In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb darkest hour ver3

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour stands apart from more routine historical dramas.

Thumb man who invented christmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Not particularly keen on nuance or subtlety, this is a film in which everything, especially Stevens’ decidedly manic take on Dickens, is pitched as broadly…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

John Ford at sea

The audience was almost entirely seated when the big old white-haired man came down the side aisle. There was applause, and John Ford's loud "thank you" cracked like a whip through the auditorium.

Ford still possesses his bullhorn voice and sharp wit. Born Sean O'Fienne in 1895 in Ireland, he directed his first film in 1917 and has made nearly 200 others. Saturday night he watched one of them again, 'The Long Voyage Home" (1940), and then answered questions of the Documentary Film Group at the University of Chicago.

Advertisement

Some of his comments were directed to the audience, but most were aimed at the print of "The Long Voyage Home." It was a 16mm version, "edited" for television, and Ford found it a disgrace.

"A disgrace, a rotten blasted shame," he said. "I'm humiliated by this print. They've cut it up for television, and in the process someone has lifted three connecting sequences bodily out of the film. What a crime! The people who watch this on television must think I'm out of my mind."

There was laughter. "There's nothing funny about it," he said. "It's like having the best pages blotted out of your M.A. thesis. If it weren't for the good nuns present from my own religion, I'd say God damn television!" A smile flickered on his lips. "But the good nuns are present, so I won't."

But then he talked seriously about the film. "The sea had always meant a great deal to me," he said. "I wanted to make a sea picture, but I could never find a story where they didn't sneak a girl onboard.

"Finally Eugene O'Neill suggested to me that three of his plays could be strung together to make a film, and he was right. What's more, Gene liked the film. Once a month, on a Thursday, United Artists would screen the 'Voyage' for him. It was a tremendous compliment to me that the author of the plays liked the work of the author of the film."

Ford was asked whether his attitude toward the Western had changed during a career which included "The Iron Horse" (1924), "Stagecoach", (1939), "My Darling Clementine" (1946) and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962).

"No, still the same as ever," he said, tongue slightly in cheek. "I never go to see a Western and I'd never think of reading a Western novel or story. I only make them to get away from the smog of Hollywood. It's a lot of fun out there on location, in the good company of cowboys and stuntmen. I'm just a hard-nosed working director."

What about the changes in his work between "Iron Horse" and "Liberty Valance"?

"Ah, 'Liberty Valance.' Yes. The man didn't kiss his horse and ride off into the sunset."

Advertisement

Popular Blog Posts

Netflix's Marvel Spin-off "The Punisher" is a Lightweight

A review of Netflix's new Marvel series, "The Punisher."

Why I Stopped Watching Woody Allen Movies

Stop watching movies made by assholes. It'll be OK.

60 Minutes on: "Wonder Woman"

One of the best superhero films, in large part because the title character sincerely believes in values larger than a...

William Peter Blatty: 1928-2017

The work of the late author, writer and director William Peter Blatty will continue to haunt the dreams of readers an...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus