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Hardcover Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford Book

ISBN: 0684811618

ISBN13: 9780684811611

Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." This line from director John Ford's film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance serves as an epigraph for the life of the legendary filmmaker.Through a... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Excellent book about John Ford

I have read a number of the available books about John Ford. While this book doesn't convey a lot of the warmth that Harry Carey's personal treatment does, it is perhaps the best attempt to sum up what made John Ford one of Hollywood's greatest directors. It is clear the author has made an intensive study of Ford's work, and even more clear that he admires it. This book largely doesn't try to judge Ford, just to explain him. For that, we owe Eyman a great degree of gratitude. Too many other authors have, confronted with the genius of Ford's direction, tried to discount it because of the cracks in his personal approach to life and actors, or possibly because of personal jealousy. You must judge Ford the director on his work, and his time, not on our opinions of what he could have done better in his personal life, or according to our "politically correct" views of what he should have done, and this book does an excellent job on judging Ford by the standards of his time, and his life. This is a masterful attempt at explaining Hollywood's master director.

A superb biography of a great American artist.

There are five great "classic" American directors( excluding foreign born figures such as Wilder and Hitchcock): D.W. Griffith,Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, Orson Welles, and John Ford. While Griffith was -often-too primitive in his sensibility, Capra too sentimental,and Orson Welles too experimental and unfinished, Hawks and Ford come closest to leaving only the slightest shadow of a doubt.Hawks had had his biographer; now, his friend and rival, John Ford, has one as well. This book is a masterpiece of research and critical sensibility.Eylan has grasped the essential truth about Ford..he was the great cinematic poet of America, and to extent, one of the great poets of Irealand as well.Eylan is honest about the virtues and faults of Ford the man and honest as well about the virtues and faults of his films.This fine book is more than a contribution to Film history, it is a contribution to American-and Human - self understanding.In this, it has much in common with the best films of John Ford.

The legend becomes truth. . .

To some, John Ford's films might seem like simplistic chunks of overly sentimental, Irish blarney, and there are times when they steer dangerously close to those shores (just try to watch THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS these days), but what he put up on that screen were some of the most powerful images and incredible characters ever captured on celluloid. Scott Eyman's book cuts through the fabrications and half-truths to present a picture of a man who was an amazing mass of contradictions. He was both loyal friend and petty bully; a brilliant artist who would only say he was doing a job; a director who insisted on sober co-workers but who could turn into a raging alcoholic in the bat of an eye; and a person who concealed a humanitarian side behind one of the most gruff exteriors since Scrooge. This is the book that both Ford fans, worshippers and mavens have been seeking, and one that both lovers of cinema history and biography will admire. If you love a good biography without being a movie buff, you will like this book. Well researched and structured in a way that keeps both the films and Ford's life in perspective, one cannot imagine a better book on the subject appearing for a long time. Filled with some good surprises (how Ford sided with many blacklisted people in the industry is one of them) and beautiful illustrations, this book ranks with Eyman's previous book on Lubitsch in the clarity of its writing and the understanding of its subject. One even suspects Ford might grudgingly approve of the tome, after cussing out the author and throwing the book across the room, then quietly asking someone to pick it up and give it back to him.

This book is the best introduction to John Ford life & work.

At the end of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," the newspaper reporter interviewing James Stewart discovers that Stewart's hero didn't really kill Lee Marvin's villain. His response is: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." That's just what John Ford did in all 140 of his films over five decades. Ford used a fledgeling medium and created it into an art form. In doing so, he reformulated the American "legend," how we understand our past. Much of how we see ourselves as Americans, for better or worse, has its basis in the film depictions that Ford created. There have been numerous books on Ford and his films, but Scott Eyman's is undoubtedly the most comprehensive treatment of a brilliant artist who was also a deeply flawed man. Previous biographies of Ford have either concentrated on the meanings of his films or on his personal life. Eyman's book does both, but he also looks at how Ford directed actors, how he related to them and how he elicited such great performances from them (sometimes gently and sometimes harshly). No other book on Ford has done this to the same degree, and this is what makes the book so good. Also, Eyman interviewed dozens of Ford's peers from the silents through the sixties. The book is well written, comprehensive and fair in the treatment of its subject. More importantly, like a good Ford movie, it never ceases to hold your attention. I came away from this book with a better appreciation for the films, and a healthy respect for an often difficult yet gifted director. Orson Welles was once asked who he thought were the three greatest American directors. His response was "John Ford, John Ford and John Ford." Whether you agree with Welles or not, Eyman's biography is a great read.
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