Thoroughly researched and skillfully written, this Ford bio is a treat for Pappy's fans. Eyman has a good ear for illustrative quotes, and supplies plenty of memorable anecdotes. The author does a creditable job of depicting Ford's complex personality and his filmmaking genius. Excellent and fair.
Publishers Weekly, 1999-10-11 One of the great directors in the history of film, John Ford (1894-1973) was "America's tribal poet," writes Eyman, a man whose movies added up to a national epic. The director of such classics as The Grapes of Wrath, The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Ford certainly had a dark side, according to Eyman: he was bad-tempered and pugnacious; a sloppy, self-pitying drunk; a dictatorial, frequently abusive director; and a failed father estranged from his son and daughter. Biographer of Ernst Lubitsch and Mary Pickford, Eyman has written a quietly magnificent biography of an American original who has shaped our perception of movies as serious art. His westerns conjure up a democratic community of equals unified by shared purpose. A Maine saloonkeeper's son, Ford grew up in a large, working-class Irish immigrant family. Using hitherto untapped transcripts, Eyman tells the full story of the famous, tumultuous 1950 Screen Directors Guild meeting, when Ford took a courageous stand against hard-line conservative Cecil B. DeMille, who sought to mandate a McCarthyite loyalty oath for members. Eyman's study serves up a big, gorgeous chunk of Hollywood history, chock-full of priceless anecdotes of Katharine Hepburn, James Cagney, Henry Fonda, Frank Capra, Clark Gable and others. Though many considered Ford passť by the 1960s, a new generation of critics and cineastes were championing the six-time Academy Award winner for his largeness of spirit, his deeply felt poetry, his evocation of innocence and of America as it was meant to have been. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2001-02-12 Correction: Searching for John Ford by Joseph McBride (Forecasts, Jan. 22) was misidentified as the first full-length biography of the filmmaker. In fact, it was preceded in 1999 by Scott Eyman's Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford (Simon & Schuster, $40 592p ISBN 0-6848-1161-8), among others. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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