Long before he made masterpieces like Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath and The Searchers, Sean Aloysius O'Feeney -- better known to us as John Ford -- directed a silent movie called The Iron Horse (1924). It's an archetypal early Western, in which a man seeking revenge for his father's murder takes a job working on the nation's first transcontinental railroad. The first of Ford's features, it suggests all the director's trademarks to come -- a love for the spirit of the frontier, a belief in the unshakeable will of Americans, a poetic eye for the landscape of the West. The able cast includes George O'Brien, Madge Bellamy and Cyril Chadwick, but this is first and last a director's film -- a glimpse into the future visions of a Hollywood giant.
The Iron Horse will screen at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 28, in Boulder's Chautauqua Silent Film Series, with live piano accompaniment by Hank Troy. Chautauqua is at 900 Baseline Road, Boulder. For more information, call 303-442-3282 or log on at www.chautauqua.com.