheyenne Harry), Molly Malone (Joan Sims), Duke Lee (“Thunder” Flint), Vester Pegg (“Placer” Fremont), Hoot Gibson (Danny Morgan), George Berrell (Sweetwater Sims), Ted Brooks (Ted Sims), Milt Brown (Black-Eyed Pete); Prod.: Butterfly-Universal; Pri. pro.: 27 agosto 1917. 35mm. L. or.: 5 bobine. L.: 1238 m. D.: 68’ a 18 f/s. Bn.

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

Straight Shooting was rediscovered in 1966. A remarkably assured work for a twenty-three-year-old director, Straight Shooting displays a sophisticated command of pictorial storytelling. Ford’s style is already recognizably his own; some of the themes and visual motifs he would explore in his mature masterpieces, such as Stagecoach and The Searchers, are present in his feature debut. Straight Shooting’s plot about a range war between cattlemen and ranchers may be overly familiar from hundreds of other Westerns made before and after it, and some of the acting is marred by overdependence on melodramatic clichés; but the vigor and subtlety of Ford’s approach keep the movie entertaining and emotionally affecting more than ninety years after it was made. From the opening shot, we know we are in the hands of an innate filmmaker with a fresh, painterly sense of composition. Straight Shooting already exemplifies Andrew Sarris’s eloquent description of Ford’s visual style as one that “evolved almost miraculously into a double vision of an event in all its vital immediacy and yet also in its ultimate memory image on the horizon of history.” Stemming in part from Ford’s quasi-religious habit of seeing everyday life from the perspective of eternity, this duality in the director’s vision of the world helps account for the depth he brings to the character of Cheyenne Harry (Harry Carey) in Straight Shooting, a wandering outlaw who throws in his hand with a beleaguered frontier family. Thematically, Straight Shooting inaugurates one of the dominant concerns of Ford’s work, the conflict between wandering and stability, or what The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance would define in a larger context as the conflict between “wilderness” and the “garden” of civilization. But Straight Shooting’s dual ending [due to recutting after its first release] seems peculiarly appropriate as an expression of its budding director’s divided self.

(from Searching for John Ford)

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Restored in 1995 in collaboration with Region Emilia Romagna