John Ford
American film director
John Ford
John Ford was an Irish-American film director. He was famous for both his Westerns such as Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and adaptations of such classic 20th-century American novels as The Grapes of Wrath. His four Academy Awards for Best Director (1935, 1940, 1941, 1952) is a record, and one of those films, How Green Was My Valley, also won Best Picture (in its famous win over Citizen Kane).
John Ford's personal information overview.
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OP-ED COLUMNIST; Egghead and Blockheads
NYTimes - over 5 years
WASHINGTON THERE are two American archetypes that were sometimes played against each other in old Westerns. The egghead Eastern lawyer who lacks the skills or stomach for a gunfight is contrasted with the tough Western rancher and ace shot who has no patience for book learnin’. The duality of America’s creation story was vividly
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LIFE IS A WHEEL; Lessons of a Daybreak Rider
NYTimes - over 5 years
TO begin my cross-country cycling trip, I spent a day and a half on the Oregon coast, climbing to witness glorious vistas above the Pacific. Then I rode east up the verdant corridor alongside the Columbia River Gorge, the river itself keeping me company as I made my way into sun-blanched wheat country. I turned north through the Palouse region in
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Thomas McWilliam plays big role in Fords Mills history - Times and Transcript
Google News - over 5 years
Not surprisingly it was the John Ford family who settled in that area in the 1800s and built a sawmill. The original mill is said to have burned, and was subsequently rebuilt by Thomas's grandfather, Thomas Rankin McWilliam
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Maureen O'Hara returns to location of 'The Quiet Man' - Irish Central
Google News - over 5 years
She told the crowd that, of all the 80 films she made, "The Quiet Man" was her best because her favorite leading man John Wayne and film director John Ford were working with her. She also told how she used an Irish phrase, 'Mala Codlata,' meaning
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Ten movies that speak to Utah's history and character - Salt Lake Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
Director John Ford made Monument Valley the symbolic home of the Old West with “Stagecoach” (1939), “My Darling Clementine” (1946) and his Cavalry trilogy — “Fort Apache” (1948), “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949) and “Rio Grande” (1950)
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Free films series at Pleasanton Library - San Jose Mercury News
Google News - over 5 years
The films all feature the work of directors Howard Hawks, John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock. The movies will be shown at 7 pm on the first Thursday of each month through June. The first film will be "How Green Was My Valley" on Sept
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Post office unveils movie stamps - Toronto Sun
Google News - over 5 years
The legendary filmmakers in question include John Ford, Frank Capra, John Huston and, just unveiled this week, Billy Wilder, accompanied by an artist's rendering of iconic images from their movies The Searchers, It Happened One Night,
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MOVIE REVIEW | 'AMIGO'; The Cause Is Familiar, But the War Is Less So
NYTimes - over 5 years
Although John Sayles's new film, ''Amigo,'' is set in what seems to be a remote time and place -- a hamlet called San Isidro, in the Philippines, around 1900 -- it bridges the gap in a hurry. This is not the kind of movie, and Mr. Sayles is not the type of director, to linger in the picturesque past, savoring antique details and restaging bygone
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John Ford honored with postage stamp - Press Herald
Google News - over 5 years
Award-winning film director John Ford, born John Martin Feeney in 1894, is one of four film directors to be featured on the US Postal Service's Forever stamp series in 2012. Frank Capra and John Huston will also be featured, with the name of the fourth
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John Ford gets a stamp; we need a new John Ford - Baltimore Sun (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The United States Postal Service is honoring John Ford with a commemorative stamp because he was a great American filmmaker. With credits like "Stagecoach," "Young Mr. Lincoln," "The Long Voyage Home" and "My Darling Clementine," who could deny it?
