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
It may not be as complex of a film as Ford's greatest work, and it may be one of the weakest scripts he ever worked with, but if you don't think this is one of the most visually astounding films ever made, you are out of your fuckin' mind.
This film seemed to be a victim of location shooting, as the final product didn't appear to be very stylistically Ford-esque. It looked to me as though he wanted to get out of the scorching heat of the desert as fast as possible, determining the care that most of the shots were given. The few scenes that were obviously shot on a set hinted at a possibly much better film. Also, it should have been black and white.