When director John Ford marries Mary Smith in 1920, a union that would endure over 50 years and for the rest of John Ford’s life, Ford had already begun his career in film, a career that would span seven decades and include classics in almost every decade and in almost every genre of cinema.
Ford would direct the biggest stars of his age and on the largest scale. His Westerns, War Pictures, and Period Pieces would set standards that remain to this day.
Three films in particular, ‘Stagecoach’ / ‘The Searchers’ / ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ all made at different times in his career have served as guideposts for his audiences.
Yet, Ford hated the fact that he felt pigeonhole by the studios, especially late in his career as a “Westerns” film director – he was so much more.
Some of Fords most celebrated and memorable work was as a documentary film maker, especially during World War II where he filmed as the battles of both Midway and of D-Day unfolded before him and his crew of filmographers.
Ford was wounded in the arm at Midway and the injury would plague him until his final days.
Toward the end of his life in 1973 Ford was recognized by President Richard Nixon with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was promoted to Admiral. Ford would win a total of 6 Academy Awards.
Did you know that Steven Spielberg claims to watch both ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ & ‘The Searchers’ before he starts a new movie?
And as for Bond, you may ask, well Ford was integral in getting one of 007’s most important allies cast.
Did you know it was John Ford who contacted “Cubby” Broccoli to demand that Pedro Armendariz be included in his next Bond film ‘From Russia With Love”?
Armendariz would play the role of Ali Kerim Bey, head of MI6 in Turkey. It would prove to be Armendariz final film and his most remembered.
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