Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Love this TV Commericial

Gettysburg Address in Movies

"Mr Smith Goes to Washington" 1939 at Lincoln Memorial

"Ruggles of Red Gap" 1935

"Charles Laughton. His soup-to-nuts recitation of the celebrated speech is the unexpected highlight of Ruggles of Red Gap, a 1935 screwball Western that time has relegated to the semi-shadows. It’s a beautifully understated performance that manages to illuminate the meaning of each and every word. (It also makes me more forgiving of the film’s early minutes, when Laughton’s portrayal of a very proper English butler succumbs to a silver-candelabra-up-the-heiner level of broadness.)
Just as impressive is director Leo McCarey‘s decision to set the scene atop a giddy vaudeville routine featuring a saloon full of clueless cowboys and barkeeps. It’s a ton of fun."

And at the new Steven Spielberg Movie " Lincoln" 2012 at a theater near your.

In each case it is not done by an actor portraying Lincoln but by someone deeply influenced by it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Medfords "Civil War" lunch

The picture is from the Mail Tribune newspaper but the Duck is mine!
From Mail Tribune news story:
Some 300 fans — more Ducks than Beavers — wore the colors of either Oregon or Oregon State, sang their respective fight songs and either spoke confidently or listened to speakers who did likewise during a festive ceremony at Rogue Valley Country Club.

gearing up for the 116th meeting of the two schools — who this season have only three losses between them — at noon Saturday at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.

Link to read more:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Civil War" Week: Oregon vs Oregon State

Let's get this week off to a start:

Steven Spielberg & John Ford

I saw Lincoln ( 2012) yesterday and it is one of the finest movies ever made about  the person in American History I admire this most. It was long overdue that a new movie be make on Abraham Lincoln the greatest of American Presidents. Thank you Steven Spielberg! Your are continuing the work of Director John Ford in bringing history to the cinema in a real and meaningful way. I won't give my review of Lincoln other than I will get it on Blu-ray.  Ir brought to life a portion of the life of Abraham Lincoln and should get Best Picture, Best Director for Spielberg,  Best Actor for Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln, Best Actress for Sally Field, as Mary Lincoln, Best Supporting Actor, for David Strathairn as William Seward, and Best Cinematography for Janusz Kaminski, plus Academy Awards for others who contributed to this masterpiece.

This film joins a body of work of Spielberg that taken as a whole covers the sweep of history. Such films as:

Empire of the Sun (1978) World War II in Asia

Schindler's List (1993) World War II

Armistad (1997) 1839 America and Slavery

Saving Private Ryan (1998) D-Day and World War II

Band of Brother (2001) World War II in Europe. Producer

Into the West (2005) The American West

Flags of Our Fathers (2006) World War II in the Pacific. Producer

The Pacific (2010) World War II. Producer

War Horse (2011) World War I

Lincoln (2012) American Civil War & ending slavery

Director John Ford did the same thing a generation before with such films as:

The Iron Horse (1924) Building the transcontinental rail road

Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)  post Lincoln assassination

Mary of Scotland (1936)

Stagecoach (1939) the American West

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) American Revolutionary War

The Grapes of Wrath (1940) The American Depression

How Green Was My Valley (1941) turn of the twentieth century in the South Wales coalfield

World War II Documentaries ( December 7th , Battle of Midway, & Torpedo Squadron"

They Were Expendable (1942) American PT Boats in the defense of the Philippines in World War II

My Darling Clementine (1946) The gunfight at the OK Corral

Fort Apache (1948) The U.S. Cavalry  in the American West

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) the U.S. Cavalry in the American West

Rio Grande (1949) the last of the U.S. Cavalry Trilogy.

The Quiet Man (1952) Ireland

The Long Gray Line (1955) West Point

The Searchers (1956) The American West

The Last Hurrah (1958) Boston Politics

The Horse Soldiers (1959) the American Civil War

Sergeant Rutledge (1960) Race relations in the American West post Civil War

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) the ending of the American West

How the West Was Won (1962) the battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War

Cheyenne Autumn (1964) The treatment of American Indians in the West.

