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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 It was later withdrawn from circulation because of legal rights.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
John Ford is one of our greatest American directors, and he is profiled in this 1971 documentary that features a hilarious interview with the man himself (Interviewer: How did you shoot that scene? Ford: With a camera) and actors who worked with him many times over the years: John Wayne, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, and Maureen O'Hara. Narrated by Orson Welles, prominent directors talk about his influence on cinema and his gifts as a director: Martin Scorcese, Peter Bogdanovich, Steven Spielberg, and Clint Eastwood.
The most fascinating part of this documentary was the discussion - with clips - of how the master framed his shots like a painter, and the scenes shown were truly stunning. The end of the documentary speaks to his sentimentality, belief in an afterlife and the family, demonstrated with heartwrenching scenes from "The Searchers," "How Green was My Valley," and others.
Finally there was a taped meeting between Katharine Hepburn and Ford in the year he died. The two had a great connection and perhaps even a relationship. It is most fascinating, particularly when Ford's son leaves the room and mistakenly leaves the tape recorder on.
Excellent all the way around.
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