John Ford in Focus

Essays on the Filmmaker’s Life and Work


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About the Book

Best known for his enduring westerns (Stagecoach, The Searchers) and classic films (The Grapes of Wrath, The Quiet Man) American film director John Ford received an unprecedented four Academy Awards for Best Director over his lifetime. This collection of essays offers a comprehensive examination of Ford’s life and career, revealing the frequent intersections between Ford’s personal life and artistic vision. Part one provides an overview of Ford’s importance in the early development of cinema. Part two focuses on selected aspects of Ford’s personal life, specifically his genealogy, Irish heritage, and roots in the coastal community of Portland, Maine. Part three situates Ford’s films within a broader cultural and intellectual context, exploring theories that explain why Ford’s movies have sparked such interest, debate, and enjoyment among Hollywood film critics and the general cinema community.

About the Author(s)

Kevin L. Stoehr is an associate professor of humanities and the chair of the Division of Humanities in the College of General Studies at Boston University. He lives in Wells, Maine.

Michael C. Connolly is associate professor of history at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kevin L. Stoehr and Michael C. Connolly
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 46 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3215-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1862-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
General Introduction
Michael C. Connolly and Kevin L. Stoehr      1

Part One: Ford’s Vision and Importance
Introduction to Part One
Kevin L. Stoehr      5
A Tribute to John Ford
Peter Bogdanovich      7
John Ford in the Twenty-First Century: Why He Still Matters
Scott Eyman      14
Ford and the Romantic Tradition
Charles Silver      17

Part Two: Life in Maine, Ireland, and Beyond
Introduction to Part Two
Michael C. Connolly      35
A Bull Is Reared on Munjoy Hill: John Ford’s Irish Upbringing in Portland, Maine
Michael C. Connolly      42
John Ford: A Memorial
Maidhc P. Ó Conaola (Mike P. Connolly), translated by Kenneth E. Nilsen      68
John Ford and the Feeney Family of Galway and Portland
Matthew Jude Barker      75
The John Ford Tour
Margaret Feeney LaCombe      82
John Ford’s Arrival in Hollywood
Dan Ford      93
Reflections on the Battle of Midway: An Interview with John Ford (August 17, 1943)      102
We Shot D-Day on Omaha Beach: An Interview with John Ford
Peter Martin      111
John Ford’s Use of Gaelic in The Quiet Man: An Interview with Nora Folan
Kenneth E. Nilsen      122

Part Three: Ford’s Films
Introduction to Part Three
Kevin L. Stoehr      129
“If You Can Call It an Art…”: Pictorial Style in John Ford’s Universal Westerns (1917–1918)
Tom Paulus      131
Beyond the Blessings of Civilization: John Ford’s Stagecoach and the Myth of the Western Frontier
Robert C. Sickels      142
John Ford’s Festive Comedy: Ireland Imagined in The Quiet Man
William C. Dowling      153
The Quiet Man and the Boxing Film: Allusions and Influences
Leger Grindon      169
Ways of Knowing: Peter Lehman and The Searchers
Tom Paulus      176
Populist Motifs in John Ford’s Films
Roy Grundmann      187
Heroism, Faith, and Idealism in 7 Women and Other Films by John Ford
Kevin L. Stoehr      205

About the Contributors      223
Works Cited      225
Index      231

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Fascinating…very welcome…sharp, clear, informative…most highly recommended”—Rogue Cinema