Thursday, September 6, 2012

Martin Maher and 'The Long Gray Line'

Tyrone Power is one of those classic actors that I've only begun to appreciate in the last year or so. I must have had rocks in my head, but there was actually a time that I didn't like him and didn't think that he was much to look at. Yikes! What high standards I had. Crazy, that is --- until last year.

We saw Son of Fury and The Prince of Foxes for the first time, and I liked those. We'd always enjoyed Thin Ice (with Sonja Henie), but I don't particularly love The Mark of Zorro. Then, for our birthday this year, Gramma Gail gave us a set of ten Tyrone Power movies on DVD. This included Luck of the Irish (now one of our top-favorite films ever), I'll Never Forget You, This Above All, Love is News and so on.

I've been convinced that I liked him since all of these. Well, Jerry just sent us the 1955 film The Long Gray Line. This is a widescreen color film directed by John Ford. It stars Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara, with supporting actors that included Ward Bond, Harry Carey, Jr. Patrick Wayne and Donald Crisp. I really LOVED it! I mean REALLY loved it. Wow!

This is a military type of Goodbye, Mr. Chips --- sort of. It's the story of a real man, Martin "Marty" Maher (pronounced "mar"), an Irish immigrant who ended up working at West Point for fifty years. He came as a waiter, ended up joining the Army and serving as swimming instructor and then serving more years as a civil service worker. He worked at the Academy from 1896 to 1946, and knew men like John J. Pershing, Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower (played expertly by Harry Carey, Jr.)!

This is a fabulous film, and I can't recommend it enough. I would rate it 15 out of 10 stars. Just a nice movie. Tyrone Power couldn't be better, and there isn't a member of the cast that you'd replace. I liked "Red, Sr." and "Red, Jr." Not sure who the actors were, but they were really great. You'll have nice feelings about West Point forever --- after watching this film. It was actually filmed at West Point, and the real Martin Maher was there to see it.

This is the nicest use of widescreen and color film that we've ever watched. It's a true work of art, and the ending is really sweet. All of these assorted photos show the company filming at West Point. The two above actually show the real Marty Maher during filming! More later.

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