- Ford, John
died 1639?) British dramatist.Early in his career he studied law and wrote collaboratively with several other playwrights, but little more is known of his life, and the dating of many of his works is uncertain. His revenge tragedies are characterized by scenes of austere beauty, insight into human passions, and poetic diction of a high order. His reputation rests on the first four plays he wrote alone, only one of which can be dated with certainty: The Broken Heart; The Lover's Melancholy (1628); Perkin Warbeck; and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, an eloquently sympathetic story of incestuous lovers that is his best-known work.IIorig. Sean Aloysius O'Feeney or O'Fearnaborn Feb. 1, 1895, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, U.S.died Aug. 31, 1973, Palm Desert, Calif.U.S. film director.In 1914 Ford went to Hollywood to join his brother, who was there acting in films. Ford became a director of westerns, achieving success with The Iron Horse (1924). His distinctive style united action with colourful characterization and reflected his sense of American identity. He is best remembered for such westerns as Stagecoach (1939), My Darling Clementine (1946), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), many of which starred John Wayne. He also directed such historical dramas as Mary of Scotland (1936) and Young Mr. Lincoln (1939). He received Academy Awards for The Informer (1935), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), and The Quiet Man (1952), and also for his wartime documentaries The Battle of Midway (1942) and December 7th (1943).
* * *▪ American directororiginal name Sean Aloysius O'Feeney , or O'Fearnaborn Feb. 1, 1895, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, U.S.died Aug. 31, 1973, Palm Desert, Calif.American motion-picture director who was Hollywood's best-known director of westerns (western). He developed a distinctive directorial style characterized by effective cutting, an emphasis on action, colourful characterization, a sentimentalized vision of the past, and the skillful creation of mood.In 1914 Ford joined his brother Francis in Hollywood, becoming a property man at the Universal Studios. He changed his name, became an assistant director, and was assigned to work on shorts and westerns.Ford's first big success as a large-scale director was The Iron Horse (1924), the story of the first transcontinental railroad, a film that gave impetus to the growing popularity of the high-budget “big western.” The Informer (1935) established Ford's critical reputation, and it, along with three later films—The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), and The Quiet Man (1952)—all won the Academy Award for best direction.Although many of his outstanding films dealt with social themes, Ford was best known for westerns, such as Stagecoach (1939), My Darling Clementine (1946), Wagonmaster (1950), Rio Grande (1950), The Searchers (1956), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), How the West Was Won (1962), and Cheyenne Autumn (1964).Additional ReadingAndrew Sinclair, John Ford (1979, reissued 1984); and J.A. Place, The Western Films of John Ford (1973).▪ British dramatistbaptized April 17, 1586, Ilsington, Devon, Eng.died 1639?English dramatist of the Caroline period, whose revenge tragedies are characterized by certain scenes of austere beauty, insight into human passions, and poetic diction of a high order.In 1602 Ford was admitted to the Middle Temple (a training college for lawyers), and he remained there, except for a period of suspension (1606–08), until at least 1617 and possibly much later still. He published an elegy on the Earl of Devonshire and a prose pamphlet in 1606, and a few other minor nondramatic works have been attributed to him during this period. It is not certain that he wrote for the stage until his collaboration with Thomas Dekker (Dekker, Thomas) and William Rowley (Rowley, William) on the play The Witch of Edmonton in 1621. He also collaborated with Dekker in The Sun's Darling (1624), perhaps also in The Welsh Ambassador (1623), and in three other plays, now lost, of about the same date. His hand has been seen in Thomas Middleton's and William Rowley's Spanish Gypsy (1623), John Fletcher's (Fletcher, John) Fair Maid of the Inn (1626), and other plays of Francis Beaumont and Fletcher.From about 1627 to 1638 Ford wrote plays by himself, mostly for private theatres, but the sequence of his eight extant plays cannot be precisely determined, and only two of them can be dated. His plays are: The Broken Heart; The Lover's Melancholy (1628); 'Tis Pity She's a Whore; Perkin Warbeck; The Queen; The Fancies, Chaste and Noble; Love's Sacrifice; and The Lady's Trial (1638). There are a few contemporary references to Ford, but nothing is known of his personal life, and there is no certain record of him after 1639.Ford's reputation, which has never been beyond controversy, rests mainly on the first four plays he wrote alone; of these, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore is probably the best known. The story concerns the incestuous love of Giovanni and his sister Annabella. When she is found to be pregnant, she agrees to marry her suitor Soranzo; the lovers' secret is finally discovered, but Soranzo's plan for revenge is outpaced by Giovanni's murder of Annabella and then Soranzo, at the hands of whose hired killers Giovanni himself finally dies. There is no sense in 'Tis Pity that Ford is arguing a case for the brother and sister's unnatural union, but he does exhibit an eloquent sympathy for the lovers, who are set apart from others by their unlawful relationship, their consciousness of their sin, and their sensual and at times even arrogant acceptance of it.The Broken Heart is characteristic of Ford's work in its depiction of a noble and virtuous heroine who is torn between her true love and an unhappy forced marriage, again with tragic consequences for all concerned. Perkin Warbeck is a historical play centring on the tragic fate of the deluded impostor of that name who claimed to be the Duke of York. The Lover's Melancholy is the best of Ford's other plays, all of which are tragicomedies.Ford's austerely powerful themes are blurred by subplots featuring minor characters and bad comedy, but he is still considered the most important tragedian of the reign of King Charles I (1625–49). Ford's work is distinguished by the highly wrought power of its blank verse and by its tragically frustrated characters whose intense desires are blocked by the dictates of circumstance.Additional ReadingMichael Neill (ed.), John Ford: Critical Re-visions (1988); Donald K. Anderson, Jr. (ed.), Concord in Discord: The Plays of John Ford, 1586–1986 (1986); Lisa Hopkins, John Ford's Political Theatre (1994).
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