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Iconic director John Ford, coming soon to your mailbox - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
During his long film career, John Ford won four Oscars for best director -- for 1935's "The Informer," 1940's "The Grapes of Wrath," 1941's "How Green Was My Valley" and 1952's "The Quiet Man." He made John Wayne a star in his influential 1939 western
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A breathtaking spin around Galway - Irish Times
Google News - over 5 years
One family who had tickets were Christine Connolly and John Ford, and their children Alannah (15) and Conghal (11). “Every year we pick out one show to take our children to, so that they can have a great experience, and this year we heard the word was
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Kate Livie to wed Ben Ford - Baltimore Sun (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Peggy Joseph Ford and John Ford, of Easton, have announced the engagement of their son, Ben Ford, to Kate Livie, of Chestertown. The bride to be is the daughter of the late Kent County Commissioner Scott Livie and Robin Bayne, of Chestertown
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SFSFF 2011: Line-up Preview - Twitch
Google News - over 5 years
John Ford)--In 2009, nitrate prints of 75 American silent movies, many of them previously considered "lost," were discovered in a Wellington, New Zealand film archive. John Ford's Upstream--a lighthearted backstage drama about the struggling denizens
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The Greatest Hollywood Director You May Never Have Heard Of - Huffington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
That name may sound familiar to some of us, but today it's less recognized than (certainly) John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock, and perhaps even Howard Hawks and George Cukor. Both Wyler's quiet, unobtrusive style and our own inability to associate him
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John Ford
  • 1973
    Age 79
    In 1973, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Nixon, whose campaign he had publicly supported.
    More Details Hide Details Ford is widely considered to be among the most influential of Hollywood's filmmakers. He was listed as the fifth most influential director of all time by MovieMaker. Below are some of the people who were directly influenced by Ford, or greatly admired his work: In December 2011 the Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA), in association with the John Ford Estate and the Irish Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, established "John Ford Ireland", celebrating the work and legacy of John Ford. The Irish Academy stated that through John Ford Ireland, they hope to lay the foundations for honoring, examining and learning from the work and legacy of John Ford, who is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers of his generation. The first John Ford Ireland Symposium was held in Dublin, Ireland from 7 to 10 June 2012. The Symposium, designed to draw inspiration from and celebrate Ford's ongoing influence on contemporary cinema, featured a diverse program of events, including a series of screenings, masterclasses, panel discussions, public interviews, and an outdoor screening of The Searchers.
    He was the first recipient of the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1973.
    More Details Hide Details Also in that year, Ford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon. Ford directed 10 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Victor McLaglen, Thomas Mitchell, Edna May Oliver, Jane Darwell, Henry Fonda, Donald Crisp, Sara Allgood, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly and Jack Lemmon. McLaglen, Mitchell, Darwell, Crisp and Lemmon won Oscar for one of their roles in one of Ford's movies. A television special featuring Ford, John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda was broadcast over the CBS network on December 5, 1971 called The American West of John Ford, featuring clips from Ford's career interspersed with interviews conducted by Wayne, Stewart, and Fonda, who also took turns narrating the hourlong documentary. In 2007, Twentieth Century Fox released "Ford at Fox", a DVD boxed set of 24 of Ford's films. Time magazine's Richard Corliss named it one of the "Top 10 DVDs of 2007", ranking it at #1.
  • 1972
    Age 78
    In October 1972, the Screen Directors Guild staged a tribute to Ford and in March 1973 the American Film Institute honored him with its first Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony which was telecast nationwide, with President Richard Nixon promoting Ford to full Admiral and presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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  • 1970
    Age 76
    Ford's health deteriorated rapidly in the early 1970s; he suffered a broken hip in 1970 which put him in a wheelchair.
    More Details Hide Details He had to move from his Bel Air home to a single-level house in Palm Desert, California, near Eisenhower Medical Center, where he was being treated for cancer.
    Ford's next project, The Miracle of Merriford, was scrapped by MGM less than a week before shooting was to have begun. His last completed work was Chesty: A Tribute to a Legend, a documentary on the most decorated U.S. Marine, General Lewis B. Puller, with narration by John Wayne, which was made in 1970 but not released until 1976, three years after Ford's death.
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  • 1965
    Age 71
    In 1965 Ford began work on Young Cassidy (MGM), a biographical drama based upon the life of Irish playwright Seán O'Casey, but he fell ill early in the production and was replaced by Jack Cardiff.
    More Details Hide Details Ford's last completed feature film was 7 Women (MGM, 1966), a drama about missionary women in China ca. 1935 trying to protect themselves from the advances of a barbaric Mongolian warlord. Anne Bancroft took over the lead role from Patricia Neal, who suffered a near-fatal stroke two days into shooting. The supporting cast included Margaret Leighton, Flora Robson, Sue Lyon, Mildred Dunnock, Anna Lee, Eddie Albert, Mike Mazurki and Woody Strode, with music by Elmer Bernstein. Unfortunately it was a commercial flop, grossing only about half of its $2.3 million budget. Unusual for Ford, it was shot in continuity for the sake of the performances and he therefore exposed about four times as much film as he usually shot. Anna Lee recalled that Ford was "absolutely charming" to everyone and that the only major blow-up came when Flora Robson complained that the sign on her dressing room door did not include her title ("Dame") and as a result Robson was "absolutely shredded" by Ford in front of the cast and crew.
