Two Rode Together

I woke up and thought about Sunday’s ukulele festival and whether I would be there next year.  I wished that I could organize an event that had as much good feeling around it.  I heard Gayle King on television talking about Bruce Springsteen singing “Purple Rain.”  I went out to work and thought it was going to be a normal day, but then a power outage happened.  I continued to work in the dark, and things were difficult once the power came back on two hours later.  I was glad to complete my shift because I wouldn’t have wanted to make up any hours later in the week.  I returned home and had a late lunch of a tuna wrap and macaroni and cheese.  I walked out to Dollar Tree and bought some cleaning supplies for the bathroom.  The toilet bowl looked cleaner at the end of it.  I finished reading the graphic memoir “Long Red Hair” by Meags Fitzgerald.  I thought it had some good things in it, but it wasn’t anything really special.  It was the work of a very young person who needed to dig deeper to produce results that stand out.  I sat down to watch John Ford’s “Two Rode Together.”  It was from 1961, and the stars were James Stewart, Richard Widmark, and Shirley Jones.  Ford had a low opinion of it, but I didn’t think it was too bad.  It was a low-grade remake of “The Searchers.”  Stewart is Guthrie McCabe, a U.S. Marshal who is sent out to deal with Comanches and bring back two of their prisoners.  Stewart was already past 50 and seemed old to be going out on this kind of a mission.  I thought of John Wayne in the part, but I didn’t see him running away from a woman.  Richard Widmark was a good actor, and he did remind me of that in this role.  He was too old for his role, too, as it was kind of laughable that he should be shy around a woman.  Shirley Jones was Marty Purcell, a young woman whose brother was taken away by the Comanches.  The trailer reminded us that she had just won the Oscar for “Elmer Gantry.”  This picture was certainly far away from the musicals she had done.  The relationship sure move fast in this movie, to the point where you don’t believe in them.  Andy Devine was one of those familiar character actors.  Some of the humor was rather foolish, and some of it involved drinking, which we had seen before.  The movie goes between light and humorous scenes and ugly ones.  McCabe is motivated by money, attempting to get a thousand dollars out of his actions, but somehow at the end of it all you know something is going to change him.  Marty keeps a music box with her, and it seems like a big and heavy item to be carrying around this Western landscape.  The importance of it at a crucial moment was one of the movie’s worst ideas.  It felt like the drama of Marty’s brother should have signaled the end of the movie, but it goes back to a lighter tone.  Linda Cristal played Elena de la Madriaga.  Was she a woman worth following out to California?  Linda Cristal would go on to television appearances, and she was in “Mr. Majestyk” with Charles Bronson.  She is still alive at age 82.  Leonard Maltin’s introduction described this movie as “odd.”  He compared the opening shot of the movie to “My Darling Clementine.”  It was unfortunate that Ford had to recycle an idea like that.  Maltin mentioned that some of the highlights were key scenes with John Qualen and Mae Marsh, and the long river bank scene with Stewart and Widmark.  John Qualen was in “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Casablanca,” and “The Searchers,” and he died in 1987.  Mae Marsh was in D.W. Griffith’s films, and she would live until 1968.  The reason to see this movie is that it is a John Ford movie and you want to see what he did five years after “The Searchers.”  It is something like watching “The Soft Skin” because it is a Truffaut movie.  Ford won four Best Director Oscars, for “The Informer,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “How Green Was My Valley,” and “The Quiet Man.”  After “Two Rode Together,” Ford worked on “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence,” “Donovan’s Reef,” “Cheyenne Autumn,” and “7 Women.”  His heavy drinking and smoking contributed to his declining health in his last years.  He suffered a broken hip, and he underwent treatment for cancer.  He died on August 31, 1973.  He was 79 years old.  I watched the Big Bang Theory with James Earl Jones and Carrie Fisher.  I heard that the A’s lost another game, which makes it three straight after reaching 10-7.  I thought that they would encounter trouble with their road games once they starting facing some good teams.  I saw Joan Collins on the Tonight Show episode shown on Antenna TV.  The news about Stephen Curry’s knee was that he would miss two weeks.  At least he didn’t need surgery.  The question is whether the Warriors can win the next series without him.  I would think they can win tomorrow night without him.  I heard some news about the power outage, which was blamed on an explosion at a substation in El Cerrito.  I didn’t know that the incident affected so many people.  I wonder if everything is falling apart around us here.  We have trains that get damaged and big power outages and sinkholes and houses on eroding land.  Redwood trees have been suffering, and house have rat problems.  Rents are skyrocketing, and life isn’t quite so enjoyable in this area.  Some of the people who died on April 26 include Srinivasa Ramanujan (1920), Irene Ryan (1973), Count Basie (1984), Broderick Crawford (1986), Lucille Ball (1989), Hubert Selby (2004), Phoebe Snow (2011), George Jones (2013), and Jayne Meadows (2015).  Today is a birthday for Giancarlo Esposito (58) and Carol Burnett (83).

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