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Iron Horse [Region 2]

15 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Number of discs: 2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005CB2R8A

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Chip Kaufmann on October 26, 2007
Format: DVD
Unless you are a silent film enthusiast or an aficionado of Westerns then you are probably unfamiliar with THE IRON HORSE although the phrase describing locomotives is well known. It was made in 1924 by the Fox Film Corporation hoping to cash in on the success of Paramount's THE COVERED WAGON from the year before. Like that film, THE IRON HORSE was conceived on a grand scale using as its subject the building of the first American transcontinental railroad. It was the movie that put John Ford on the map as a filmmaker to be reckoned with where he would remain for the next 40 years.

But for years no decent print of the film was available for viewing. All early Fox Films original negatives were destroyed in a fire in 1937. This disc features both the U.S. and the International versions of the film (the U.S. is 17 minutes longer). The prints aren't perfect but are a far sight better than the old VHS version from the Killiam Collection and there is a fine new film score from Christopher Caliendo. The movie is not without its share of flaws including excessive length (the International version is more tightly edited), an uneven balance between comedy and drama, and a mixed bag of performances with Madge Bellamy being the weakest.

George O'Brien as the hero and Fred Kohler as the principal villian still hold up well today and while the storyline is overly familiar to us now, it features many things that would later become cliches'. Incidentally Kohler really had only two fingers on the one hand having lost the others in a mining accident before he became an actor. If you are at all interested in silent films or Westerns or director John Ford then THE IRON HORSE is a must have as are all the films in the JOHN FORD'S SILENT EPICS box set. The others are JUST PALS, THREE BAD MEN, FOUR SONS, and HANGMAN'S HOUSE. Thank you Fox for doing silent film fans a huge favor.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. D. Deuss on January 12, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"The Iron Horse" (Fox, 1924) is the grandfather of the Epic Western, and this film made John Ford's career. What's interesting, I think, is that what would later be cliches in this film actually became cliches later in many Western films, but they were used here first.

The print quality is superb and, more importantly, is run at the proper speed. The score is likewise very good, and the film as a whole is excellent. There are two versions included on this DVD: the US version, and the international version, which is a little longer -- why, I don't know.

This DVD is a must-have for any serious (or non-serious, take your pick) collector. While it's a part of the "Ford at Fox" boxed set, it is also (like a few others in this set) available as a single. Highly recommended!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Randy Keehn VINE VOICE on March 25, 2009
Format: DVD
I taped this John Ford film some months ago and was saving it for a rainy day. Given that Winter lasts a long time in North Dakota, I should have just waited for a snowy day. "The Iron Horse" is a very good movie and I was easily drawn into the characters, the action, and the plot. Come to think of it, characters, action and plot are the key elements of just about every John Ford film I've seen. The scope of the movie stretches across most of the country as well as roughly 20 years in the latter half of the 19th Century. It literally has a cast of thousands (although the herd of "10,000 cattle" seemed to be more like a couple of hundred if you count the calves as well). It has love interest, cowboys and Indians, murder and mayhem, great scenery, historical recreations, good guys and bad guys, etc etc etc. What it doesn't have is any notable big names in the cast. George O'Brien is the only name I could acknowledge and it must have been a lot later that I saw him in other movies because I barely recognized him in "The Iron Horse".

This film moves along at a pretty good clip and it's aided by an earlier version of the Victor Mclaglen/Ward Bond loveable misfits that permeated Ford's later films. There always seems to be several subplots going on simultaneously which helps maintain the interest. All in all "The Iron Horse" was a better movie than I thought it would be.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sanford Hoffman on February 8, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Firstly, considering this is a silent film, the acting was fantastic. The viewer can feel (yes feel, not hear) the pain, joy and everything else about the characters and know what they are really saying. I don't think that the color today used for films can come anywhere near the B&W that John Ford used. You get a real thrill from the action as you open your heart to the story. Don't even get me started on the lighting John Ford used. All the computers and other digital equipment today can never match the lighting in this film.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J on January 26, 2010
Format: DVD
Heavily studded with images of iconic American symbolism, the ending of John Ford's lengthy Western epic Iron Horse (1924) provides yet another opportunity to reprise the grander themes that this film aspires to emulate. There is a moment towards the end of the film when the camera pauses briefly on the image of a child, immediately after (as the film "narrates") Leland Stanford, president of Central Pacific and Thomas Durant, president of Union Pacific drive the final golden spike into the ground "forever uniting the East and West."Audiences are to understand the symbolism of the scene: the union of the East with the new frontier land of the West signifies as much as a physical linkage between two geographically distant communities of the East and West as, in the case of the child, a potent intergenerational symbol (where the old world is faced up with modernity with all its technological gadgetry of steam locomotives, telegraphs). The film departs, therefore, with an overtly optimistic image for the future; the festive communal image of the multi-ethnic populace gathered to celebrate the conclusion of the building of the first transcontinental railroad functions also as a larger-than-life symbol for an idealized birth of a new nation.
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