  • 1962
    Age 68
    Also in 1962, Ford directed his fourth and last TV production, Flashing Spikes, a baseball story made for the Alcoa Premiere series and starring James Stewart, Jack Warden, Patrick Wayne and Tige Andrews, with Harry Carey, Jr. and a lengthy surprise appearance by John Wayne, billed in the credits as "Michael Morris".
    More Details Hide Details Donovan's Reef (Paramount, 1963) was Ford's last film with John Wayne. Filmed on location on the Hawaiian island of Kauai (doubling for a fictional island in French Polynesia), it was a morality play disguised as an action-comedy, which subtly but sharply engaged with issues of racial bigotry, corporate connivance, greed and American beliefs of societal superiority. The supporting cast included Lee Marvin, Elizabeth Allen, Jack Warden, Dorothy Lamour, and Cesar Romero. It was also Ford's last commercial success, grossing $3.3 million against a budget of $2.6 million. Cheyenne Autumn (Warner Bros, 1964) was Ford's epic farewell to the West, which he publicly declared to be an elegy to the Native American. It was his last Western, his longest film and the most expensive movie of his career ($4.2 million), but it failed to recoup its costs at the box office and lost about $1 million on its first release. The all-star cast was headed by Richard Widmark, with Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, Dolores del Río, Ricardo Montalbán, Gilbert Roland, Sal Mineo, James Stewart as Wyatt Earp, Arthur Kennedy as Doc Holliday, Edward G. Robinson, Patrick Wayne, Elizabeth Allen, Mike Mazurki and many of Ford's faithful Stock Company, including John Carradine, Ken Curtis, Willis Bouchey, James Flavin, Danny Borzage, Harry Carey, Jr., Chuck Hayward, Ben Johnson, Mae Marsh and Denver Pyle.
  • 1960
    Age 66
    During 1960, Ford made his third TV production, The Colter Craven Story, a one-hour episode of the network TV show Wagon Train, which included footage from Ford's Wagon Master (on which the series was based).
    More Details Hide Details He also visited the set of The Alamo, produced, directed by, and starring John Wayne, where his interference caused Wayne to send him out to film second-unit scenes which were never used (nor intended to be used) in the film. Two Rode Together (Ford Productions-Columbia, 1961) co-starred James Stewart and Richard Widmark, with Shirley Jones and Stock Company regulars Andy Devine, Henry Brandon, Harry Carey Jr, Anna Lee, Woody Strode, Mae Marsh and Frank Baker, with an early screen appearance by Linda Cristal, who went on to star in the Western TV series The High Chaparral. It was a fair commercial success, grossing $1.6m in its first year. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford Productions-Paramount, 1962) is frequently cited as the last great film of Ford's career. It co-starred John Wayne and James Stewart, with Vera Miles, Edmond O'Brien, Andy Devine as the inept marshal Appleyard, Denver Pyle, John Carradine, and Lee Marvin in one of his first major roles as the brutal Valance, with Lee Van Cleef and Strother Martin as his henchmen. It is also notable as the film in which Wayne first used his trademark phrase "Pilgrim" (his nickname for James Stewart's character). It was very successful, grossing over $3 million in its first year, although the lead casting stretched credibility—the characters played by Stewart (then 53) and Wayne (then 54) were meant to be in their early 20s, and Ford reportedly considered casting a younger actor in Stewart's role but feared it would highlight Wayne's age.
  • 1958
    Age 64
    Both of Ford's 1958 films were made for Columbia Pictures and both were significant departures from Ford's norm.
