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DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD (director/writer: Peter Bogdanovich; cinematographers: László Kovács/Brick Marquard/David Sammons/Gregory Sandor/Eric Sherman/Patrick Alexander Stewart; editors: Mark Fitzgerald/Richard Patterson; music: Gaylord Carter; cast: Orson Welles(Narrator); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: James R. Silke/George Stevens Jr; TCM-restored 2006 version; 1971)
A solid documentary on the life and films of influentialdirector John Ford.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Peter Bogdanovich (“The Last Picture Show”/”What’s Up Doc?”/”Paper Moon”) directs a solid documentary on the life and films of influential director John Ford (1895-1973). It’s a well-deserved tribute to one of America’s greatest directors (winning four Oscars for Best Director), who made such acclaimed films as She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache, Rio Grande, My Darling Clementine, The Young Lincoln, The Grapes of Wrath, The Quiet Man, The Horse Soldiers, Stagecoach and The Searchers.

This film was originally made in 1971, with an eightysomething John Ford, at his cranky best, interviewed, along with John Wayne, Henry Fonda and James Stewart. Orson Welles, a big fan of the director, provides the narration. Bogdanovich in 2006 made a more personal updated version of his previous film addinginterviews with the likes of Harry Carey Jr., Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Walter Hill and a clip of Katherine Hepburn visiting Ford’s deathbed. The doc includes, besides the interviews, many film clips of Ford’s films and anecdotes, and should be a delight for the great filmmaker’s fans and those who might not be that familiar with the legendary cinema figure.

Bogdanovich’s reverential treatment of the celebrated filmmaker despite Ford’s obvious contempt for him, makes for some interesting testy moments. What’s missing is info on Ford’s personal life and artistic visions, something B. never got around to filming.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”