Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero

By Nancy Schoenberger

7.72 Hours 10/24/2017 unabridged
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    ISBN: 9781524781392

John Ford and John Wayne were two titans of classic film and made some of the most enduring movies of all time. The genre they defined—the Western—still matters today. 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.

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Summary

Summary

John Ford and John Wayne were two titans of classic film and made some of the most enduring movies of all time. The genre they defined—the Western—still matters today.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Nancy Schoenberger’s thoughtful book is more than a history of the turbulent but productive partnership and the complex emotional relationship between John Ford and John Wayne. It’s also a meditation on what it means to be a man. She analyzes and dissects the intricate blend of pride, dignity, courage, and violence that defines American masculinity as depicted in Ford’s films and embodied by Wayne’s characters. And she locates the hidden depths of vulnerability and self-doubt that help to explain and humanize these brilliant, troubled icons. Glenn Frankel, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend and High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic
A closely-observed and supremely engaging account of a difficult friendship and an inspired creative partnership. Whether dissecting a particular film or commenting on the American Western as a genre, Nancy Schoenberger consistently has interesting and original things to say. Along the way she limns the rise and fall of the Western hero and the code of honorable masculinity that informed it—‘those men,’ as she writes, ‘who seem hard-wired to protect women, children, and country.’ Half-elegy, half-cutting-edge analysis, this is a book for anyone interested in film and the ways in which it reflects and effects the larger culture around it. Daphne Merkin, author of This Close to Happy
For a tightly focused study of two men and a handful of movies they made together, Wayne and Ford covers an awful lot of ground. From the silent-film era through the 1970’s, we’re shuttled expertly through the Depression, World War II, McCarthyism, the rise of Method acting, the end of the studio system. We see the Western genre mature, perspectives on the myths of the Wild West shift, and ideas of masculinity interrogated and recast on the big screen. John Wayne’s life and work, especially, have an elegiac quality here that contemporary accounts missed. It’s often said that John Ford brought out the best in Wayne, but the converse is also plainly true—not in Ford’s behavior toward his star, which could be vile, but in his unsurpassed filmmaking. A fascinating two-hander. William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Barbarian Days 

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Nancy Schoenberger

Nancy Schoenberger is a professor of English and creative writing at the College of William and Mary. She is the author of Dangerous Muse: The Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood, and coauthor with her husband, Sam Kashner, of books on Oscar Levant, George Reeves, and the relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Category: Nonfiction/Drama/Performing Arts
Runtime: 7.72
Audience: Adult
Language: English