Picks and Pans Review: John Ford

UPDATED 04/30/1979 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 04/30/1979 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Andrew Sinclair

It's ironic that the first serious biography of Ford, that most American of filmmakers, should be written by a Briton. (Sinclair specializes in American history, but also directed O'Toole and Taylor in Under Milk Wood.) And it comes at a good time, when Ford's 150 films—including Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath, Young Mr. Lincoln, The Searchers, The Quiet Man—are becoming more appreciated. Ford grew up in Maine, served in Naval Intelligence in World War II and—like the actor with whom he worked so well, John Wayne—was at times considered almost too American, especially when Vietnam made his flag-waving war films seem jingoistic. Sinclair doesn't apologize for reactionary elements of Ford's personality and argues convincingly that in the long run they won't matter. Movie audiences will remember only the energetic, emotionally powerful cinematic art he left behind. (Dial Press, $11.95)

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