BY FRANCO FINO
This past week, the Museum of the Moving Image announced that it would host a series titled ‘The Essential John Ford,’ in which it will feature 20 of John Ford’s accomplished films.
In a career that spanned from 1917 to 1965, Ford directed more than 150 films. He was widely popular for his western films, some of which will be included in the screenings. “The Searchers” (1956), “Fort Apache” (1958), “My Darling Clementine” (1946), and “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon “(1949) are just a brief list of films that will be displayed at the museum located at 36-01 35 Ave. (at 37 Street) in Astoria from July 3 through Aug. 2.
All screenings will take place in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater or the Celeste and Armand Bartos Screening Room at the MoMI.
“The eternal conflicts between order and chaos, nature and civilization, the law and the hero’s code of ethics, and the disparity between fact and legend are explored with nostalgia and cynicism in these films,” said Chief Curator David Schwartz who organized the series with Assistant Film Curator Aliza Ma. “Ford’s films are also deeply cinematic, with a rich use of landscape and an interest in painting a broad visual canvas to depict communities. These are great films to be seen on the big screen.”
The opening weekend will feature the films “Young Mr. Lincoln” (1939),” Pilgrimage” (1933), “Judge Priest” (1934), and “The Prisoner of Shark Island” (1936), a film starring Warner Baxter as Dr. Samuel Mudd, the man who historically treated John Wilkes Booth after President Lincoln’s assassination.
The Essential John Ford will also feature one of Ford’s earlier works, “Upstream,” the 1927 film that had been lost until its recovery from a vault at the New Zealand Film Archive in 2009. The film is a backstage comedy centered on a Shakespearian actor and residents of a low-income boarding house. It will be displayed on Sunday, July 26, and will be accompanied by a live musical performance by classic silent film performers Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton.
“[Upstream was a] turning point in the development of one of America’s greatest filmmakers,” said film historian Dave Kehr.
As of press time, the MoMI has only announced 19 of the 20 films that it will display. The final film will be announced on its webpage: movingimage.us/JohnFord.
All the film screenings will be held on the weekends beginning on Friday evenings at 7 p.m. Prices for tickets will be set at $12 for adults, $9 for seniors and students with school identification, and $3for children 3-12 years of age. Museum members and children under the age of 3 will receive free admission.