Directed by John Ford
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The interview material added since 1971 (particularly Maureen O'Hara's 1992 contribution) really helps to explain why Ford was so hilariously contrarian in his original contact with Bogdonovich. There is a much fuller sense of John Ford as a person than in the original film. Spielberg, Eastwood, Scorsese and others help place his work in an artistic context.
But the real thrill of the film is in the clips themselves. Bogdonovich had just done his first feature, a B-movie starring Boris Karloff, and would go on to make three masterpieces in a row. DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD, falling in the midst of this progression, is really like a piece of found art, in which he lovingly assembles pieces of Ford's films to make something entirely his own. The talking head portions are beautifully shot on 35mm, and fit seamlessly into the material of the clips. Also, to listen to Fonda, Stewart, and Wayne is to appreciate how skilled they all are as raconteurs.
DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD calls attention to the irony that is so easily overlooked in Ford's films, and makes a point of showing Ford to be not so much a chronicler of American History as an archivist of the myths and rituals of American History.
Even for those not fully convinced of Ford's genius, this documentary is a valuable primer on how to understand film art. It is also a gorgeous example of film art in its own right.
what a great job they have done updating this documentary. Most documentaries from several years back , much less 30 feature "talking heads" hopelessly faded and poorly lit and in general dating the project. Well...this documentary ..or this version opens with current day interviews with Clint Eastwood and Spielberg and Walter Hill and when it moves to the interviews with Henry Fonda, James Stewart and John Wayne....there is NO drop off in the image quality in fact the older interviews appear to be on film, lit by a pro cinematographer and are a revelation for the open and frank discussions these folks engage in with Mr Bogdonavich. Most all of the footage from the films discussed seems to be current re-mastered digital prints so I'd say this is the singular best example of updating a classic documentary I've ever enjoyed and I love documentaries. Mr Bogdonavich knows the territory and is a brilliant director himself...as well as author and actor. This is a couple of hours I will watch over and over and over. ANY film fan, or fan of John Ford (pretty much the same thing) absolutely MUST own this startlingly wonderful DVD!
PS..the footage of John Ford himself...I have seen but as the rest its presented for the first time in brilliantly saturated color and clarity...this is my favorite of the John Ford docs and a perfect partner for the more linear and career spanning historical "Becoming John Ford" which I also recommend.
I sat engrossed watching a 16mm version. I seem to remember a sequence where Ford discussed briefly his use of music, and this is no longer in the version now available. Apart from that, it is still an absorbing evaluation of the man's work, made more relevant by the contributions of the next generation. A modern retrospective of the influence of Ford could be more appropriately titled "Stolen from John Ford", so great is his influence. "Superman Returns" reminds me of Ford, particularly the Man Alone, and also the use of doors barring Superman from the world of the family.
Spielberg,as he acknowledges, is a Ford disciple, as anyone watching "ET" will quickly see. Tarantino is another.
Ford's influence on other 1950s moviegoers must have been similarly profound, and I recall watching many examples in the local "fleapit" as a child. The impact was both direct (cap guns and cowboy games) and indirect (the morality tale)
John Wayne, Henry Fonda, James Stewart et al all come across as likeable guys, grown to full promise under the sometimes harsh light of Ford. Watching this again was like meeting old friends, met first as a child, then again as an adult, and finally as "elder statesmen"
Finally, I was left with a feeling of nostalgic sadness. I miss the depth, the passion, and the universality of Ford. Johhny, we hardly knew you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"Directed by John Ford", is the tedious account by aficionado actors and a few others, about the "greatness" of director John Ford. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bartok Kinski
More great film history! A very good documentary on the man.Published 22 months ago by Jeffrey Logan
The background of this documentary is interesting. Director Peter Bogdanovich put it together some thirty-odd years ago, narrated by Orson Welles, then later did a re-edit,... Read morePublished on February 25, 2014 by RICH
It is really a joy to see the grand John Ford and
his three main actors talking like you and me about
his mutual experiences.
Bigger than Life
Fifty-six years ago as a high school student, one of my instructors invited me to attend a John Ford get together in Chicago. Read more
Ford is a major American artist whose work and influence needs to be better known by younger generations around the world. Read morePublished on February 6, 2013 by Wally Weet
Directed by John Ford is a very good documentary that featured the comments and insights from actors like John Wayne and James Stewart . Read morePublished on August 16, 2012 by MovieGuy
I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary. Before watching this I only remembered John Ford movies as the westerns my dad always watched. Read morePublished on December 24, 2011 by DJ Nicke