Cover image for Searching for John Ford : a life
Searching for John Ford : a life
McBride, Joseph.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
838 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.3.F65 M38 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Ce livre historique peut contenir de nombreuses coquilles et du texte manquant. Les acheteurs peuvent generalement telecharger une copie gratuite scannee du livre original (sans les coquilles) aupres de l'editeur. Non reference. Non illustre. 1888 edition. Extrait: ... loin un fouillis, un lacis, une confusion de ramilles maigres qui se perdent dans du violace, saupoudre d'une poudre de neige, leur donnant la legerete d'une foret de plumes. Et, sous un ciel sourd, lame de bleu froid et de jaune pale, la route tout au loin, blanche, blanche, blanche, avec ses frequentations, les pas dela nuit, la trace de l'animal, l'impression de son pied et la bifurcation de la corne sur la blancheur du chemin.--Lu un peu du Memorial De Sainte-helene. A faire, dans Napoleon, tout un chapitre sur cette tete, un monde, --ce cerveau plein des affaires du monde et des comptes de boutons d'une armee (1). / 7 septembre.--Nous aimons ces changements d'existence, ces triomphes de l'animalite au retour de la chasse, ces coups de fouet de fatigue, ces griseries des fondions physiques, ou le boire, le man (1) Un moment nous avons eu l'idee de faire une histoire du cerveau de Napoleon, idee qui nous a persecutes quelques annees, mais qui a ete abandonnee, sans qu'il y ait eu d'autre travail que des notes prises. ger, le dormir, deviennent comme des felicites divi nes de betes.--La vie, ah la vie, meme pour les plus heureux et les plus ecrases de fortune, meme pour les meilleurs. Un saint, un grand seigneur, un proprietaire de deux millions de rente, un homme qui a eu une si bonne volonte au bien et au beau, --j'ai nomme le duc de Luynes, --un jour accable par la vie, ne put retenir: - Mais je suis donc maudit - 25 decembre.--Jour de Noel. Delicatement aimable et bien femme, la

Author Notes

Joseph McBride is a film historian and critic. A former reporter and reviewer for Daily Variety in Hollywood, he is an adjunct professor of film and literature in the Irish studies program at New College of California in San Francisco

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Film director John Ford presents biographers a tough challenge. Colorful as his long life was, his contradictory personality, emotional reticence, and intransigence with interviewers make it unlikely that anyone will ever limn a definitive portrait of him. McBride is better qualified, however, than most of the others who have tried. He coauthored one of the first significant books on Ford in 1974 and has spent 30 years researching this one. He resists other writers' tendency to treat Ford's life and works separately, instead showing, for example, how Ford's frequent themes of family and assimilation reflect his sense of ethnic identity as the son of Irish immigrants. McBride mines the mountain of preceding Ford criticism deeply as he adds valuable insight into considerations of such classics as Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Quiet Man. If McBride's Ford study doesn't disclose major new information or shed much new light, as his revelatory Frank Capra (1992) did, it is still a necessity for film studies collections and a good primary biography for others. --Gordon Flagg

Publisher's Weekly Review

After being called the "greatest poet of the Western saga," film director Ford responded, "I am not a poet, and I don't know what a Western saga is. I would say that is bullshit." Yet FordDwho made such classic westerns as Stagecoach, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Man Who Shot Liberty ValanceDhelped define the idea of the western as a quintessential American story for audiences around the world. This first full-length critical biography presents a complex, fascinating portrait of a troubled and conflicted artist and man. Born John Feeney, he was an Irish outsider in Yankee New England. He began working in the film industry in 1914 as a studio ditch digger, but was soon acting in films and, a few years later, directing them. By the early 1930s, he had achieved considerable artistic and commercial fame with The Informer. McBride (Frank Capra) elegantly and cogently weaves Ford's personal life into the fabric of his career. He is at his best describing how Ford's political sentiments emerged in his work (especially the antiracism of Steamboat Round the Bend and The Searchers) as well as the director's move from liberal to conservative politics during Hollywood's red-baiting years and the HUAC hearings. He gives an equally astute delineation of Ford's emotional lifeDa tempestuous marriage, a possible affair with Katharine Hepburn, his reputation as a tough guy and his alcoholism. Drawing upon a wealth of critical material plus more than 125 interviews with Ford's colleagues, family and friends, McBride has produced a fine, long-needed biography of a pivotal American artist. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

