They Shot Pictures Ep#19: John Ford Part 1 – The Westerns


This episode of They Shot Pictures is the first in a series of episodes on one of the most beloved and prolific of American filmmakers, John Ford. On this episode, we restrict our focus to his Westerns and discuss in-depth the films, Stagecoach, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Two Rode Together.

On future episodes in this series, we will be talking about his War Films, his films that center around Communities and Ford films that focus on American History.

Sean writes extensively about film on his blog, The End of Cinema. He can be found on twitter under the name @theendofcinema. He also co-hosts another podcast called The George Sanders Show with his friend Mike where they pair a new film with an older classic and discuss both films on each episode.

Seema also co-hosts another podcast called Cinema On the Road focused entirely on world cinema with her friend Jhon. She is also on twitter under the handle @wormatwork.

If you listen to and like the show, pls leave us a comment on the website, rate or review us on itunes or reach out via Twitter @TSP_Podcast.


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2 thoughts on “They Shot Pictures Ep#19: John Ford Part 1 – The Westerns

  1. Great podcast, guys! Thoroughly enjoyed it, from the funny banter (which is very fun to listen to :) ) to the dissemination of shot directions in Stagecoach. Your thoughts made me like Two Rode Together more than I thought I did. Also loved the matching of your thoughts on how the characters of Stagecoach are revealed to be more complex to how John Ford and his films turn out to be so when actually watched carefully versus common conception, even if that connection maybe was unintended.

    Some more random thoughts: It’s true that Stagecoach is the best western of 1939 and partly responsible for the revival of the western, but it wasn’t just Stagecoach that was responsible. It was certainly the most influential on the filmmaking of the genre, and in hindsight the most important (not to mention by far the best), but at the time it didn’t do great business at first and films like Michael Curtiz’ Dodge City, Cecil B. DeMille’s Union Pacific and Henry King’s Jesse James were also important for the 1939 western revival, at the very least from a moneymaking perspective. And in the case of Jesse James definitely also from a popularity perspective.

    Yes on the character actors! Also in Stagecoach is Andy Devine, who might not be a great actor or anything but always enjoyably recognizable by his voice and “aw shucks” demeanor. My personal favorite of Hollywood character actors of that era might be Elisha Cook, jr., always the poor schmuck who’s ventures into a life of crime get him beaten up/defeated/killed.

    You might’ve recognized some places in California where Ford shot parts of both Stagecoach and The Iron Horse, not sure where exactly though. Ford actually usually only used a small part of Monument Valley, btw, maybe for financial reasons, I don’t know. All I know is that most of what you see is from the same area in Monument Valley, conveniently located near the infrastructure that most easily gives acces to the place, though that is from a modern perspective so that might be there because he filmed there, not the other way around. He used certain vantage points so much that one place there is now officially called “John Ford’s Point”. :)

    Had never really thought about the way Ford creates a world and characters outside of the main plot, great point and indeed something that makes Ford great that you guys helped me realize.

    I think I’m gonna have to agree on Clementine being his best looking film. The blu transfer shows some of the most sublime Hollywood black & white cinematography I’ve seen in a long time.

    As long as you’re on the subject of stuntmen, no mention of the great stuntwork by Yakima Canutt in Stagecoach?

  2. Thanks, Kaj. Great point about the other Westerns of 1939, the revival was definitely a long time in coming.

    I love Elisha Cook Jr, Andy Devine and Yakima Canutt, the latter I definitely wanted to mention but unfortunately skipped over.


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