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Women in the Films of John Ford Paperback – 30 Apr 2014


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About the Author

A lifelong student of films, David Meuel has also published more than 100 poems, numerous short stories, and hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from theatre to U.S. national parks, to writing and speaking for business. He lives in Menlo Park, California.

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Amazon.com: 16 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
New View of Ford 25 Mar. 2014
By Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
David Meuel, through his lucid book, Women in the Films of John Ford, has given me a better perspective of Ford as a director. He showed how Ford often portrayed women of strength and depth, not just accessories to the main male characters, and in the course of the book introduced a number of interesting actresses. According to Meuel, Ford's female actors were "…never objectified or treated with condescension." They were not interchangeable in the kinds of stock roles many of Ford's contemporaries favored but rather women"…with very different personalities, who confront a wide rang of issues and offer numerous perspectives. Meuel also makes the case that Ford was also interested in "…a collectivist vision of people from different ethnic backgrounds and with different points of view and beliefs joining forces to achieve a greater good."
Mr. Meuel's writing style is quite accessible, and he's gathered a useful number of still pictures from Ford's movies that jog the memory and help round out his portraits of these women. For those who want to find out more about Mr. Ford, Meuel generously adds a list of nine books and one website that he's found as reliable guides to the director and his career. His brief chapter notes add an additional dimension to the book.
This book is a great addition to any Ford fan's library and an eye-opener for those with a more casual interest.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Fun and Instructive 17 Mar. 2014
By Paul Bendix - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you sense that John Ford was a master American storyteller, Meuel's book will help you understand why. Focusing on Ford's women actually provides a key to the filmmaker's best qualities. The humanity, the often subtle visual language, the sense of grounded hope...we get a deeper insight into all of this through the director's actresses. Ford's association with John Wayne and several westerns is well known, but too well known. This book expands into something much greater. I learned a lot about the lesser-known Ford movies. And by looking at the whole half-century of his productions, I got a deeper appreciation of his work. The book is full of anecdotes, many very obscure, about the actresses, their characters, and generally what it took to achieve such great work in Hollywood. My major objection is that this book stands alone. We need to hear more from Meuel.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
John Ford--a ladies man 21 Mar. 2014
By Joe P. Ercolani - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Not everything John Ford did was about john Wayne. In fact very little of it was, but that’s how many people remember him. David Meuel’s book not only corrects that impression he expands on it by focusing on the ladies he fashioned in his works. The book is a well-written work and has a nice easy pace to it. It’s a fascinating look at a man who was as interested in his female leads as in the males. As any good director will do, he fashioned his actors to complement the story and enhance the careers of the actors. In the films of John Ford that was as true for the females in his works as the males. Narratives are skillfully accompanied by many pictures of the actresses John Ford managed. This book is a very entertaining, thoughtful, and insightful book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Definitive and Compelling Book 16 Mar. 2014
By gerald nachman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Not only has David Meuel written an original, insightful and readable analysis of John Ford's overlooked female characters, but he also takes us deeply inside the movies we think we knew, looking at them (and the actresses themselves) with an entirely fresh perspective. Often it's like watching them for the first time, with an expert commentator. I learned a lot about Ford, his movies and film-making in general from the book. I especially liked his take on Jean Arthur in "The Whole Town's Talking" as well as Maureen O'Hara in the classic "Quiet Man" and several more, including many little-known works. This is a book for fans, scholars and casual moviegoers like myself, full of behind-the-scenes details, gossip, authoritative knowledge and David Meuel's own carefully reasoned opinions.

-- Gerald Nachman
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A fresh point of view 16 Mar. 2014
By MSM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The author brings a fresh and thoughtful take on Ford's films delivered in an entertaining, colloquial voice. His close attention to their emotional values leads the reader to look again at too-easy responses to these as only "men's" films. Useful chapter headings highlight the qualities that are the focus of the discussions. The thumbnail bios and career resumes for each actress are a bonus. A must for anyone who loves good movies. —M. S. Martinson
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