Tag Archives: John Ford

John Ford – The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Synopsis:
The Joad clan, introduced to the world in John Steinbeck’s iconic novel, is looking for a better life in California. After their drought-ridden farm is seized by the bank, the family — led by just-paroled son Tom — loads up a truck and heads West. On the road, beset by hardships, the Joads meet dozens of other families making the same trek and holding onto the same dream. Once in California, however, the Joads soon realize that the promised land isn’t quite what they hoped. Read More »

John Ford – Two Rode Together (1961)

Recycling elements of My Darling Clementine and The Searchers in a bitter, latter-day light, this late Western by John Ford initiates the last, dark phase of the master’s vision of the corrupting influences of the progress of civilization in the wilderness. James Stewart is introduced to the Ford stock company as a thoroughly venal town marshal, Guthrie McCabe, who’s pressed into service by the cavalry to oversee the ransoming of several whites long held captive by the Indians. McCabe is concerned with nothing but making a buck on the enterprise and coming back with his scalp intact, yet against his better judgment he becomes an arbiter of social and personal justice, and a de facto one-man protest against bigotry and hypocrisy. The cinematography is bleaker than anything seen in Ford’s more heroic Westerns, and the stylistic high point is a hilarious one-take conversation between Stewart and cavalryman Richard Widmark at the river’s edge. –Richard T. Jameson Read More »

John Ford – The Long Voyage Home (1940)

Shannon Kelley writes:
The powers and fascinations of director John Ford and playwright Eugene O’Neill are happily met in this 1940 feature dramatizing the lives of men who serve as crew members aboard commercial freighters. Like O’Neill, Ford nursed a lifelong obsession with sailing and the sea, and had spent his early years in Portland, Maine, amid the maritime culture that this picture describes. Adapted and updated by screenwriter Dudley Nichols (Ford’s frequent collaborator) from four of O’Neill’s early plays set aboard the fictional “SS Glencairn,” the film recounts the experiences of the ship’s crew while transporting ammunition from the West Indies to England during World War II. Read More »

John Ford – The Long Gray Line (1955)

Plot Summary
Martin “Marty” Maher, an immigrant from Ireland, arrives at West Point where he is assigned to work in the kitchen. He soon proves to be ill-suited to such work and quits only to enlist in the army. The head of the West Point athletics department, Captain Koehler (known as the Master of the Sword), takes Marty on as an assistant. Marty proves to be no great specimen of a sports expert, but he has a winning way about him in dealing with the cadets, whether it’s boxing, swimming or football. Read More »

John Ford – The Fugitive (1947)

Museum of Modern Art writes:
In 1946, John Ford effectively took over the crew of his friend and fellow spirit Fernández—including stars Dolores del Río, Pedro Armendáriz, and Miguel Inclán, and cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa—and, with Fernández acting as his “first lieutenant,” filmed this abstract, ambitious work on locations in Mexico and at the Churubusco Studios. Ostensibly an adaptation of Graham Greene’s unfilmably scandalous The Power and the Glory, it derives many of its plot points from Ford’s 1935 The Informer, though the film’s ultimate subject is the Mexican landscape, as explored in all of its compositional possibilities by the incomparable duo of Ford and Figueroa. Read More »

John Ford – The Last Hurrah (1958)

Synopsis:
An aging politician tries to get re-elected one last time in the changing world of the 1950s when TV started to play a bigger part in politics. Based loosely on the career of multi-term Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, this film examines the good and evil inherent in politics and all the things that go into an election. Tracy’s uphill battle to stay in office is set against the political machinery that preyed on ethnic hatred and old-time money. Read More »

John Ford – The Horse Soldiers (1959)

Ex railroad man, Yankee Colonel John Marlowe leads an irregular troop on a mission into the Confederacy, feuding every step of the way with his company doctor Major Kendall. Also confusing issues is Hannah Hunter, a Southern Belle who learns of their plans and must be brought along for security reasons. They succeed in their ‘dirty’ raid on a railhead town, but escape back to Union lines looks grim, with several rebel armies closing in from all sides – including a company of children from a confederate military academy. Read More »