Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hold Your Horses

Where did that phrase come from?

I've never thought about it before, but today we had a unique pleasure of watching a John Ford western that we've never seen before. Regular readers know that we're movie freaks, and in particular, we have a real fondness for westerns.

And who made better westerns than John Ford? Nobody!

Today we took eleven boxes of books and three boxes of DVDs to the used book/record/DVD store, where we found a copy of John Ford's Wagon Master. It's a film I've heard about for years, but never seen. While we got rid of most of the DVDs (the first batch of many I'm afraid) we also brought one home.

I have to tell you, nobody did it like John Ford.

The location, my beloved Monument Valley. The faces! Ben Johnson, so young and virile, Jane Darwell, you can't help but love her. Harry Carey Jr., the cast is simply perfect.

Then there's the fact that Ford insisted on using real Native Americans, what a difference that makes!

When you look at the photography, my God what beautiful shots. I think it has something to do with the way they set up shots in those days, pre CGI (computer generated imagery). Take a look at the long shots in these old films, they're simply stunning, evoking a feel for the time and space of the story. I've written about this before (here if you'd like to read it) but when I spend time with one of these old films, my appreciation renews all over again.

When I see the long shots of the wagons, lumbering across the open spaces with those monolithic spires in the distance, it makes my heart yearn to go back here.

Oh, and "hold your horses" (in case you thought I forgot . . .)

In the Wagon Master, they're going through the desert, it's been a while since they've had fresh water. A front rider comes over the rise and shouts "There's water ahead!". The excitement spreads, the horses are smelling the water, yanking at the reins.

And the wagon master yells "Hold Your Horses!!".

I looked at Terry and said, "do you think that's where that phrase comes from? And he said "I wouldn't be a bit surprised".


Judy and Emma said...

I wouldn't be a bit surprised either. Makes sense to me. :)

Donna K said...

That sounds like a movie we want to see. I'll have to check and see if it's on Netflix.

Love the pix of Cholula Red.

So when we see a gas station in the distance should I say "hold your horses...all 305 of them"....

Merikay said...

I keep trying!

did you decide what to do with your hair? Picture please if red.

Ed said...

The Phrase Finder


US origin - 19th century. In keeping with its American origin, it originally was written as 'hold your hosses' and it appears in print that way many times from 1844 onwards.