When Spielberg was a teenager he met Director John Ford and here is a video of Spielberg talking about it:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Movie:“Young Mr. Lincoln” (1939)

Henry Fonda at a young Abraham Lincoln
Steven Spielberg's new movie "Lincoln" is opening this week. Therefore, it's a good time to look back on Director John Ford's "Young Mr. Lincoln" from 1939. Richard Brody of the New Yorker writes:

Abraham Lincoln loomed large in the imagination of the director John Ford, as seen in the 1939 drama “Young Mr. Lincoln” (which I discuss in this clip), an ingeniously tight-focussed yet historically resonant view of the future President’s rise to prominence.In his biography of Ford, Joseph McBride runs through the remarkable number of references to Lincoln throughout Ford’s filmography and quotes Peter Bogdanovich about the elderly Ford speaking of Lincoln with “such an extraordinary sense of intimacy in his tone… that somehow it was no longer a director speaking of a great President, but a man talking about a friend.”....

Perhaps no filmmaker bore the burden of historical consciousness as deeply, as seriously, and as humanly as Ford did; his “friendship” with Lincoln had a firm artistic basis.

Click on the link for a nice video about the movie:

Read more:

John Ford set the standard.

Review of the new "Lincoln" movie:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918 the guns fell silent along the Western Front and an armistice was signed ending World War I. "The war to end all wars." November 11th thus became a holiday known as Armistice Day. After World War II the name was changed to Veterans Day. In Medford, in a park near the National Guard Armory, there are trees planted for each boy from Jackson County who died in World War I. There are a lot of trees. My grandfather Lewis Holton and my great Uncle Herman Bellach (Like a grandfather to me) both served under "Black Jack" Pershing in in France in World War I. I am told my grandfather came home a chanced man after the war. Like  all the veteran's of that war they are now gone.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow 
Between the crosses row on row, 
That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 
We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields. 

George M. Cohan wrote the song "Over There" just as the United States entered World War I and it became the anthem for the American soldiers going to France to fight the German "Hun" 

Johnnie, get your gun,
Get your gun, get your gun,
Take it on the run,
On the run, on the run.
Hear them calling, you and me,
Every son of liberty.
Hurry right away,
No delay, go today,
Make your daddy glad
To have had such a lad.
Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
To be proud her boy's in line. 
(chorus sung twice)

Johnnie, get your gun,
Get your gun, get your gun,
Johnnie show the Hun
Who's a son of a gun.
Hoist the flag and let her fly,
Yankee Doodle do or die.
Pack your little kit,
Show your grit, do your bit.
Yankee to the ranks,
From the towns and the tanks.
Make your mother proud of you,
And the old Red, White and Blue. 
(chorus sung twice)

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there -
That the Yanks are coming,
The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming
So prepare, say a pray'r,
Send the word, send the word to beware.
We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back till it's over
Over there

I can still hear Uncle Herm singing this song which was a favorite of American Soldiers in France during World War I

Mademoiselle from Armentières
Par ley voo,
Mademoiselle from Armentières
Par ley voo,
Mademoiselle from Armentières,
She hasn't been kissed for forty years,
Hinky, Dinky Par ley voo.

After he died I inherited from Uncle Herm a Time/Life history book on World War I. On some of the battle maps are small "X"'s put there by Uncle Herm showing were he was during the war.

Thanks for your service and may future generations keep the freedom you paid so dearly for.

Friday, November 09, 2012

3 Day Weekend Reading

"Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965"
Spanning the years of 1940-1965, THE LAST LION picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister-when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill conjured up by William Manchester and Paul Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action. THE LAST LION brilliantly recounts how Churchill organized his nation's military response and defense; compelled FDR into supporting America's beleaguered cousins, and personified the "never surrender" ethos that helped the Allies win the war, while at the same time adapting himself and his country to the inevitable shift of world power from the British Empire to the United States.

More than twenty years in the making, THE LAST LION presents a revelatory and unparalleled portrait of this brilliant, flawed, and dynamic leader. This is popular history at its most stirring    .

Got my copy at Costco last night.  I have the first  two volumes in the series but after Manchester died was afraid the final years in Churchill's live would not be completed; but, Paul Reid relying on Manchester's research completed the book and it is now out in hardback.  When the present is terrible it is comforting to retreat for a few days to the past when there were heroic leaders who stood up to evil. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

John Wayne's Movie: "the Quiet Man"(1952) to Blu ray

You take your good news where you find it!

