Maine-born John Ford (born Sean Aloysius O’Fearna) originally went to Hollywood in the shadow of his older brother, Francis, an actor/writer/director who had worked on Broadway. Originally a laborer, propman’s assistant, and occasional stuntman for his brother, he rose to became an assistant director and supporting actor before turning to directing in 1917. Ford became best known for his Westerns, of which he made dozens through the 1920s, but he didn’t achieve status as a major director until the mid-‘30s, when his films for RKO (The Lost Patrol 1934, The Informer 1935), 20th Century Fox (Young Mr. Lincoln 1939, The Grapes of Wrath 1940), and Walter Wanger (Stagecoach 1939), won over the public, the critics, and earned various Oscars and Academy nominations. His 1940s films included one military-produced documentary co-directed by Ford and cinematographer Gregg Toland, December 7th (1943), which creaks badly today (especially compared with… read more
"When he was doing a picture on the Fox lot, the associate producer questioned the way he was setting up a shot. Ford asked him how he would like to do it, and the man explained it to him. Ford very obligingly made the changes, shot the scene that way, and then asked if it was satisfactory. When he heard that it was, he took the film magazine off the camera, and handed it to the associate producer with the words, 'Here's your scene. Now I will shoot it my way.'" (Colin Young)
America on celluloid. A vision of the past transcending the circumstances under which they were created. Myth and history in the same body of work. A master.