A Dreamer Walking

John Ford- An Observation- Beginnings

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on April 9, 2012

John Ford was a poet and a bully. He was a natural at his art form. A man who always seemed to know where his films needed to go. Ford was not a likable man. He has admitted he was somewhat of a slave driver who really only  had a talent for composing a shot. However, as mean as he was to his crew he had a lot of people stick with him. Ford was known for making both Henry Fonda and John Wayne into big stars. He started off his directing career with the silent film star Harry Carey. They made twenty six pictures together. From the 1930’s on everyone wanted to make a picture with John Ford, including Shirley Temple; who did so in 1937 with Wee Willie Winkie.

The persona John Ford gave to the public was one of a rough manly man who wouldn’t take no shit from anyone. However, Ford was not the kind of filmmaker who was good in just one genre. Even though he was most known for his Westerns, Wee Willie Winkie is proof that he could explore completely different types of stories. Ford’s greatest achievement was his ability to explore cultures and show the world the fragility of family. Movies like Grapes of Wrath and How Green Was My Valley give us insight on how the world tends to break families apart. His films often concentrate on the outsider, something Ford had personal understanding of being as a son to an immigrant.

One could not go up to Ford and ask who he was. If you did you would almost always receive a lie. Ford made sure he did not share with the public who he really was. When being interviewed Ford would give short answers, even though he knew the interviewer wanted more. He stretched and even fabricate the truth to make himself look better or to make the story sound better. If you asked Ford the wrong kind of question you would need to watch out, he wouldn’t hesitate to throw something at you or hit you. He was known for his cruel practical jokes. He was a man who wouldn’t hesitate to cuss one of his crew members out. But, behind John Ford’s persona there was a man with deep emotion and conviction. Ford fought to keep each film’s integrity alive. He understood the value of life and made his audience laugh and cry as well as anyone.

If you want to know John Ford watch his films.

Here are some suggestions: The Iron Horse (1924), Four Sons (1928), Pilgrimage (1933), The Informer (1935), The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936), Wee Willie Winkie (1937), Stagecoach (1939), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), My Darling Clementine (1946), Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), The Quiet Man (1952), The Searchers (1956), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).

2 Responses

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  1. Jesse Koepke said, on April 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    How Green Was My Valley and The Quiet Man are great movies. And also The Searchers. Man, he directed a lot of movies I like! Thanks for doing the research on him, Jacob. I look forward to learning more about him.

    • Jacob said, on April 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      Ford is actually not my favorite director but he is a very interesting man to research. My favorite movies of his so far are The Quiet Man and How Green Was My Valley. I am looking forward to doing the series and thanks for checking it out.


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