Melodrama is a matter of narrative and performance style, of course, but, particularly in silent cinema, the core of melodrama is mise-en-scene.
The following are screen captures from two related sequences in John Ford’s Four Men and a Prayer, a remarkable (and remarkably strange) film about imperialism, globalization, and the military industrial complex that predates America’s involvement in World War II by three years.
Jun 14, 2008
Along with simply being a tremendous pleasure to watch, The Iron Horse offers a fascinating peek into the evolution of the Hollywood film style. By 1924 — and with four dozen films under his belt — Ford already understood the mechanics of what would eventually be called standard continuity editing, and so, for me, the most interesting moments in the early films are when something breaks, as in the following sequence.