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Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond [Kindle Edition]

Scott Allen Nollen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

These were unique, complex, personal and professional relationships between master director John Ford and his two favorite actors, John Wayne and Ward Bond. The book provides a biography of each and a detailed exploration of Ford's work as it was intertwined with the lives and work of both Wayne and Bond (whose biography here is the first ever published).
The book reveals fascinating accounts of ingenuity, creativity, toil, perseverance, bravery, debauchery, futility, abuse, masochism, mayhem, violence, warfare, open- and closed-mindedness, control and chaos, brilliance and stupidity, rationality and insanity, friendship and a testing of its limits, love and hate--all committed by a "half-genius, half-Irish" cinematic visionary and his two surrogate sons: Three Bad Men.

Editorial Reviews


"One of the most impressive elements of "Three Bad Men" is Nollen's familiarity with every film he discusses. For any title mentioned we get at least an honest critical evaluation and often a little opinion too, all expressed eloquently yet in language that any film fan can understand." -Cliff Aliperti, Immortal Ephemera

"'Three Bad Men' is a must have book for any fan of Ford, Wayne or Bond; and it is essential reading for anyone who hopes to really understand these three men. Nollen not only talks about their lives apart from each other, but also about their lives together, something no biographer has ever really examined before. And without that type of biographical examination, one cannot hope to understand these three men as completely as Nollen obviously does." -The New Frontier

"'Three Bad Men' is a literal who's who of Hollywood between the late 1920s and the early 1970s. It starts and ends with one of the greatest film directors to have ever graced a Hollywood set, John Ford. In between the covers of this great book you will run across every name you have ever heard of in motion pictures. . . and then some. The book interweaves this detailed Hollywood history with the complex and, dare I say, somewhat strange relationship between Ford, movie megastar John Wayne and everyman's favorite actor Ward Bond." -Carla Ives, Performing Arts Examiner

"You've probably got shelves loaded with books on Ford and Wayne. Some are indispensable, some are good, some aren't so hot. I'd put 'Three Bad Men' in the indispensable stack. What Nollen does that sets 'Three Bad Men' apart is use Bond's biography as the backbone on which the rest of the book hangs. Nollen covers the films they made together, along with the pictures that came between them. Nollen strikes an almost perfect balance between the meticulously researched and the engagingly told. I found this a fun, fast, enlightening read -- up there with the Bogdanovich book." -Fifties Westerns

About the Author

Scott Allen Nollen was educated in film and history at the University of Iowa. He has written and edited more than 40 books on the history of film, literature and music.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6591 KB
  • Print Length: 407 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0786458542
  • Publisher: McFarland (March 22, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476601607
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476601601
  • ASIN: B00C7C2EFI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,749 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Cinematic Giants May 29, 2013
I just finished reading this in-depth examination of the lives and work of these three cinematic giants (John Ford, John Wayne, and Ward Bond), and it's a fascinating study for burgeoning old-Hollywood aficionados and serious fans of cinema alike. Chronologically tracing the intertwining lives of these three "good-bad men" who were not unlike the characters in their films (Ford directed Bond and Wayne in nearly thirty pictures each), Nollen is at once objective and affectionate in his analysis, and there's a wealth of source material including documents, letters, telegrams, and plenty of rare photographs. There are riveting anecdotes, some great yarn-spinning, and the work definitely touches on their peccadillos and absurdities, though never salaciously.
It's deftly written and never dry; while many books of this kind become bogged down by academic posturing, Nollen remains true to the spirit of his subjects and opts for a two-fisted, no B.S. approach. I really appreciate how deeply he throws himself into the work, freely admitting "a meaningful (though a bit one-sided) conversation with a tombstone or two." He's as a film writer should be- intense, obsessive, and highly-focused; reverent without succumbing to hollow adulation. Highly recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting detailed narrative of John Ford's interaction with two of his most famous stars: John Wayne and Ward Bond. John Ford was a dictator in every sense of the word. But because he was also a genius when it came to making a first class movie, his "stars" put up with his abuse and actually loved and respected him. You'll learn all sorts of behind-the-scenes goings on, that you never ever imagined could have happened. Anyone who is a fan of John Wayne and Ward Bond will find it fascinating reading!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pappy, Duke and the Judge May 7, 2013
By Gorch
As a lifelong film fan, I've read many books about Ford and Wayne and Bond is always mentioned, usually as the BUTT of a ribald joke. Nollen manages to fill what was obviously a void by giving Bond's life and work equal measure. The research and meticulous documentation of each film and personal anecdote is impressive.
What I found fascinating was the nurturing/toxic relationship between Pappy Ford and his two surrogate sons - Duke Wayne and The Judge, so nicknamed by Wayne because Bond spent so much time on the football bench. All three were artists and prone to crushing alcoholic binges. The correspondence among the three indicate they could express their love on paper but were verbally and physically abusive when together.
I practically devoured this book and have re-read passages again. I know I'll be referring to it in the future, so the price isn't an issue with me.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unprecedented First April 14, 2013
John Ford we know. John Wayne we know. Ward Bond we don't know.

Think of Scott Allen Nollen's "Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond" (McFarland & Company, Inc.) as something unprecedented: Bond's first biography. Think of it in the same breath as a page-turning portrait of a masochistic father figure and his two surrogate sons, one of whom sets the other on fire (that's as much of a spoiler alert as I'll allow).

