il Western – John Ford

The American film director John Ford was born in 1894, in Maine. He felt a strong attraction for his Irish roots which he explored but reached popularity for his poetic visions of the American West, depicting its harsh (duri) heroes and pioneering families. Ford left Maine for Hollywood in 1913, and worked there as a stagehand (macchinista teatrale) and prop man (tecnico). In 1817 Ford directed the western film The Tornado, the first of a long series of silent films (film muti), many of which were Westerns. In 1934 he shot Stagecoach (Ombre Rosse), starring John Wayne, his close friend (amico intimo). This film helped make Wayne became a star and the two continued to work together over the years. In 1935 he received the Academy Award  (Oscar) for the Irish film  The Informer. These successes were followed by the adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel, Grapes of Wrath (Furore – 1940), which brought Ford his second Academy Award. The film starred (interpretato) Henry Fonda, another Ford’s friend with whom he had already made other films like Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) and Young Mr. Lincoln (1939). With How Green Was My Valley (1941) Ford won the third Academy Award for Best Director. In late 1940s Ford shot his most popular films: Fort Apache (1948) with Wayne and Fonda; She Wore a Yellow Ribbon(1949) and Rio Grande (1950). A successful film which was not a western, but a romantic drama was  The Quiet Man (1952) in which Wayne is an American boxer (pugile) with a bad reputation who moves to Ireland where he falls in love with a local woman. During the later years , Ford continued to create great Westerns and worked with Jimmy Stewart on several films, including the classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). His last film was instead about a group of female missionaries working in China in the 1930s,  7 Women (1966) starring Anne Bancroft. Ford died on August 31, 1973, in Palm Desert, California.