Cinema Arlecchino > 15:00



Friday 28/08/2020


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

But The Battle of Midway was a film virtually lacking any formal precedent, one for which Ford had to invent something “new”. And it was for Ford an occasion when critical reaction mattered little, an occasion aimed at a broad audience, an occasion when the reaction of the masses to this deeply personal essay on “war, and peace, and all-of-us” mattered terribily. Rarely is an artist given so vast a subject to address, and rarely do his thoughts receive the interested attention of so vast an audience. To this aim The Battle of Midway is directly manipulative, it seeks a deeper level of consciousness through a fuller exploitation of multi-media art. To be sure, Ford did not abandon staginess altogether, but he would never stand so far back from his material after The Battle of Midway as he did before. This is the deepening of feeling, provoked by exposition to the War, which James Agee referred to. It is the difference, perhaps, between a man who films his ideas and one who films his experience.

Tad Gallagher, Film Comment, September-October 1975


Cast and Credits

Commento: John Ford, Dudley Nichols, James Kevin MacGuinnes; F.: John Ford, Jack MacKenzie, Gregg Toland, Kenneth M. Pier; M.: John Ford, Robert Parrish; Mu.: Alfred Newman; Voci: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, Donald Crisp, Irving Pichel; Prod.: U.S. Navy 35mm. L.: 490 m. D.: 18’.



Film Notes

“Otto is a dear man, sort of a Jewish Nazi, but I love him”. Joan Crawford’s quip about her director may have raised eyebrows among Jews and Nazis alike, but it wasn’t the reason why the Legion of Decency put up a fight against Daisy Kenyon or why critical interest and box-office results were so low for this noir-tinged ménage a trois. The film may have simply been too adult for its historical moment. Today it is hardly better-known, but several critics have come to view it as one of Preminger’s most complex and morally ambiguous works. Its sympathies and criticisms are evenly distributed – and constantly shifting – between the three protagonists: Daisy (Crawford), a single and self-assured fashion designer; Dan (Dana Andrews), a successful lawyer who cheats on his wife (and whose profession allows Hollywood to highlight the US wartime concentration camps for Japanese-American citizens for the first time); and Peter (Fonda), an unstable, depressed war veteran and widower who is haunted by nightmares. Fonda can wear a new mask here, writes Devin McKinney, “while generating enough torment and sexiness to suggest that the mask is not something he was handed, but a face he brought with him”. Chris Fujiwara, in his study of Preminger, rightly celebrates the “threeway-showdowns” in Daisy Kenyon and the way it “questions what kind of film it is. ‘All right, have your tragedy, have your melodrama’ , Daisy tells Peter, criticising his attempt to articulate the sense of acute loss and unreality he experienced after his wife’s death and accusing him of ‘trying to sound like a case history’”. Preminger “rejects categories and genres” in order “to create space, to open the film and the characters to a wider world. […] The film is about a search for lucidity”.

Alexander Howarth

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo (1945) di Elizabeth Janeway. Scen.: David Hertz. F.: Leon Shamroy. M.: Louis Loeffler. Scgf.: Lyle Wheeler, George Davis. Mus.: David Raksin. Int.: Joan Crawford (Daisy Kenyon), Henry Fonda (Peter Lapham), Dana Andrews (Dan O’Mara), Ruth Warrick (Lucile O’Mara), Martha Stewart (Mary Angelus), Peggy Ann Garner (Rosamund O’Mara), Connie Marshall (Marie O’Mara), Nicholas Joy (Coverly). Prod.: Otto Preminger per 20th Century-Fox Film Corp. 35mm. D.: 99’. Bn.