"My name's John Ford. I make Westerns." Ford preferred to let his work speak for itself, and his abrasive encounters with film scholars have become legendary. In fact, "Pappy" Ford, who fancied himself a journeyman director, would probably have been perplexed by these two recent additions to the rapidly growing library of Ford film criticism. Arriving hard on the heels of Scott Eyman's comprehensive Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford (LJ 10/1/99), McBride's weighty tome, several decades in preparation, paints a similar portrait: Ford was an insecure alcoholic whose gruff, even sadistic treatment of family, friends, cast, and crew masked his sensitive, sentimental nature. Complex and contradictory like many of his films Ford was a man who stood up to McCarthyite blacklisters but later churned out crude propaganda in support of the Vietnam war. He celebrated tradition, family, and community but was a miserable failure as husband and father. As Eyman did, McBride (Frank Capra; Steven Spielberg) draws on exhaustive research and interviews, but he has the advantage of a few memorably brief meetings with the Great Man himself. Ford left an impressive if uneven body of work, and McBride does it justice, examining each film in illuminating detail. Still, although McBride's book is very deserving, public and academic libraries that cannot collect both biographies should stick to Eyman's more streamlined telling. Studlar (film and English, Univ. of Michigan) and Bernstein (film, Emory Univ.) take readers into academic territory, offering nine essays on the work plus a "dossier" of articles on the man and filmmaker. Robin Wood leads off with a classic critique, questioning whether Ford's late films measure up to his early work. Other essays discuss the role of women and religion in Ford's film universe, and the hotly disputed controversy about whether his last epic Cheyenne Autumn was a "mea culpa" for previous insensitive portrayals of the American Indian. Westerns is recommended for academic collections. Stephen F. Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This is McBride's second book on Ford; the first, John Ford (1974), was a critical study of his films written with Michael Wilmington. The director of such classics as Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley, The Quiet Man, and The Searchers (1956), plus at least 140 other films, Ford is often regarded as the greatest storyteller among American directors. It comes as no surprise that he told previous biographers as many fictional stories about himself as factual accounts. McBride's biography documents in great detail all of the facts about Ford's life and debunks the fictions in other biographies--including Pappy (CH, Mar'80), written by his grandson Dan Ford. McBridge depicts a sophisticated visual artist who constantly avoided serious discussion of his films with critics and portrayed himself as an artistic primitive. He shows a man who during the Hollywood Red Scare did his best to straddle the fence. As an artist, Ford wanted to lampoon certain conservative positions; as a rear admiral of the US Navy, he was honored by President Richard Nixon. Complex, shy, and driven, Ford engendered love among those he hurt most. Including 75 pages of notes, this book is the definitive biography on the director. All readers. R. Blackwood emeritus, City Colleges of Chicago

Table of Contents

Introduction: My Search for John Fordp. 1
Chapter 1 "'Tisn't the castle that makes the king"p. 15
Chapter 2 A faraway fellap. 37
Chapter 3 "A dollar for a bloody nose"p. 75
Chapter 4 "A job of work"p. 101
Chapter 5 Directed by John Fordp. 135
Chapter 6 "Without a harbor, man is lost"p. 165
Chapter 7 Sean and Katep. 214
Chapter 8 "No place for an Auteur"p. 245
Chapter 9 Natani Nezp. 269
Chapter 10 "Yes--this really happened"p. 335
Chapter 11 "I am a director of Westerns"p. 416
Chapter 12 "Go searchin' way out there"p. 520
Chapter 13 "There's no future in America"p. 600
Sourcesp. 721
Filmographyp. 797
Acknowledgmentsp. 805
Indexp. 813