An American giant? print the legend

By Michael Roberts

John Ford strides the American cinematic landscape as a colossus, starting as a sidekick to his brother Francis Ford in the silent era, even taking his brother's stage surname of Ford in preference to his own Feeny and worked continually until 1966. Ford had the eye of a poet, and mostly a one eyed poet at that, and the constitution of a bully, preferring to push his single minded visions through to fruition no matter the personal cost. The results were there for all to see and 4 Academy Awards for Best Director attest to his standing in the industry. He managed to be a liberal when the times called for it, or a reactionary conservative and many contradictory themes flowed through both his life and films. He thought nothing of demeaning and belittling his cast in front of the entire company, but could put very sentimental and softly expressed idea's on screen that reflected an underlying sensitivity. 'He was the nastiest person I ever met' said James Cagney, whereas 'How Green Was My Valley' writer Philip Dunne said 'I knew Pappy liked me because he never said a civil word to me in all the years I knew him'.

Other recommendations;

 Mogambo

Wagonmaster

The Informer

 

For Fans only;

Cheyenne Autumn

The Sun Shines Bright

The Last Hurrah

 

 Best avoided;

The Fugitive