    More Details Hide Details Gideon's Day (titled Gideon of Scotland Yard in the US) was adapted from the novel by British writer John Creasey. It is Ford's only police genre film, and one of the few Ford films set in the present day of the 1950s. It was shot in England with a British cast headed by Jack Hawkins, whom Ford (unusually) lauded as "the finest dramatic actor with whom I have worked". It was poorly promoted by Columbia, who only distributed it in B&W, although it was shot in color, and it too failed to make a profit in its first year, earning only $400,000 against its budget of $453,000. The Last Hurrah, (Columbia, 1958), again set in present-day of the 1950s, starred Spencer Tracy, who had made his first film appearance in Ford's Up The River in 1930. Tracy plays an aging politician fighting his last campaign, with Jeffrey Hunter as his nephew. Katharine Hepburn reportedly facilitated a rapprochement between the two men, ending a long-running feud, and she convinced Tracy to take the lead role, which had originally been offered to Orson Welles (but was turned down by Welles' agent without his knowledge, much to his chagrin). It did considerably better business than either of Ford's two preceding films, grossing $950,000 in its first year although cast member Anna Lee stated that Ford was "disappointed with the picture" and that Columbia had not permitted him to supervise the editing.
  • 1955
    Age 61
    In the summer of 1955 he made Rookie of the Year (Hal Roach Studios) for the TV series Studio Directors Playhouse; scripted by Frank S. Nugent, it featured Ford regulars John and Pat Wayne, Vera Miles and Ward Bond, with Ford himself appearing in the introduction.
    More Details Hide Details In November he made The Bamboo Cross (Lewman Ltd-Revue, 1955) for the Fireside Theater series; it starred Jane Wyman with an Asian-American cast and Stock Company veterans Frank Baker and Pat O'Malley in minor roles. Ford returned to the big screen with The Searchers (Warner Bros, 1956), the only Western he made between 1950 and 1959, which is now widely regarded as not only one of his best films, but also by many as the greatest western ever made, and one of the best performances of John Wayne's career. Shot on location in Monument Valley, it tells of the embittered Civil War veteran Ethan Edwards who spends years tracking down his niece, kidnapped by Comanches as a young girl. The supporting cast included Jeffrey Hunter, Ward Bond, Vera Miles and rising star Natalie Wood. It was Hunter's first film for Ford. It was very successful upon its first release and became one of the top 20 films of the year, grossing $4.45 million, although it received no Academy Award nominations. However, its reputation has grown greatly over the intervening years—it was named the Greatest Western of all time by the American Film Institute in 2008 and also placed 12th on the Institute's 2007 list of the Top 100 greatest movies of all time. The Searchers has exerted a wide influence on film and popular culture—it has inspired (and been directly quoted by) many filmmakers including David Lean and George Lucas, Wayne's character's catchphrase "That'll be the day" inspired Buddy Holly to pen his famous hit song of the same name, and the British pop group The Searchers also took their name from the film.
    Ford also made his first forays into television in 1955, directing two half-hour dramas for network TV.
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    Later in 1955 Ford was hired by Warner Bros to direct the Naval comedy Mister Roberts, starring Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, William Powell, and James Cagney, but there was conflict between Ford and Fonda, who had been playing the lead role on Broadway for the past seven years and had misgivings about Ford's direction.
    More Details Hide Details During a three-way meeting with producer Leland Hayward to try and iron out the problems, Ford became enraged and punched Fonda on the jaw, knocking him across the room, an action that created a lasting rift between them. After the incident Ford became increasingly morose, drinking heavily and eventually retreating to his yacht, the Araner, and refusing to eat or see anyone. Production was shut down for five days and Ford sobered up, but soon after he suffered a ruptured gallbladder, necessitating emergency surgery, and he was replaced by Mervyn LeRoy.
    In 1955, Ford made the lesser-known West Point drama The Long Gray Line for Columbia Pictures, the first of two Ford films to feature Tyrone Power, who had originally been slated to star as the adult Huw in How Green Was My Valley back in 1941.
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  • 1952
    Age 58
    His daughter Barbara was married to singer and actor Ken Curtis from 1952 to 1964.
    More Details Hide Details The marriage between Ford and Smith lasted for life despite various issues, one of which could have proved problematic from the start, this being that John Ford was Catholic while she was a non-Catholic divorcée. What difficulty was caused by the two marrying is unclear as the level of John Ford's commitment to the Catholic faith is disputed. A strain would have been Ford's many extramarital relationships.
  • 1950
    Age 56
    Ford's first film of 1950 was the offbeat military comedy When Willie Comes Marching Home, starring Dan Dailey and Corinne Calvet, with William Demarest, from Preston Sturges 'stock company', and early (uncredited) screen appearances by Alan Hale, Jr. and Vera Miles.