Throughout his copiously researched volume Nollen implies that the well-examined Ford and Wayne cannot be fully understood apart from their intimate, twisted friendship with Bond, whose equine posterior was transmogrified into an iconic image in many a classic Western.

But don't take my word for it. Read the book now.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, and well served September 3, 2013
I'm very glad that this book exists, as it sheds light on the triangle of friendship/workship between Ford, Wayne, and Bond, as they created some of the best films ever made. THREE BAD MEN has stirred some comments, and some controversy, which is as it should be, since these men led controversial lives, particularly as we look at them in retrospect. However, the point the book brings up is that their achievements, both together and as individuals, shouldn't be muddled by a view of who we think the men were personally, especially because of their politics, which were also more complex than we've been given to believe in other works. Ford, Wayne and Bond are difficult topics to cover, as I know from my own writings, because the opinions on the men as men differ so wildly, and everything is now lost to memory. As an example, writer/director Burt Kennedy, who had a good relationship with Ford, and one he could laugh through with Wayne, couldn't stand Bond. Or, Ford's support of Joseph Mankiewicz when he was being hounded by the right-wing of the DGA, led by Cecil B. DeMille, to step down as president. Ford stood up for J.M., which many say saved his position at the DGA, but still maintained his friendship with DeMille. A contradiction, as is the fact that Wayne and Ford both inspired amazing loyalty in co-workers, even when making things tough on set, sometimes for everyone, and sometimes for each other. THREE BAD MEN addresses the pieces of this puzzle, that don't always fit neatly together.
Today, the common thinking about Wayne, Ford and Bond is that they saw everything in terms of stark, simple contrasts, with no grays in between, which isn't true. They were complex men, who achieved greatness, but also paid some prices along the way. THREE BAD MEN book serves its subject well, by showing us the deep, sometimes damning, friendship of three icons of American movies.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
good read; lots of back room stuff.
Published 13 days ago by kenneth j. pulliam
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great book, that was marred by the liberal attitude of the author. Hollywood shines through every time.
Published 4 months ago by John K. Sanderlin
1.0 out of 5 stars Very BORING. Not unless you want to know about Ford
It really is advertised the wrong way and leads you to believe that it is going to share about all three men. Read more
Published 4 months ago by marcia mulloy
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tale of Three (Good) Bad Men!
Scott Allen Nollen offers up an impressive triple biography of John Ford, John Wayne and Ward Bond in THREE BAD MEN. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Michael OConnor
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the scenes
This work is an unwashed look at film making and the people who make them. It reinforces the age old view that artists are often very tormented and driven. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ken Counts
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
As a longtime fan of John Ford and the great character actor Ward Bond, I had been looking forward to this book for a long time. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Todd Jacobsen
3.0 out of 5 stars A chore to read
This could have been a fascinating book, but it reads like notes from which one might write a fascinating book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ann Manes
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanizing 3 Legends
Insightful and revealing narration of the relationship between 3 Hollywood legends. Whole new view of how why legends become human.
Published 9 months ago by Spider1
3.0 out of 5 stars About the Ford, Wayne and Bond, . . . with focus on Bond.
Generally speaking, overall a good book. There was a "focus" upon the individual good and bad "merits" of the personalities of the three men involved, Misters... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Diecast Joe
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice informative read.
This book was written from a different perspective that you usually don't see about the Hollywood icons.I enjoyed mostly the eye opening information on Ward Bond. Read more
Published 11 months ago by ruger4
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More About the Author

Scott Allen Nollen is a historian, musician and occasional filmmaker who has written and edited over 40 books on the history of the cinema, popular music and literature. He received his BA in Film and Honors History and MA in United States and Modern European History from the University of Iowa. His two books on Hollywood icon Boris Karloff are considered definitive: "Boris Karloff" (McFarland, 1991) was written with the participation of Karloff's widow, Evelyn, while "Boris Karloff: A Gentleman's Life" (Midnight Marquee, 1999), is an authorized biography written with the full collaboration of Karloff's daughter, Sara Jane. Nollen's other books include studies of Laurel and Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, and the Robin Hood Legends. He also has co-written books on Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Peter Cushing. His 2001 book, "Jethro Tull" (McFarland), written with the participation of the band, was nominated as Best Rock/R&B book by the Association for Recorded Sound. His book "Paul Robeson: Film Pioneer" (McFarland)is the first book-length study of the groundbreaking cinema work of this famed Renaissance Man. Nollen's most recent books are "Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond" (McFarland, 2013) and "Glenda Farrell: Hollywood's Hardboiled Dame" (Midnight Marquee; forthcoming in 2014). Nollen began making amateur films in 1976, at the age of 13. In 2005, he co-starred, wrote, produced and directed the feature film "Lofty" with Ryan C. Baumbach. Among the cast are L.A. actors Larry Laverty and Amelia Beaugard. Nollen's continued interest in Boris Karloff is reflected in "Kreating Karloff" (2006), starring and directed by actor Conor Timmis, whose documentary film, "Finnigan's War" (2013) features another screenplay co-written by Nollen. Nollen's main interests are Hollywood film, classical, jazz, blues, folk and classic rock music, United States and British History, and the Civil Rights era.

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