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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

TCM Premier of "Directed by John Ford" by famed filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich

Turner Classic Movies will be airing the updated revision of this acclaimed documentary as part as a month-long tribute to the great American filmmaker, with Tuesday evenings in November devoted to the films of the man John Wayne lovingly referred to as Papa Jack.

It’s impossible to understand the importance of Johns Ford’s contributions to the art of the American cinema without having a working knowledge of the man’s important works. Fortunately, for the classic film fan, TCM is providing the opportunity to catch up on some required viewing by presenting a cross section of Ford’s films. In addition, the network is premiering a comprehensive documentary of the artist, Directed by John Ford created by acclaimed filmmaker and noted film history aficionado Peter Bogdanovich.

Whether you’re new to Ford’s work or an avid fan, you’re sure to find Bogdanovich’s loving testament to a true artist to be enlightening as well as entertaining. Along with clips from the celebrated movies, you’ll see interviews with the man himself and archival interviews from many of the great stars (Fonda, Stewart and Wayne) with whom he worked. With all the wonderful interviews with the legends of old Hollywood, this is a living history lesson that no fan of classic cinema should miss. A master storyteller in his own right, Bogdanovich weaves the narrative in such a manner and exalts his subject with such reverence, that you can’t help but get caught up in the filmmaker’s own enthusiasm for the director who has directly or indirectly influenced more modern filmmakers than anyone before him or, likely, since.

John Ford once described himself in basic terms that stated so resolutely what he did for a living. He said, simply, “I make westerns”. As if Michaelangelo just painted churches or Bill Gates merely worked with computers. It may sound like an overstatement to the unacquainted, but after an evening of watching this documentary, followed by 1939’s Stagecoach, you will find yourself in good company among a growing and well informed group of devout fans.

John Ford is an unparalleled talent of great importance in the annals of film history. It is only proper that TCM and Peter Bogdanovich have combined their efforts to pay homage to such an important figure. As the years pass and the “Golden Age” of Hollywood grows more distant, it is important to remember the ones who came before us and laid the foundations, created the cornerstones, for which we base the medium we take for granted today.

The documentary, Directed by John Ford premiers on TCM Tuesday, November 7 at 5pm PST, with an encore at 8:30pm. The evening’s additional lineup includes the immensely entertaining Stagecoach at 6:45pm, and the taught and compelling war drama They Were Expendable at 10:15pm.

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