    More Details Hide Details It was followed by Wagon Master, starring Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr, which is particularly noteworthy as the only Ford film since 1930 that he scripted himself. It was subsequently adapted into the long-running TV series Wagon Train (with Ward Bond reprising the title role until his sudden death in 1960). Although it did far smaller business than most of his other films in this period, Ford cited Wagon Master as his personal favorite out of all his films, telling Peter Bogdanovich that it "came closest to what I had hoped to achieve". Rio Grande (Republic, 1950), the third part of the 'Cavalry Trilogy', co-starred John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, with Wayne's son Patrick Wayne making his screen debut (he appeared in several subsequent Ford pictures including The Searchers). It was made at the insistence of Republic Pictures, who demanded a profitable Western as the condition of backing Ford's next project, The Quiet Man. A testament to Ford's legendary efficiency, Rio Grande was shot in just 32 days, with only 352 takes from 335 camera setups, and it was a solid success, grossing $2.25 million in its first year.
    His only completed film of that year was the second instalment of his Cavalry Trilogy, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (Argosy/RKO, 1949), starring John Wayne and Joanne Dru, with Victor McLaglen, John Agar, Ben Johnson, Mildred Natwick and Harry Carey Jr. Again filmed on location in Monument Valley, it was widely acclaimed for its stunning Technicolor cinematography (including the famous cavalry scene filmed in front of an oncoming storm); it won Winton Hoch the 1950 Academy Award for Best Color Cinematography and it did big business on its first release, grossing more than $5 million worldwide.
    More Details Hide Details John Wayne, then 41, also received wide praise for his role as the 60-year-old Captain Nathan Brittles.
  • 1949
    Age 55
    In 1949 Ford briefly returned to Fox to direct Pinky.
    More Details Hide Details He prepared the project but worked only one day before being taken ill, supposedly with shingles, and Elia Kazan replaced him (although Tag Gallagher suggests that Ford's illness was a pretext for leaving the film, which Ford disliked).
  • 1948
    Age 54
    It was a big commercial success, grossing nearly $5 million worldwide in its first year and ranking in the Top 20 box office hits of 1948.
    More Details Hide Details During the year Ford also assisted his friend and colleague Howard Hawks, who was having problems with his current film Red River (which starred John Wayne) and Ford reportedly made numerous editing suggestions, including the use of a narrator. Fort Apache was followed by another Western, 3 Godfathers, a remake of a 1916 silent film starring Harry Carey (to whom Ford's version was dedicated), which Ford had himself already remade in 1919 as Marked Men, also with Carey and thought lost. It starred John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz and Harry "Dobe" Carey Jr (in one of his first major roles) as three outlaws who rescue a baby after his mother (Mildred Natwick) dies giving birth, with Ward Bond as the sheriff pursuing them.
  • 1946
    Age 52
    Ford directed sixteen features and several documentaries in the decade between 1946 and 1956.
    More Details Hide Details As with his pre-war career, his films alternated between (relative) box office flops and major successes, but most of his later films made a solid profit, and Fort Apache, The Quiet Man, Mogambo and The Searchers all ranked in the Top 20 box-office hits of their respective years. Ford's first postwar movie My Darling Clementine (Fox, 1946) was a romanticized retelling of the primal Western legend of Wyatt Earp and the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, with exterior sequences filmed on location in the visually spectacular (but geographically inappropriate) Monument Valley. It reunited Ford with Henry Fonda (as Earp) and co-starred Victor Mature in one of his best roles as the consumptive, Shakespeare-loving Doc Holliday, with Ward Bond and Tim Holt as the Earp brothers, Linda Darnell as sultry saloon girl Chihuahua, a strong performance by Walter Brennan (in a rare villainous role) as the venomous Old Man Clanton, with Jane Darwell and an early screen appearance by John Ireland as Billy Clanton. In contrast to the string of successes in 1939–41, it won no major American awards, although it was awarded a silver ribbon for Best Foreign Film in 1948 by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, and it was a solid financial success, grossing $2.75 million in the United States and $1.75 million internationally in its first year of release.
  • 1939
    Age 45
    Stagecoach marked the beginning of the most consistently successful phase of Ford's career—in just two years between 1939 and 1941 he created a string of classics films that won numerous Academy Awards.
