mathiasa wrote: ↑May 5th, 2020, 8:02 am
3. Fort Apache (1948). The more I watch Ford's movies, the more I realize he's the only "great" director who does not have a single masterpiece. His movies, so far I've seen them, are all slightly above average (at best). I wondered how such a guy could have so big a career in Hollywood.
A short research confirmed by doubts, he was a statist, always willing to appease to the powers in charge. In the 30s he supported the crazy, proto-fascist New Deal regulation and started his own Hollywood unionization.
Then later, he had a questionable praxis concerning black lists, red baiting etc.
And further, he went on to mindlessly support Nixon and the unethical, brutal war in Vietnam, insulting all the heroes who refused to go there. He even helped making a pro Vietnam propaganda film, despite already knowing, that the war in Vietnam was for nothing. In this way, he may have helped innocent young men to needlessly die in a yellow land. The death of these boys, his fellow countrymen, was less to him, than his own career, which by that time, was almost already dead anyway. (I recommend watching The Post by Spielberg, where US president put their own career over the lifes of uncountable you men). Wow, what a man...
Now, this is explains why this abomination of real hero got support from "ruling class" - but why was he so beloved with some parts of the audience? In my mind, this has a) to do with the "George W. Bush-Effect". His movies were so average (like Bush's face), that every wanna be director or every wanna be somebody could fantasize about having success himself in movie industry. and b) with the kind of propaganda and lack of education a typical American was exposed to. It's sad, and it's time to bury John Ford and his "old virtues" (killing, torturingdgburning innocent foreigners, sucking the military's cock and what not) should be put a rest. But not necessarily his movies, because as I've said, they have some some kind of small value by being sometimes better than the average, as in this movie: 5.4/10
I could hardly disagree more.
Ford had a number of masterpieces, but it's easy to miss that because his direction is no frills. An interesting take on his films is that they can be viewed as a cumulative story, Ford's view of American history from the early days of the American revolution in Drums Along the Mohawk
to the present. He made westerns, so his primary focus was on Manifest Destiny, which ends with his lament for (and celebration of) the closing of the west in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
. He mourns the end of the classic cowboy, the violent Doniphon, but acknowledges that Stoddard, who is bringing law to the frontier, is the future. Jimmy Stewart gets the girl, not John Wayne.
Your view that the New Deal was proto-fascist would not find a great deal of agreement in the US. Most Americans, when they think of it, regard it (inaccurately) as socialist, although I think that most Republicans, past and present, regard it as quasi-communist or just communist. I assume that Ford was a conservative, although he did make two of the most leftist Hollywood movies of the 1940s (The Grapes of Wrath
and How Green Was My Valley
). I have chosen to avoid too much inquiry into the politics of Hollywood, but I doubt that Ford knew that the Vietnam War was for nothing. I don't think that McNamara or Kissinger briefed him that they knew that they couldn't win but were trying to create the conditions for the best withdrawal agreement that they could get by killing as many Vietnamese as possible.
One of my favorite movie stories (I think told by Bogdanovich) is about the Director's Guild meeting in which Cecil B. DeMille proposed that all members be required to swear an oath of loyalty to the United States. Ford got up and said, "My name is John Ford. I make westerns," and then explained why DeMille's proposal was un-American, and then the proposal was voted down.