The Iron Horse (1924) Director: John Ford
The Iron Horse is an entertaining picture with amazing shots. It captures many of the themes of classic western films and it is a good film worth seeing once for lovers of great works cinema. The quality of the film has deteriorated somewhat with time, but the cinematography is extraordinary. John Ford is a master of making motion pictures and The Iron Horse is an early example of his genius.
An early western epic, Ford’s The Iron Horse was a massive production. At two and a half hours of running time, it is an extended silent film, even though much of the film was unplanned during its production. It was filmed during a cold winter in the Nevada desert. Ford later said it was his favorite of his films.
The film tells a glamorized version of the building of the transcontinental railroad, through the confrontation of cultures: the Italians, the Irish, the Chinese laborers, American Indians. The star, George O’Brien, is best known for his lead role in F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Like a D.W. Griffith epic, the film romanticizes seedier elements of the American past, and it portrays President Lincoln as a god among men.