John Ford: Hollywood's Old Master (Oklahoma Western Biographies)

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9780806127088: John Ford: Hollywood's Old Master (Oklahoma Western Biographies)

John Ford remains the most honored director in Hollywood history, having won six Academy Awards and four New York Film Critics Awards. Drawing upon extensive written and oral history, Ronald L. Davis provides a biography of Ford that is far-reaching in its scope.
Davis sketches Ford's life from his childhood in Maine through the many stages of his long and illustrious career. From his silent classic, The Iron Horse, through the transition to sound, and then into the pioneer years in location filming, the golden years of Hollywood, and the movement toward television, Ford made enormous contributions to the film industry - but suffered great personal turmoil. The complexity of his personality comes alive here through the eyes of his colleagues, friends, relatives, and film critics. Actors with whom Ford worked, among them John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Maureen O'Hara, and Katharine Hepburn, comment on his skill as a director. His family and friends tell of his navy years, troubled domestic life, political involvements, and battles with alcoholism. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of a man impossible to categorize, an enigma.
The ultimate windows into Ford's soul may be the films themselves. During his career, Ford made such classics as Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley, and The Searchers - 136 pictures in all, 54 of them Westerns.
He is now recognized as a genius with the camera who knew how to tell his stories visually, keeping dialogue to a minimum. His characters, especially the memorable "strong, silent" heroes that figure so prominently in the films, have achieved mythic dimensions. The director himself, however, once claimed, "The real star of my Westerns has always been the land." Indeed, it is Ford's ability to capture the magnificence and poetry of Western landscape that has earned him the highest respect.

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About the Author:

Ronald L. Davis is Professor of History at Southern Methodist University.

From Publishers Weekly:

During a career that spanned more than 50 years, Ford (1895-1973) directed 136 films and established himself as a creative genius. Davis, a history professor at Southern Methodist, presents a lively and well-researched study of Ford's life and work. Although best known for directing westerns that emphasized visual beauty, action and mood rather than dialogue?Stagecoach (1939), Fort Apache (1948)?Ford won six academy awards for non-westerns, including The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and How Green Was My Valley (1941), which dealt with social themes. Davis draws on the recollections of the actors who worked frequently with Ford, including John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara, to document Ford's tyranny on the set, which intimidated his cast but wrung brilliant performances from them. Although he married and had two children, Ford was most comfortable with men, according to Davis, and masked his deep emotional insecurities by abusing alcohol. Illustrations.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Davis, Ronald L.
Published by Univ of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, U.S.A. (1995)
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