Up to this point in my life I’ve written two books on John Ford. And no, I’m not planning a third, but I believe that Ford’s work is inexhaustible in the same way certain writers are, so I won’t rule it out. Like the man said, never say never.
I just wish that Bill Levy’s “Lest We Forget: The John Ford Stock Company” (Bear Manor) had been around when I was researching and writing my books. What Levy has done is amazing: he’s ferreted out the backstories on 112 members of Ford’s stock company, the actors, actresses, character actors and stunt people he used most frequently during his 40-odd year career that eventually encompassed five Academy Awards — four for Best Director (“The Informer,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” How Green Was My Valley,” “The Quiet Man”) and one for Best Documentary (“The Battle of Midway”).
John Wayne, James Stewart and Ward Bond are here, of course, but so are Chuck Hayward, Chuck Roberson, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp, Jane Darwell and most of the other people whose talents cumulatively made Ford’s films a familial experience — these are films that warm you on cold nights of the soul.
In the Pipeline …
Putnam will publish “The Good Shufu,” a memoir by Tracy Slater about Slater’s experience as an academic who fell in love with a Japanese man who barely spoke English … MacArthur Fellow Dan Jurafsky has sold a book entitled “The Language of Food” to Norton. It’s based on a class Jurafsky teaches as well as his blog of the same name, both of which involve the language and history of ordinary foods, which manage to combine politics, culture and religion.
Mike Browning’s Word of the Week …
intenerate: to soften.
Quote Unquote …
‘The novel is an art form and when you use it for anything other than art, you pervert it … . If you manage to use it successfully for social, releigious or other purposes, it is because you make it art first.’
— Flannery O’Connor