John Ford

John Ford – Kentucky Pride (1925)

Kentucky Pride is a 1925 American silent drama film from Fox Film about the life of a horse breeder and racer, directed by John Ford and starring Henry B. Walthall (who had previously played the Little Colonel in D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation). It is among Ford’s lesser-known works, but has been praised for sweetness and charm and its beautiful depiction of the life of horses and the relationship between the protagonist and his daughter. Several well-known thoroughbred racehorses appear in the film, including the legendary Man o’ War. Read More »

John Ford – Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)

Quote:
“Steamboat ‘Round the Bend” was a personal project for Ford who saw the novel (Ford purchased the adaptation rights from writer Ben Lucien Burman) as a potential opportunity to work with his good friend Will Rogers. The pictures he directed at Fox were usually lighter affairs with a sustained focus on entertainment rather than art. Ford is generally not remembered for such films because his precise framing and noble themes brought him far more recognition and acclaim. Nevertheless, Ford still had the sense to know how to present a good comedy. Read More »

John Ford – The Battle of Midway (1942)

The Battle of Midway
John Ford is widely regarded as one of America’s greatest film directors, a myth-maker who put his distinctive stamp on the Western genre, and whose films memorably portray key moments in American history. Although known primarily as the director of classic Hollywood movies like Stagecoach (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and The Searchers (1956), there’s more to Ford than his impressive feature film career. Many people may not know that Ford served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and worked for the O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services) as Chief of the Field and Photographic Branch. During this time, he undertook various missions for the Navy, and was involved in the production of training films and war documentaries, one of which was The Battle of Midway. The battle itself took place in the Central Pacific from June 4 to June 6 1942, and Ford was present as the Japanese attacked the American outpost on Midway Island. How did such a noted Hollywood feature film director, a man who Tag Gallagher calls “… the great poetic chronicler of American history”, approach documentary filmmaking, and more specifically, how did he chronicle the events at Midway? Read More »

John Ford – Rio Grande (1950)

Plot synopsis:
A cavalry officer posted on the Rio Grande must deal with murderous raiding Apaches, his son who’s a risk-taking recruit and his wife from whom he has been separated for many years.

Rio Grande is a 1950 film and the third installment of John Ford’s “cavalry trilogy”, following Fort Apache (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). John Wayne stars in all three films, as Captain Kirby Yorke (York) in Fort Apache, then as Capt. of Cavalry Nathan Cutting Brittles in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and finally as a promoted Lieutenant Colonel Kirby Yorke (York) in Rio Grande. Read More »

John Ford – My Darling Clementine (1946)

Quote:
Wyatt Earp and his brothers Morgan and Virgil ride into Tombstone and leave brother James in charge of their cattle herd. On their return they find their cattle stolen and James dead. Wyatt takes on the job of town marshal, making his brothers deputies, and vows to stay in Tombstone until James’ killers are found. He soon runs into the brooding, coughing, hard-drinking Doc Holliday as well as the sullen and vicious Clanton clan. Wyatt discovers the owner of a trinket stolen from James’ dead body and the stage is set for the Earps’ long-awaited revenge. Read More »

John Ford – How Green Was My Valley [+commentary] (1941)

Quote:
Life is hard in a Welsh mining town and no less so for the Morgan family. Seen through the eyes of the family’s youngest, Huw, we learn of the family’s trials and tribulations. Family patriarch Gwilym and his older sons work in the mines, dangerous and unhealthy as it is. Gwilym has greater hopes for his youngest son, but Huw has his own ideas on how to honor his father. Daughter Angharad is the most beautiful girl in the valley and is very much in love with Mr. Gruffydd, who isn’t sure he can provide her the life she deserves. Times are hard and good men find themselves out of work and exploited by unseen mine owners. Read More »

John Ford – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Quote:
There are arguably no bigger cinematic icons of America than John Wayne – the right wing side of America steeped in violence and guns, and James Stewart – the left wing side of America rooted in humanity, understanding and intelligence. And there is arguably no finer chronicler of America’s mythology and past than John Ford. Put them together and you get one of the finest westerns ever made. Read More »