Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day if I ran FXM

Or, more accurately, if FXM had access to all of the movies made at the studio. My understanding is that they don't necessarily have the rights to all of them, and besides, it's probably financially prohibitive to run anything they want at any time

First up would be the Revolutionary War. The best Fox film for that would have to be Drums Along the Mohawk, which looks at the Revolutionary War as it affected the settlers in central and western New York, an area that was relatively sparsely populated at the time. Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert play the lead couple, while Edna May Oliver earned her one Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Moving ahead to the War of 1812, I'm not certain if Fox made any movies about the war. Charlton Heston played Andrew Jackson in The President's Lady, but I can't recall offhand whether there's any mention of the War of 1812 in that one. Heston would go on to play Andrew Jackson again in The Buccaneer, and that one definitely deals with the Battle of New Orleans, but that movie was made over at Paramount. A little more on the War of 1812 at the end of this post.

If we go to the Civil War, there are several movies to choose from. FXM Retro is running 13 Fighting Men, as I mentioned yesterday. But that one is just a B movie. There are a couple of other movies from that era. FXM has been running The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come as well, but unfortunately they've been running a panned-and-scanned print. The Civil War as it was in Missouri is part of the focus of Young Jesse James, since Jesse served in Quantrill's Raiders as an adolescent. The war in Missouri and how it radicalized the locals is also mentioned a bit in Belle Starr.

I can't think of anything for the Spanish-American War, so let's jump to World War I. Alexander Knox as Wilson has a memorable, if retch-inducing, scene addressing a group of white soldiers going off to fight the war, telling them about all the different white races coming together. Perhaps more interesting would be Seventh Heaven, or either version of What Price Glory?, a movie I've always had difficulty getting into.

World War II is of course the war with a lot of movies made about it, since Hollywood threw itself headlong into the war effort, just as the rest of America did. TCM got the rights to the excellent Twelve O'Clock High, so I don't know that FXM could have aired it even if they wanted to. In Memorial Days past, when there was still a Fox Movie Channel, they'd run Four Jills in a Jeep, a movie that does deserve more attention. Even if it's not great, it looks at the USO folks who actually went over to Europe. FXM could also run A Bell for Adano or The Longest Day, or if you want to look at the war in the Pacific, something like Guadalcanal Diary.

Going back to the War of 1812, I couldn't find anything from Fox, but the Library of Congress does have this public domain short from 1905:

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