    More Details Hide Details Ford's next film, the biopic Young Mr Lincoln (1939) starring Henry Fonda, was less successful than Stagecoach, attracting little critical attention and winning no awards. It was not a major box-office hit although it had a respectable domestic first-year gross of $750,000, but Ford scholar Tag Gallagher describes it as "a deeper, more multi-leveled work than Stagecoach... (which) seems in retrospect one of the finest prewar pictures". Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) was a lavish frontier drama co-starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert; it was also Ford's first movie in color and included uncredited script contributions by William Faulkner. It was a big box-office success, grossing $1.25 million in its first year in the US and earning Edna May Oliver a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance. Despite its uncompromising humanist and political stance, Ford's screen adaptation of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (scripted by Nunnally Johnson and photographed by Gregg Toland) was both a big box office hit and a major critical success, and it is still widely regarded as one of the best Hollywood films of the era. Noted critic Andrew Sarris described it as the movie that transformed Ford from "a storyteller of the screen into America's cinematic poet laureate". Ford's third movie in a year and his third consecutive film with Fonda, it grossed $1.1 million in the USA in its first year and won two Academy Awards—Ford's second 'Best Director' Oscar, and 'Best Supporting Actress' for Jane Darwell's tour-de-force portrayal of Ma Joad.
  • 1936
    Age 42
    The longer revised version of Directed by John Ford shown on Turner Classic Movies in November, 2006 features directors Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, and Martin Scorsese, who suggest that the string of classic films Ford directed during 1936 to 1941 was due in part to an intense six-month extra-marital affair with Katharine Hepburn, the star of Mary of Scotland (1936), an Elizabethan costume drama.
    More Details Hide Details Stagecoach (1939) was Ford's first western since 3 Bad Men in 1926, and it was his first with sound. Reputedly Orson Welles watched Stagecoach forty times in preparation for making Citizen Kane. It remains one of the most admired and imitated of all Hollywood movies, not least for its climactic stagecoach chase and the hair-raising horse-jumping scene, performed by the stuntman Yakima Canutt. The Dudley Nichols–Ben Hecht screenplay was based on an Ernest Haycox story that Ford had spotted in Collier's magazine and he purchased the screen rights for just $2500. Production chief Walter Wanger urged Ford to hire Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich for the lead roles, but eventually accepted Ford's decision to cast Claire Trevor as Dallas and a virtual unknown, his friend John Wayne, as Ringo; Wanger reportedly had little further influence over the production. In making Stagecoach, Ford faced entrenched industry prejudice about the now-hackneyed genre which, ironically, he had helped to make so popular. Although low-budget western features and serials were still being churned out in large numbers by "Poverty Row" studios, the genre had fallen out of favor with the big studios during the 1930s and they were regarded as B-grade "pulp" movies at best. As a result, Ford shopped the project around Hollywood for almost a year, offering it unsuccessfully to both Joseph Kennedy and David O. Selznick before finally linking with Walter Wanger, an independent producer working through United Artists.
  • 1935
    Age 41
    Steamboat Round The Bend was his third and final film with Will Rogers; it is probable they would have continued working together, but their collaboration was cut short by Rogers' untimely death in a plane crash in May 1935, which devastated Ford.
    More Details Hide Details Ford confirmed his position in the top rank of American directors with the Murnau-influenced Irish Republican Army drama The Informer (1935), starring Victor McLaglen. It earned great critical praise, was nominated for Best Picture, won Ford his first Academy Award for Best Director, and was hailed at the time as one of the best films ever made, although its reputation has diminished considerably compared to other contenders like Citizen Kane, or Ford's own later The Searchers (1956). The politically charged The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)—which marked the debut with Ford of long-serving "Stock Company" player John Carradine—explored the little-known story of Samuel Mudd, a physician who was caught up in the Abraham Lincoln assassination conspiracy and consigned to an offshore prison for treating the injured John Wilkes Booth. Other films of this period include the South Seas melodrama The Hurricane (1937) and the lighthearted Shirley Temple vehicle Wee Willie Winkie (1937), each of which had a first-year US gross of more than $1 million. During filming of Wee Willie Winkie, Ford had elaborate sets built on the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., a heavily filmed location ranch most closely associated with serials and B-Westerns, which would become, along with Monument Valley, one of the director's preferred filming locations, and a site to which Ford would return in the next few years for Stagecoach and The Grapes of Wrath.
    Ford's first film of 1935 (made for Columbia) was the mistaken-identity comedy The Whole Town's Talking with Edward G. Robinson and Jean Arthur, released in the UK as Passport to Fame, and it drew critical praise.
