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Directed by John Ford (1971)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 621 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 6 critic

A documentary on the life and films of director John Ford.

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Title: Directed by John Ford (1971)

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Storyline

In 1971, Peter Bogdanovich was, perhaps, America's most promising young filmmaker, having directed the remarkable "Targets" (1968) and "The Last Picture Show" (1971) earning him an Academy Award nomination for the latter. At this point, he chose to make a documentary about legendary film director John Ford. The result was a documentary that drew excellent reviews, following a screening at the 1971 New York Film Festival and a television broadcast. It was later withdrawn from circulation because of legal rights. It was only in early 2006 that Bogdanovich - who was reportedly never totally happy with the 1971 version - went back and revamped the documentary to his satisfaction. He recorded totally new interviews with Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg and incorporated a rare audio recording of Ford and his rumored 'significant other' Katharine Hepburn. He has integrated these new elements alongside the strongest sections from the first version - including extended ... Written by alfiehitchie

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6 October 1971 (USA)  »

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Director: John Ford  »

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Pretty good, but it seemed to ignore so many of his lesser films as well as his personal life
7 November 2006 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This film was originally made in 1971 by Peter Bogdonovich. However, Bogdonovich and Turner Classic Movies re-edited and expanded this film for release on 11/6/06.

In general, I enjoyed this film--mostly since I love so many of Ford's films. It tends to focus mostly on actors impressions of the man--with lots of interviews with actors and actresses. Some of these interviews are quite recent and many were made around 1969-1971. They all gave some wonderful insights into the director and with my background in psychology, what WASN'T said explicitly was interesting. While no one said it, Ford seemed like a very controlling and domineering man with some self-esteem issues. And, sadly, his personal life was a mess--probably because these characteristics that helped him be a great director probably made him a lousy family man. I really, really wished the film had gone into this area further, but the focus of the film was not so much on his psychology but on what others superficially saw in him. Too bad it just didn't go deeper.

Also, I had seen a documentary about Ford years ago on American Movie Classics and it had a totally different slant. Instead of interviews, it was more a sequential overview of Ford's films. If this IS what you are looking for, the Bogdonovich documentary is not for you, as it shows clips and talks about most of the famous Ford films but ignores the rest (he did direct something like 150 films).

So overall, it was very interesting and it was nice to see interviews with so many of my dead favorites. But this must be seen as a very narrow and superficial tribute, as it ignores Ford's life story or a sequential or in-depth account of his film career.


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