Mar 21, 2012

Director Spotlight: John Ford

American Director John Ford (1894 – 1973), one of the most influential directors of his time, won 6 Oscars and directed 146 films. While most of his films were silent, he is best known for his westerns and version of The Grapes of Wrath

Ford had a notable personality: tough, eccentric, and stubbornand, he expected things done his way. He once punched actor Henry Fonda in the face on the set of “My Darling Clementine” for trying to tell him how his character should play a scene. Ford even fired his own brother from a production for saying “no.” His stubborness left him wearing an eye patch for the remainder of his life starting in the 1930s. Follwing cataract surgery, Ford was too impatient for his eye to completely heal, and he removed his bandages early, ruining the sight in his left eye.

While memorable, Ford’s personality wasn’t his most distinct trait. His directing style set him apart from other directors of his generation, and his work continues to inspire directors to this day. Instead of using a standard three-point lighting, Ford often used one light, creating dark shadows or silhouettes of the actors. Ford considered this effect, called Rembrandt lighting, to create an authentic feel that has since become a signature of his work.

Ford also used long establishing shots with simple composition that revealed landscapes and space, adding another layer to his film. Filters created a greater contrast between the landscape and actors. The camera was used as a narrator to emotionalize empty space. He also was adament about shooting his films on location rather than using a set or studio.

The artwork was created by Thomas Hart Benton, whose
works are on display as part of the Resilience exhibits.
It should come as no surprise that John Ford's The Grapes ofWrath an American classic film based off John Steinbeck’s novel, is kicking off the John Steinbeck Film Festival for Resilience tonight, March 21 at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $5, and a pass for the film festival is only $10. Purchase tickets online or contact the Box Office at 719.634.5583. 

Grapes of Wrath | March 21, 6:30 pm
Viva Zapata | March 28, 6:30 pm
Lifeboat | April 4, 6:30 pm

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