Thursday, August 27, 2020

Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews in "The Ox-Bow Incident"

The Ox-Box Incident (1943) is an American western film directed by Wiliam A. Wellman, starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, and an extraordinary supporting cast that includes Anthony Quinn, Harry Morgan, Mary Beth Hughes, and Jane Darwell. The film is based on the novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark published in 1940.

Cowboys Art Croft (Harry Morgan) and Gil Carter (Henry Fonda) ride into Bridger's Wells, Nevada in 1885. Immediately the two are suspected of being cattle rustlers. While at Darby’s Saloon a man comes in and announces that rancher Larry Kinkaid has been murdered.

Almost immediately, a posse if formed lead by Major Tetley (Frank Conroy) and his son Gerald (William Eythe). Art and Gil, originally resistant to joining the posse do so in order to deflect suspicion from themselves.

The posse comes across Donald Martin (Dana Andrews); a Mexican, Juan Martínez (Anthony Quinn); and an old man, Alva Hardwicke (Francis Ford). Martin is accused of killing Kinkaid and stealing his cattle by the posse. Martin claims that he purchased the cattle from Kinkaid but no one believes him. What will the posse do? Will Martin, Martinez, and Hardwicke receive justice at the hands of the posse?

Victor Killian, Henry Fonda, and Harry Morgan

William A. Wellman (1896 – 1975) was an American film director. He started his directorial career in silent films. Wellman directed Wings (1927) which was the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 1st Academy Awards ceremony. Wellman directed two classic films released in 1937: Nothing Sacred and A Star is Born. Other important films directed by Wellman include Beau Geste (1939), Roxie Hart (1942), The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), Yellow Sky (1948), Battleground (1949), and The High and the Mighty (1954).

Henry Fonda (1905 –1982) was an American stage and film actor. Fonda came to Hollywood in 1935 and became a star overnight. Early starring roles include Jezebel (1938), Jesse James (1939), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), and The Grapes of Wrath (1940) for which he received his first Best Actor nomination for playing Tom Joad. Fonda played opposite Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1942), My Darling Clementine (1946), and Mister Roberts (1955). In 1981 he finally won the Best Actor Oscar for his role as Norman Thayer Jr. in On Golden Pond.

Dana Andrews (center)

Dana Andrews (1909 – 1992) was an American stage and film actor. During the 1940s, Andrews was a major star and leading man starring in Laura (1944), State Fair (1945), A Walk in the Sun (1945), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Canyon Passage (1946), Boomerang! (1947), and Daisy Kenyon (1947) co-starring Joan Crawford and Henry Fonda. During the 1950s, film roles were harder to come by, but he had success in Elephant Walk (1954) co-starring Elizabeth Taylor and Peter Finch, While the City Sleeps (1956), and Curse of the Demon (1957). In 1958 he replaced Henry Fonda on Broadway in Two for the Seesaw.

The Ox-Bow Incident Trivia 

  • Henry Fonda considered this, along with The Grapes of Wrath as his two best films. 
  • Completed in 1942, the film wasn’t released until 1943. 
  • Clint Eastwood told the American Film Institute (AFI) that this was his favorite film. 
  • Henry Fonda’s role was originally offered to Gary Cooper. 
  • The film was a box office failure, but it was still nominated for Best Picture. 
  • The opening scene in the saloon is almost identical to the one in Yellow Sky, also directed by William A. Wellman.
  • Francis Ford who plays the old man Hardwicke was director John Ford’s older brother.

To watch to the movie on YouTube, click the link below. Be sure to use this link because there are other versions on this channel that are not of the same quality.

After you’ve watched the movie, join us for a discussion on Zoom September 1, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. Zoom invitation and the link are below.

Stephen Reginald is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Discussion of "The Ox-Bow Incident"
Time: Sep 1, 2020, 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 785 0616 6194
Passcode: 9wQ0G8

Questions for discussion:
1. Do you think the posse would have been organized without the Major’s leadership?
2. Why do you think Art and Gil join the posse? Is it out of fear or excitement?
3. What about the other men and “Ma?”
4. What did you think of Donald Martin’s (Dana Andrews) character? The old man Hardwicke (Ford), and Martinez (Anthony Quinn).
5. Arthur Davies (Harry Davenport) seemed to be sympathetic to Martin and his companions. What do you think his motivation was?
6. The way Henry Fonda is photographed reading Martin’s letter is quite unusual. Did you think it was effective? Would you have filmed it that way?

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