Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Becoming John Ford|
Actors: Lem Dobbs, Peter Fonda, Walter Hill, Tom Mankiewicz, Joseph McBride
Director: Nick Redman
No Description Available. Genre: Documentary Rating: UN Release Date: 4-DEC-2007 Media Type: DVD
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Style over substance...
Brian Lowe | San Francisco | 12/10/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this DVD as part of the boxed set, The Essential John Ford. All that is essential regarding Ford is NOT a part of this documentary. The DVD says on the front of the box: "Tracing the career of the director who defined American Cinema." In reality, this documentary really does not discuss any major film after My Darling Clementine (1946). Unbelievably, it makes no real mention of The Searchers. It mentions Stagecoach only in passing. Nothing about the Cavalry Trilogy or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. The films that represent the core of the discussion are the ones that are part of this, and other, FOX DVD collections. Fine, but that is not exactly tracing a career.
Most of this documentary consists of interviews (filmed in black & white and from a variety of arty angles) with people who have written about or who knew Ford. The quality of the commentary in the interviews varies widely. While Ford Scholar and biographer Joseph McBride is fine many others are, well, full of it (or maybe it's that they are full of themselves).
By contrast, on the two-disc version of Stagecoach (previously released by Warner) as an extra there is an episode from the PBS series American Masters about John Ford and John Wayne. While not covering the exact same ground as "Becoming John Ford", it is a better and more informative film.
At 90 minutes long there will probably be some bit of new information on this DVD for most people but I found it mostly disappointing and pretty empty of insight.
Boring, wordy and inconclusive
Douglas M | 09/28/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary on John Ford focuses on his legacy from his years at Twentieth Century Fox. Accordingly, it is by no means a definitive biography of either the man or his work. However, he toiled at Fox for many years so it should be worthwhile to learn about this body of work. Unfortunately, this DVD, while clearly well made, is deadly boring with endless talk by selected historians, actors, directors etc. The setting of the interviews is a darkened theatre with the projector hovering in the background and endless close ups of the speakers interspersed with shots of them seated with voiceovers, including a voice over for Ford himself - all very gimicky but very disruptive to the flow of the narrative. This is trendy documentary making at its worst.
Do we learn much about Ford? Not really except that he was a temperamental Irish man who went to extreme lengths to be beligerent and avoid any one scratching his brittle surface. As for his film making, in his own words, he states that he had a certain flair for composition. The films are testimony that there was much more but this documentary is not.
The DVD includes some extras. The World War 2 films which Ford made are here, including his famous film of the the battle of Midway. This is invaluable. The rest is marketing material for many of his Fox films and most of it is illegible.
You may pick the DVD up as part of one of the Ford at Fox Sets; otherwise, don't waste your money."
Boring ego look at John Ford
Yuma | Oklahoma | 01/12/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"John Ford is one of the greatest directors of all time (six oscars). But Mr. Redman made a boring ego doc. It starts with along intro that had nothing to do with Mr. Ford. The talking heads act like they know everything about Mr. Ford, and show their true egos. BUT did Mr. Redman ever interview any of the people WHO WORK with Mr. Ford. How about Harry Carey Jr, Maureen O'Hara...Patrick Wayne.
This is a bad way to honor a great director and War Honor. (Walter Hill as the vocie of Mr Ford....please!!!)"