The good news is director John Ford's tribute to his ancestral home of Ireland is coming to Blue Ray on January 22, 2013.

This is how  describes it:

Newly re-mastered in HD from a 4K SCAN of the ORIGINAL NEGATIVE. John Ford's The Quiet Man celebrates one of Hollywood's most romantic and enduring epics. The first American feature to be filmed in Ireland's picturesque countryside. Ford richly imbued this masterpiece with his love of Ireland and its people. Sean Thornton (John Wayne) in an American boxer who swears off fighting after he accidentally kills an opponent in the ring. Returning to the Irish town of his youth, he purchases the home of his birth and finds happiness when he falls in love with the fiery Mary Kate (Maureen O'Hara). But her insistence that Sean conduct his courtship in a proper Irish manner with matchmaker Barry Fitzgerald along for the ride as "chaperone" is but one obstacle to their future happiness: the other is her brother (Victor McLaglen), who spitefully refuses to give his consent to their marriage, or to honor the tradition of paying a dowry to the husband. Sean could care less about dowries, he would've punched out the bullying McLaglen long ago if he hadn't sworn off fighting. But when Mary Kate accuses him of being a coward and walks out on him, Sean is finally ready to take matters into his own hands, the resulting fistfight erupts into the longest brawl ever filmed, followed by one of the most memorable reconciliations in movie history! The Quiet Man won a total of two Academy Awardsr including Best Director (Ford) and Best Cinematography and received five more nomination including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (McLaglen).
To pre-order go here:

I own it on regular DVD and the picture is very bad. It's almost better on my purchased VHS tape. However, in addition to issuing  it out on Blu ray, it has been restored . The link below outlines the process:

Some quotes:
Although original elements of The Quiet Man were restored by UCLA in the 1980s, the resulting DVD transfers have been less than stellar,
 a 3-strip Technicolor film like The Quiet Man needs special care. We’ve done a 4K scan off the original negative from the studio’s archives but that’s just the beginning. There’s a very complicated re- mastering process that needs to be done for a Technicolor film like this and we want to get it right.
I first saw this movie as a kid in the early 1950 in the back seat of my folks car at a drive-in. I can still hear my dad's laugh at the beginning of the big fight scene  between The Duke and Victor McLaglen.

Monica Crowley: "We must fight for this beloved country"

I have read a lot of "Monday morning quarterbacking" this Wednesday after the election by Conservatives and Republicans but Monica Crowley struck a cord with me when she writes:

There will be a lot of argument made about why Mitt Romney (and so many other Republicans) lost last night.........

All background noise and not particularly relevant right now.

A very slight majority---but a majority---of the American people KNOWINGLY chose four more years (at least) of high unemployment, anemic economic growth, break-the-bank spending, unsustainable and record-breaking deficits and debt, unpopular and bankrupting socialized medicine, and record numbers of people on food stamps and living in poverty. They KNOWINGLY chose four more years....of this......

It may very well be that it's going to take a full-blown crisis to wake us from our torpor. We may have to be broken before we can begin to put ourselves back together again. After all, the slight majority who voted for Obama and the status quo also rejected the responsible plans of Romney and Paul Ryan to deal with the imminent crises now, before they blow up and consume us.

But the majority has chosen to close its eyes and float along for now. But at some point, the laws of economics will kick in and the reckoning will come. So we may have to experience a Western European-style crisis--complete with catastrophic economic collapse and social upheaval--before we can start to fix it.

It's an ugly reality, but it may very well be the case.

And that's why we must never give up. We must never give in. We must never surrender. We must fight for this beloved country. It may be slipping beneath the waves, but it can still be rescued.

I know it's tough to be a Happy Warrior today. We're not feeling very happy, and we're exhausted from the fight. But take a deep breath and realize two things: America CAN be saved, and she is WORTH SAVING.

It's going to require even more hard work and more focus and more energy. But we don't just give up on America. We fight for her. And today (or maybe tomorrow--even God needed a day of rest), we begin the fight anew.

