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
“In the cinema sophistication wears strange colours, and the most austere judge will admire a piece which to a reading man may appear tearful tosh. Nothing sadder than to watch some devoted film critic trying to explain to a dramatic or a literary critic that to appreciate a film you have to look at it, not just listen to it. Human desperation can go no further.” Dilys Powell, 1953
Just watched this...needless to say my emotional state has degenerated into some sort of "ground zero." Perhaps Ford's most thematically and formally complex film, as well as his most personal statement. Not as a person, but as an artist. How many films are there that are this operatic but this beautiful? And what an ending. "Jeb, I gotta get my medicine! I gotta get my heart started!"
Also: Richard Brody on Jerry Lewis, Johnnie To in Udine and more.
There is a terrific series titled ”Auto-Remakes” starting today at Anthology Film Archives in New York. The series, which runs through March
Why windows? (Maybe there aren’t that many.) The Sun Shines Bright (1953), like so many John Ford movies, takes place in a