Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford


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The Life and Times of John Ford

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The American West of John Ford - 1971 Western Documentary Bio - John Wayne

Preview — Print the Legend by Scott Eyman. Brilliant, stubborn, witty, rebellious, irascible, and contradictory, John Ford remains an enduring symbol of Hollywood's Golden Age and one of its most respected directors. Through a career that spanned decades and films -- among them such American masterpieces as The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance -- John Ford left a Brilliant, stubborn, witty, rebellious, irascible, and contradictory, John Ford remains an enduring symbol of Hollywood's Golden Age and one of its most respected directors.

Yet Ford himself was famously reticent about his personal life, often fabricating details and events. In this definitive look at the life and career of one of America's greatest directors, Scott Eyman offers a remarkable portrait of the man behind the legend that reveals how a saloon keeper's son from Maine helped to shape Hollywood's idea of America. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews.

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To ask other readers questions about Print the Legend , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Too Chatty I am always in for John Ford, and someone who writes a whole book about this brilliant director starts out with a lot of bonus points with me. The Life and Times of John Ford with a lot of enthusiasm only to find my eagerness grow lamer and lamer in the proces Too Chatty I am always in for John Ford, and someone who writes a whole book about this brilliant director starts out with a lot of bonus points with me.

The Life and Times of John Ford with a lot of enthusiasm only to find my eagerness grow lamer and lamer in the process, which I found sad as I really wanted to like that book as much as I liked what other people, like Kitses, Gallagher and McBride, had to say about my second-favourite director. Maybe, however, it was not too wise to compare Eyman with those three. McBride not only has searched for John Ford but also found him. Scott, on the other hand, looks here and there and often describes the trees rather than telling us something about the forest.

View 2 comments. Apr 09, Melinda rated it it was amazing Shelves: , biography , american-history , movies , non-fiction , western , wwii. Very well written and fascinating biography. Many things I had never known about John Ford: He was actually on Midway and filming the attack himself. Ford began directing various scenes and inviting himself to do things that no one wanted. Wayne, anxious to not anger Ford, gave Ford a 2nd unit to film with to keep him out of the way while Wayne himself directed the rest of the movie.

Ford and Very well written and fascinating biography. Ford and Henry Fonda got into a fistfight over how Ford was directing "Mr. Fonda had played Mr. Roberts in the Broadway play to great success. Ford was becoming more interested in what Jack Lemmon was doing who plays Ensign Pulver and was making many slap-stick scenes to accommodate Lemmon's comic timing. Ford and Fonda finished the movie, but were estranged afterwards. Because Ford could no longer call Fonda to act in his movies, Ford relied more and more on John Wayne as his actor of choice.

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Because of that, the direction his later films went was in the type of movies Wayne was successful in making, i. It is interesting to think what different trajectory Ford's latter movies would have made if he had not estranged Fonda. Ford's son, Pat, is quoted as saying that his father was a genius in the film industry but a lousy father. He adds this gloss: ''Ford says that the lies are necessary. Basically, hero worship -- like Tom Joad, he's all around us in the dark,'' the book breathlessly concludes -- and a belief that we have a continuing need to see Ford as an American legend are what Eyman has for a point of view.


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It is not, putting it gently, the most fruitful or subtle approach to this life -- particularly since it often leads Eyman to willfully ignore or, at best, blithely brush past his own frequently impressive research, and to ignore the obvious and disturbing links between the director's personality and his work.

John Ford was not a nice person. He was an alcoholic, given to epic binges. He was also a director who delighted in cruelly, publicly humiliating his casts and crews, a man who carried petty grudges for punishing decades and someone whose withdrawals and silences profoundly damaged his family.

Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford by Scott Eyman

He was, as Eyman puts it without following up on the thought , ''at ease'' with only one kind of relationship, ''the harsh but loving father and an eager-to-learn son-supplicant. Eyman, the author of a biography of Ernst Lubitsch, is forthright, often painfully detailed, in his descriptions of Ford's many descents into inexcusability.

But he persistently misunderstands these ugly anecdotes. To him, they are evidence of forgivably curmudgeonly eccentricity. I think they represent a defect of character, the evasion of which consistently and deeply damaged Ford's work. Take, for example, ''The Searchers'' For Eyman like just about everyone these days , it is Ford's masterpiece, and there is much to admire about this tale of a frontiersman's obsessive, seven-year search for his niece, abducted by Comanche raiders: John Wayne's raging, towering performance as Ethan Edwards; Ford's strong imagery; a potent theme -- the violent racism endemic to America's westering saga.

For Ethan does not intend to rescue his niece, he intends until the last minute to kill her for becoming a hostile chief's squaw. But this is a spoiled masterpiece. Partly that's because Edwards's companion through the years is a young half-breed played by Jeffrey Hunter , whom he habitually calls ''blankethead'' and always treats contemptuously; partly it is because the younger man is given an Indian ''bride,'' who is chubby, sexually obsessed and the object of Ford's tasteless ridicule; partly it is because whenever the searchers return to civilization they confront a stupefying subplot about Hunter's long-postponed marriage, which features one of those endless, pointless brawls that Ford alone seems to have found amusing.

Flaws of this kind achieved their apotheosis in ''The Quiet Man'' , which won Ford the last of his six Academy Awards and Eyman's praise as a ''benevolent masterpiece.

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