Read more:

Or as John Dryden, (1631-1700) wrote:

Fight on, my merry men all,

I'm a little wounded, but I am not slain;

I will lay me down for to bleed a while,
Then I'll rise and fight with you again

Thanks to Mitt and the Rest of the Romney Family

I want to give a sincere thank you to Mitt Romney and the entire Romney family for their selfless effort in the very long campaign for President.  Considering your wife’s health issues, you and your family made the good fight at great sacrifice.  While you were never as Conservative as I am, I believed and believe, you were the correct choice at this time in American history. The United States needs a practical, competent President to fix the many problems we face. There will be many who second guess you but no one can question your integrity and effort.  You are a good and decent man. I will always remember you for your choice of Paul Ryan for Vice President and your debate performances.  Go home with your head held high.  History will be kind to you. You leave the stage  with your integrity and honor  and in the end that is all we have !  I am proud to have stood with you! You are a patriot.

Monday, November 05, 2012


"The big battle for freedom and the future begins at first light"



Friday, November 02, 2012

Romney: "Vote for Love of Country"

 "Today, Obama asked his supporters to vote for revenge; Today I ask you to vote for love of country" 

Barone: Going out on a limb: Romney beats Obama, handily

In the "nuts and bolts" of politics and voting  projection there is no one I respect more than Michael Barone the author of the highly respected Almanac of American Politics.  If I were to pick one person to spend election night with it would be Michael Barone. Here is a portion of his column today:

Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223.(electoral votes) That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.

Our Better Angels

Today in Wisconsin, Romney:
"Americans Don't Settle, We Aspire."

Obama today: "Voting is the best revenge"

Romney in Wisconsin: "Walk With Me"

Mitt Romney:

“The door to a brighter future is there, open, waiting for us. I need your vote, I need your help. Walk with me, walk together. Let us start anew.”


You know that if the President is re-elected, he will still be unable to work with the people in Congress. He has ignored them, attacked them, blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again, and shutdown and default will be threatened, chilling the economy. The President was right when he said he can’t change Washington from the inside. In this case, you can take him at his word.

When I am elected, I will work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress. I will meet regularly with their leaders. I will endeavor to find those good men and women on both sides of the aisle who care more about the country than about the politics. Together, we will put the nation on track to a balanced budget, to reform our tax code, and to finally reaffirm our commitment to financial responsibility.

You know that if the President is re-elected, he will continue his war on coal and oil and natural gas. He will send billions more dollars to his favorite solar and wind companies. And all of this will guarantee higher energy prices at the pump and fewer jobs. Today, gas costs twice what it did when President Obama was elected.

When I am elected, we will change course on energy. I know just how much energy means to middle-class families. We can help hold down prices at the pump and grow new energy jobs and manufacturing jobs. . ..

You know that if the President is re-elected, he will say every good thing he can about education, but in the final analysis, he will do what his largest campaign supporters — the public-sector unions — insist upon. And your kids will have the same schools with the same results.

When I am president, I will be a voice of the children and their parents. There is no union for the PTA. I will give parents the information they need to know if their school is failing, and the choice they need to pick the school where their child can succeed.......


 People across the country are responding to our five-part plan to create jobs.

Part one is about taking full advantage of our energy resources. On Day One, I will act to increase the number of leases and permits to drill on federal lands. I will act to speed the approval of the Keystone pipeline from Canada. I will re-visit coal regulations that were designed by the administration to strangle the industry. On Day One, we will be closer to energy independence.

Second, I will move to boost trade, especially with Latin America. I will ask Congress for Trade Promotion Authority, a power every president has used or requested since it was first created in 1974, with the exception of President Obama. And I will finally designate China as a currency manipulator. It is time for trade that works for America.

Third, I will send to Congress the Retraining Reform Act, to make sure that every worker who feels left behind in this economy can get the skills and the chance for a good-paying job.

Fourth, I will move to tackle out-of-control spending. I will send Congress the first of several fundamental reforms called the Down Payment on Fiscal Sanity Act, to immediately cut — not just slow the rate of growth — but cut non-security discretionary spending by 5%. I’m not just going to take office on January 20th — I’m going to take responsibility for the office as well.

And fifth, I will act to boost small business, and all business. I will issue executive orders aimed straight at the problems that are holding this economy back.

The first will grant state waivers from Obamacare, to begin its repeal.

The second will launch a sweeping review of all Obama-era regulations with an eye to eliminating or repairing those that are killing jobs and small businesses.