Chapter 10

John Ford: Poetry and Heroism

Introduction

Many directors are referred to as a “man’s director,” and many directors have a poetic style, but no filmmaker has dealt with men or visual poetry in quite the same way John Ford did. In short, Ford made films about men—famous men such as Abraham Lincoln (“Young Mr. Lincoln”) and Wyatt Earp (“My Darling Clementine”) and simple men such as Tom Joad (“The Grapes of Wrath”). Other directors have also gravitated to men and male themes. Howard Hawks (“Only Angels Have Wings,” “Red River”) was interested in a man’s rite of passage, that test in life that makes him a man. Raoul Walsh (“Santa Fe Trail”) was interested in men as roustabouts (“The Uncontrollable Male”), and Henry Hathaway (“Nevada Smith”) ...

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