Wayne and Ford

Wayne and Ford

The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of An American Hero

Book - 2017
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For over twenty years John Ford and John Wayne were a blockbuster Hollywood team, turning out many of the finest Western films ever made. Ford, a son of Irish immigrants known for his black eye patch and for his hard-drinking, brawling masculinity, was renowned for both his craftsmanship and his brutality. John "Duke" Wayne was a mere stagehand and bit player in "B" Westerns, but he was strapping and incredibly handsome, and Ford saw his potential. In 1939 Ford made Wayne a star in Stagecoach, and from there the two men established a close, often turbulent relationship.
Their most productive years saw the release of one iconic film after another- Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. But by 1960, the bond of their friendship had frayed, and Wayne felt he could move beyond his mentor with his first solo project, The Alamo. Few of Wayne's following films would have the brilliance or the cachet of a John Ford Western but, taken collectively, the careers of these two men changed movie making in ways that endure to this day. Despite the decline of the Western in contemporary cinema, its cultural legacy, particularly the type of hero codified by Ford and Wayne-tough, self-reliant, and unafraid to fight but also honorable, trustworthy, and kind-resonates in everything from Star Wars to today's superhero franchises.
Drawing on previously untapped caches of letters and personal documents, Nancy Schoenberger dramatically narrates a complicated, poignant, and iconic friendship, and the lasting legacy of that friendship on American culture.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese Doubleday, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780385534857
Branch Call Number: 791.4302 Scho
Characteristics: 240 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Mar 27, 2019

I absolutely loved this look at one of the more legendary film collaborations of the twentieth century. As someone who grew up watching John Wayne films with her parents, the ones he worked on with John Ford still stand out in my mind.

Schoenberger takes us through the course of Wayne and Ford's relationship, from Wayne's beginnings as a prop assistant under Ford, through Wayne's early growth as an actor, into the height of their collaborative magic as seen in the epic film The Searchers, and to the autumn era when Wayne's box office draw opened more doors for Ford than Ford's own bonafides did. The book cites many different sources, from Ford's papers to stories told from the people that surrounded them, such as Wayne's third wife, Pilar, or his most well-known leading lady, Maureen O'Hara. The tone is light and easy to read, and I inhaled it.

I gave it four-and-a-half stars, because there are a couple of errors here and there. Definitely worth reading for any fan of this duo.

Feb 17, 2018

If you're a western fan you'll love this book.
If you're not a western fan there's a good chance you'll still enjoy this look into Wayne & Ford!
I learned about their lives, personalities, relationship, the movies they made together.
It was fun to find the movies online and watch them too. The author points out lots of interesting things to look for in the movies - and excellent movies they are too!
In addition, the author is making the case for the icon of masculinity that Wayne created - in some ways the very best kind of man (something that many of us have forgotten, including women). His roles were men who were not always nice but ultimately good. He illustrated real manhood which includes the values of hard work, courage & self-sacrifice.
I really enjoyed this book!


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