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Philippe De Lacy,
Before Herr John Ford Went To The American West, He Was In London's West end
At this point, those hardy souls who are actually interested in this Herr Graf's silent rants know pretty well what their author is like, especially in terms of his eccentricities (characteristic of course of aristocrats in general; oddities are always much appreciated in the upper classes).
After having watching Herr John Ford's "Upstream" (1927) the term eccentric has taken on a more powerful meaning in terms of the film career of the Amerikan director, especially in his talkie phase. Gott sei Dank! Herr Ford's silent career had their share of them too before he finally found his way and place in film history.
Fortunately and by a great whim of destiny, "Upstream" was miraculously found in the opposite ends of the Earth, namely New Zealand, in 2009, ( this reminds this Herr Graf to order the servants to clean up the cellar wherein there are a lot of old and dusty nitrates stored in there since the last century ) giving in this way the chance for the new generations to watch this lost film. This Herr Graf also wants to give special thanks to the French public television station "France 3" for broadcasting the film during this summertime.
"Upstream" could be considered as one of the least "Fordian" films of its director; you should know that before Herr John Ford went to the American West, he was in London's West end. There you cannot find a trace of film testosterone, that is to say, the wild and epic far west, Irishmen punching each other or Herr John Wayne. On the contrary, "Upstream" is basically humorous vaudeville ( yes, even Herr Ford had a similar sense of humour during old silent days ), a satire about artists' hardships, their dreams, tricks, pursuit of fame and especially their struggle to make a living.
Set in a special boarding house, the landlady who owns the pace has to deal with a bunch of peculiar artists: a knife-thrower, a sister act, a medicine show man, a couple of tap dancers, a flapper, an old but experienced actor and finally Herr Eric Brashingham, the last, and least, of a famous theatrical family. He is truly a terrible actor but one day he will have the chance of his life to become a famous film star in London. This turns him into both a diva and a true imbecile.
As this Her Graf mentioned before, the film is a funny and even bittersweet comedy, a satirical look at the theatre world and the peculiar gallery of artists that are part of it, with particular emphasis on Herr Earle Foxe as Brashingham, the Shakespearian actor par excellence, a funny character type who is the exact opposite of the Fordian hero, the exception which proves the rule.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must recite Shakespeare in German.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com
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