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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

John Ford: The Columbia Films Collection

John Ford: The Columbia Films Collection includes five classics on DVD for the very first time ever! The fully restored and remastered multi-disc collection from Turner Classic Movies, The Film Foundation and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, features an introduction by author, film critic and historian, Leonard Maltin. Originally offered only through TCM's online store, you can now get on Amazon too.

Director, John Ford is a giant of classic American cinema. His career spanned more than half a century, during which he earned an unprecedented and un-matched four Academy Awards® for Best Director. More than likely you’re familiar with his westerns. However, the filmmaker was wildly talented in a multitude of genres, including comedy (in fact, none of his four Oscars were for a western). Now, five John Ford classics from Columbia Pictures are available on DVD thanks to Turner Classic Movies (TCM), The Film Foundation and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. John Ford: The Columbia Films Collection includes four films from the latter half of the director's long career: The Long Gray Line, Gideon’s Day, The Last Hurrah and Two Rode Together, as well as the 1935 comedy gem The Whole Town's Talking – a personal favorite of mine.

The collection features films that have been fully restored and remastered. The bonus content boasts video introductions by author, critic and film historian Leonard Maltin, as well as collectible do-dads such as biographical information on the filmmaker, scene stills, behind-the-scenes photos, movie posters and lobby cards. In addition to showcasing Ford's impeccable talent as a director, the set features the performances of some truly legendary stars such as Edward G. Robinson (in a comedy), Jean Arthur, Tyrone Power, Maureen O’Hara, Ward Bond, Spencer Tracy, Jeffrey Hunter, James Stewart, Richard Widmark and Shirley Jones (that’s one heck of an impressive list of iconic cinematic legends).

As I mentioned earlier, I’m particularly fond of the comedy The Whole Town’s Talking, which features Jean Arthur, Cary Grant and Ronald Coleman in a romantic triangle. This is a very amusing given that Grant was known to base his unique accent and suave demeanor on his idol, Coleman. The political potboiler, The Last Hurrah is also a favorite featuring Spencer Tracy as the head of a political machine of which his nephew Jeffrey Hunter witnesses the heartbreaking demise. Both films feature performances by well-known actors in roles counter to their usual beloved on-screen personas. This should be a unique treat for the avid fan who thinks they’ve seen everything their favorite star ever made.

After viewing these few non-westerns by John Ford it wont be long before you long for more. And after you’ve seen more of the versatility of the greatest director the world has ever known there’s no doubt it will take little time before you rewrite your list of favorite Ford movies. Don’t be surprised if it’s a list that never includes a western again. You’ll just have to start a favorite westerns list. That I’m sure will have a John Ford or two.

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