Watching 1939: Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film: 
Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

Release date: 
Nov. 2, 1939

Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine, Jessie Ralph, Arthur Shields, Ward Bond, Russell Simpson, Francis Ford, Kay Linaker, Chief John Big Tree, Eddie Collins, Dorris Bowdon, Beulah Hall Jones, Charles Tannen

20th Century Fox

John Ford

Set in 1776, wealthy, Albany, NY, woman Lana (Colbert) marries frontiersman Gilbert Martin (Fonda). The two set out to Gil’s farm in Deerfield in the Mohawk Valley of central New York. Lana has a difficult time adjusting to frontier life, but soon the settle into farm life. However, the American Revolution disrupts their lives.

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His father called him Dobe: Remembering Harry Carey, Jr.

The heavens gained several stars this year as classic film stars passed away in 2012.

Since Comet Over Hollywood did not give several of them the full attention they deserved, the first month of 2013 will be dedicated to some of the notable celebrities who left us. This is the last of Comet’s 2012 rememberances.

Harry Carey, Jr.

Harry Carey, Jr.

He could be seen frequently along side John Wayne, and his father nicknamed him Dobe for his red hair that resembled adobe soil.

Along with actors Paul Fix, Ward Bond and Mildred Natwick, Harry Carey, Jr. was a staple in John Ford westerns.

Following in the footsteps of his character actor father, Harry Carey, Carey Jr. usually seemed to play a baby faced innocent in westerns.

Coming from the acting family, Carey, Jr. appeared with his father in “Red River” and with his mother, Olive Carey in “The Searchers” and “Two Rode Together.

Three of his first movies starred John Wayne: “Red River” (1948), “3 Godfathers” (1949) and “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949).

But Carey, Jr. wasn’t just a character actor in John Ford’s films but also was close friends with Ford and John Wayne.

“I loved Duke and he loved me,” Carey said in an interview with in 2009 for the book Duke, We’re Glad We Knew You. “The thing is, I don’t think he ever forgave me for being the son of Harry Carey. Harry Carey was his absolute hero.”

 John Wayne, Harry Carey Jr., Ben Johnson, John Agar and George O'Brien on the set of "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon".

John Wayne, Harry Carey Jr., Ben Johnson, John Agar and George O’Brien on the set of “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”.

TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Legends – John Ford (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon / Three Godfathers / Cheyenne Autumn / Wagon Master)

Carey, Jr. even married within the John Ford stock company, marrying Paul Fix’s daughter, Marilyn from 1944 until his death at the age of 91 on Dec. 27, 2012.

Though Carey, Jr. usually didn’t have  a large role, he always added something special to his films, whether it be a comedic moment or an emotional scene.

Out of all of the John Ford stock players, he was one of my favorites.

“My journey has been that of a character actor,” the New York Times quoted from Carey’s autobiography. “I’ve worked with the great and the not-so-great. But mostly I’ve worked with men and women who loved their profession, and who like me, had kids to raise and houses to pay for.”

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