Movie Quote of the Day – How The West Was Won, 1962 (dir. John Ford, Henry Hathaway & George Marshall)
Parson Alec Harvey: The laddie’s health the reason you’re heading west?
Zebulon Prescott: Partly, only partly. Mostly our trouble east was rocks. I had me a farm where some years I’d raise a hundred bushels of rocks to the acre.
Rebecca Prescott: Now, Zebulon, you hadn’t oughta lie to the man like that.
Zebulon Prescott: Wife, I’m a god fearin soul and I tell the truth as I see it. Now I never used a plow, I’d blast out the furrows with gunpowder. And then one morning, I hauled the bucket up from out of the well and so help me the bucket was full of rocks. Rocks! I just stood there, right still, tryin’ not to blaspheme, and I said to myself, “You’ve got a son that’s ailin, you’ve got a twenty year old daughter what won’t take to herself a husband, there she sits over there, moonin as usual, and you’ve got another daughter who just don’t seem quite right in the head”. Lilith! Now, I remind you sir, I’m still standin’ there, holding a bucket full of rocks, and starin into a bleak old age. So I made me a vow right then and there, I said, “If I can find a man with five hundred dollars, who likes rocks, then there’s going to be another fool ownin this farm. Well sir, the Lord provided such a man, and here I am.
Rebecca Prescott: He ain’t told you one word of truth, Mr.Harvey. We had the best farm in the township.
Zebulon Prescott: Yeah, Rockville Township it was. Stone County.
I hadn’t seen this movie until about a month or so ago, when I discovered it was on Instant Netflix. I watched it pretty late at night, and I must say that was probably not the best idea. It is a brilliant masterpiece of a film, but it is has such heavy subject matter, it made for a pretty fretful night of sleep. I’ve watched several adaptations of Tennessee Williams plays, and I definitely think this is the best of the lot. I also think it is Marlon Brando’s best work (although, I have not seen but pieces of The Godfather; please refrain from stoning me, I swear I’ll remedy that soon). It was nominated for a whopping 12 Academy Awards, winning four and is one of a handful of films to be nominated in all four of the acting categories. It was nominated for: Best B&W Cinematography, Best B&W Costume Design, Best Score, Best Sound, Best Writing, Screenplay (this was back when their were three writing categories), Best Actor Marlon Brando, Best Director Elia Kazan and Best Picture. It won the following categories: Best B&W Art Direction, Best Actress Vivien Leigh, Best Supporting Actress Kim Hunter and Best Supporting Actor Karl Malden. For Best Picture it was up against A Place In The Sun, Decision Before Dawn, Quo Vadis, and winner An American In Paris. I’ve seen two of those films and I would most definitely say the Academy made the wrong decision here. It was really another case of flashy musical winning over gritty, masterful drama.