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  • 1933
    Age 39
    In 1933, he returned to Fox for Pilgrimage and Doctor Bull, the first of his three films with Will Rogers.
    More Details Hide Details The World War I desert drama The Lost Patrol (1934), based on the book Patrol by Philip MacDonald, was a superior remake of the 1929 silent film Lost Patrol. It starred Victor McLaglen as The Sergeant—the role played by his brother Cyril McLaglen in the earlier version—with Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford, Alan Hale and Reginald Denny (who went on to found a company that made radio-controlled target aircraft during World War II). It was one of Ford's first big hits of the sound era—it was rated by both the National Board of Review and The New York Times as one of the Top 10 films of that year and won an Oscar nomination for its stirring Max Steiner score. It was followed later that year by The World Moves On with Madeleine Carroll and Franchot Tone, and the highly successful Judge Priest, his second film with Will Rogers, which became one of the top-grossing films of the year.
  • 1932
    Age 38
    With film production affected by the Depression, Ford made two films each in 1932 and 1933—Air Mail (made for Universal) with a young Ralph Bellamy and Flesh (for MGM) with Wallace Beery.
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  • 1931
    Age 37
    Ford's films in 1931 were Seas Beneath, The Brat and Arrowsmith; the last-named, adapted from the Sinclair Lewis novel and starring Ronald Colman and Helen Hayes, marked Ford's first Academy Awards recognition, with five nominations including Best Picture.
    More Details Hide Details Ford's legendary efficiency and his ability to craft films combining artfulness with strong commercial appeal won him increasing renown. By 1940 he was acknowledged as one of the world's foremost movie directors. His growing prestige was reflected in his remuneration—in 1920, when he moved to Fox, he was paid $300–600 per week. As his career took off in the mid-Twenties his annual income significantly increased. He earned nearly $134,000 in 1929, and made over $100,000 per annum every year from 1934 to 1941, earning a staggering $220,068 in 1938—more than double the salary of the U.S. President at that time (although this was still less than half the income of Carole Lombard, Hollywood's highest-paid star of the 1930s, who was earning around $500,000 per year at the time).
  • 1930
    Age 36
    His three films of 1930 were Men Without Women, Born Reckless and Up the River, which is notable as the debut film for both Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart, who were both signed to Fox on Ford's recommendation (but subsequently dropped).
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  • 1928
    Age 34
    Ford's output was fairly constant from 1928 to the start of World War II; he made five features in 1928 and then made either two or three films every year from 1929 to 1942, inclusive.
    More Details Hide Details Three films were released in 1929—Strong Boy, The Black Watch and Salute.
  • 1923
    Age 29
    His 1923 feature Cameo Kirby, starring screen idol John Gilbert—another of the few surviving Ford silents—marked his first directing credit under the name "John Ford", rather than "Jack Ford", as he had previously been credited.
    More Details Hide Details Ford's first major success as a director was the historical drama The Iron Horse (1924), an epic account of the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad. It was a large, long and difficult production, filmed on location in the Sierra Nevada. The logistics were enormous—two entire towns were constructed, there were 5000 extras, 100 cooks, 2000 rail layers, a cavalry regiment, 800 Indians, 1300 buffalo, 2000 horses, 10,000 cattle and 50,000 properties, including the original stagecoach used by Horace Greeley, Wild Bill Hickok's derringer pistol and replicas of the "Jupiter" and "119" locomotives that met at Promontory Point when the two ends of the line were joined on 10 May 1869. Ford's brother Eddie was a crew member and they fought constantly; on one occasion Eddie reportedly "went after the old man with a pick handle". There was only a short synopsis written when filming began and Ford wrote and shot the film day by day. Production fell behind schedule, delayed by constant bad weather and the intense cold, and Fox executives repeatedly demanded results, but Ford would either tear up the telegrams or hold them up and have stunt gunman Edward "Pardner" Jones shoot holes through the sender's name. Despite the pressure to halt the production, studio boss William Fox finally backed Ford and allowed him to finish the picture and his gamble paid off handsomely—The Iron Horse became one of the top-grossing films of the decade, taking over US$2 million worldwide, against a budget of $280,000.
  • 1920
    Age 26
    Ford directed around thirty-six films over three years for Universal before moving to the William Fox studio in 1920; his first film for them was Just Pals (1920).
