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Iron Horse [Region 2]

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005CB2R8A

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Is it possible for a ninety-one year old film to provide five star entertainment? If it was made by John Ford, Absolutely! This is one of the best films I have seen in ages. The story of the building of the first transcontinental railroad is an epic one, and is wonderfully related in this film. The acting is good, the intertitles are highly amusing, and the direction is spot-on. The photography is excellent and the restoration makes this look like a new film. The film also contains a great deal of action. Unlike a lot of silent films, the acting does not seem highly melodramatic, but quite natural. Watching this film gives a good indication of where Ford's career was headed. An excellent film, not to be missed. Five stars.
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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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The Iron Horse was one of those movies I had often read about but never seen until I discovered Amazon and the wealth of classic films that are available.
The Iron Horse is, in many ways a typical John Ford movie even if early in his long career. And by that I mean that there are frequent "breaks" to indulge in sentimentality and slapstick 'Irish' humour...breaks that detract from the real story and action.
For the rest, it is brilliant film-making. The acting is, for the time,.quite naturalistic and the railroad building has an almost documentary quality about it. And why not, considering how recent those events were to the making of the film.
Ford is critical of the robber-barons who manipulated the government and landowners in their grasping for profits.
The opening sequence is a thing of great beauty and sets up later events with great style.
The restoration is peerless and the newly recorded sound track is excellent but surely they could have used a more traditional tune when the navvies are singing "Drill Ye Tarrier, Drill"?
And why not go that bit further when restoring silent movies and "step-print" them so they run at 24/25 frames per second instead of silent speed?
I can't help wondering how many times C. B. DeMille watched the Indian attack on the train before he "borrowed " many elements from it to use in "Union Pacific"?
Overall I am very happy to have this in my collection and I know I will enjoy it again and again.
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