Saturday, July 23, 2011

John Ford

One of the great, early American film makers, John Ford was referred by Frank Capra as the "king of directors" and Orson Welles said his three favorite directors were "John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford." Ford won a still record holding four Academy Awards for Best Director.

The first of these was for The Informer (1935) which I just watched. Unfortunately, this is not one that stands up as well against time as most of Ford's other work. The protagonist is Gypo, a dim-witted thug who turns in a fellow criminal to collect the reward money, then blows it all during a night on the town. Gypo is played larger than life by Victor McLaglen, to the point that he is comically overacting. It was a performance that earned him the Oscar back then but would easily land him the Razzie today.

Ford's other Oscar wins were for The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), and The Quiet Man (1952). He was additionally nominated for Stagecoach (1939) and directed many other classics including The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962) and My Darling Clementine (1946).

65 to go...

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