John Ford, written by Lindsay Andersen, directed by Andrew Eaton, 1992.
This is very good. And considering Lindsay Andersen's general anti-establishment tone & character makes this documentary all the more interesting.
Lindsay makes a strong argument for the sentiment & character cinema of John Ford as "popular art -- not 'arty' ". He interviews key, surviving members of Ford's production team in order to figure out how & why Ford made movies, to figure this out from Ford's own viewpoint and also why historical figures brought out the best in him. Lindsay does a neat trace on Ford's "righteous man" figure from Will Rogers onward, plus on how and why he collaborated with certain writers like Dudley Nichols (1895-1960) and Nunnally Johnson (1897-1977). This documentary is rich with pertinent visuals which illustrate the special nature of Ford's cinema, and with equally relevant anecdotes from those who knew him. (NB: though IMBDb gives this documentary's date as 1993 -- the film itself provides 1992 for its date.)
In the end, the puckish Andersen leaves it in the audience's lap to decide if John Ford is still a great artist for today's audience & for all ages -- or if Ford is merely of great historical relevance.
Frankly, I think John Ford's best work remains as great as it ever was. Now, if you haven't seen this documentary or much of John Ford's best work, well, it's for you to decide.
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