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    He married Mary McBride Smith on July 3, 1920, and they had two children.
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  • 1917
    Age 23
    Ford's last film of 1917, Bucking Broadway, was long thought to have been lost, but in 2002 the only known surviving print was discovered in the archives of the French National Center for Cinematography and it has since been restored and digitized.
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    Throughout his career Ford was one of the busiest directors in Hollywood, but he was extraordinarily productive in his first few years as a director—he made ten films in 1917, eight in 1918 and fifteen in 1919—and he directed a total of 62 shorts and features between 1917 and 1928, although he was not given a screen credit in most of his earliest films.
    More Details Hide Details There is some uncertainty about the identity of Ford's first film as director—film writer Ephraim Katz notes that Ford might have directed the four-part film Lucille the Waitress as early as 1914—but most sources cite his directorial début as the silent two-reeler The Tornado, released in March 1917. According to Ford's own story, he was given the job by Universal boss Carl Laemmle who supposedly said, "Give Jack Ford the job—he yells good". The Tornado was quickly followed by a string of two-reeler and three-reeler "quickies"—The Trail of Hate, The Scrapper, The Soul Herder and Cheyenne's Pal; these were made over the space of a few months and each typically shot in just two or three days; all are now presumed lost. The Soul Herder is also notable as the beginning of Ford's four-year, 25-film association with veteran writer-actor Harry Carey, who (with Ford's brother Francis) was a strong early influence on the young director, as well as being one of the major influences on the screen persona of Ford's protege John Wayne. Carey's son Harry "Dobe" Carey Jr, who also became an actor, was one of Ford's closest friends in later years and featured in many of his most celebrated westerns.
    During his first decade as a director Ford honed his craft on dozens of features (including many westerns) but only ten of the more than sixty silent films he made between 1917 and 1928 still survive in their entirety.
    More Details Hide Details However, prints of several Ford 'silents' previously thought lost have been rediscovered in foreign film archives over recent years—in 2009 a trove of 75 Hollywood silent films was rediscovered in the New Zealand Film Archive, among which was the only surviving print of Ford's 1927 silent comedy Upstream. The print was restored in New Zealand by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences before being returned to America, where it was given a "repremiere" at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on August 31, 2010, featuring a newly commissioned score by Michael Mortilla.
  • 1915
    Age 21
    In addition to credited roles, he appeared uncredited as a Klansman in D. W. Griffith's 1915 The Birth of a Nation, as the man who lifts up one side of his hood so he can see clearly.
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  • 1914
    Age 20
    John Ford began his career in film after moving to California in July 1914.
    More Details Hide Details He followed in the footsteps of his multi-talented older brother Francis Ford, twelve years his senior, who had left home years earlier and had worked in vaudeville before becoming a movie actor. Francis played in hundreds of silent pictures for filmmakers such as Thomas Edison, Georges Méliès and Thomas Ince, eventually progressing to become a prominent Hollywood actor-writer-director with his own production company (101 Bison) at Universal. John Ford started out in his brother's films as an assistant, handyman, stuntman and occasional actor, frequently doubling for his brother, whom he closely resembled. Francis gave his younger brother his first acting role in The Mysterious Rose (November 1914). Despite an often combative relationship, within three years Jack had progressed to become Francis' chief assistant and often worked as his cameraman. By the time Jack Ford was given his first break as a director, Francis' profile was declining and he ceased working as a director soon after.
    He later moved to California and in 1914 began working in film production as well as acting for his older brother Francis, adopting "Jack Ford" as a professional name.
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  • 1894
    Age 0
    They had eleven children: Mamie (Mary Agnes), born 1876; Delia (Edith), 1878–1881; Patrick; Francis Ford, 1881–1953; Bridget, 1883–1884; Barbara, born and died 1888; Edward, born 1889; Josephine, born 1891; Hannah (Joanna), born and died 1892; John Martin, 1894–1973; and Daniel, born and died 1896 (or 1898).
    More Details Hide Details John Augustine lived in the Munjoy Hill neighborhood of Portland, Maine with his family, and would try farming, fishing, working for the gas company, running a saloon, and being an alderman. Feeney attended Portland High School, Portland, Maine, where he was a successful fullback and defensive tackle. He earned the nickname "Bull" because of the way he would lower his helmet and charge the line. A Portland pub is named Bull Feeney's in his honor.
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