Searching For John Ford: A Life by Joseph McBride - review by Frank McLynn

Frank McLynn

How the West Was Filmed

Searching For John Ford: A Life


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JOHN FORD AND Alfred Hitchcock are the greatest film-makers of all time. Compared to them, even brilliant movie directors like Orson Welles, Spielberg, Huston, Hawks, Bergman, Fellini and Bunuel seem ordinary. Ford's achievement largely speaks for itself. outstanding movies - Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, They Were Expendable, Young Mr Lincoln - would not even make it onto my shortlist of Ford greats, elbowed aside by the even more phenomenal Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley, Wagonmaster, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and, above all, The Searchers. A full biography of the genius who produced this oeuvre is more than welcome, and Joseph McBride Ws one's best expectations.

It is fascinating to contrast the methods, milieux and mental worlds of Hitchcock and Ford. Hitchcock's universe is urban, his primary interest the psychology of his characters; his approach is Freudian and women loom large in his work. Ford's - universe is rural, his primary interest sociological (hence the concentration

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