Fab Ford

Museum of the Moving Image at 35th Avenue and 36th Street in Astoria, Queens, is in the midst of a massive Ford at Fox retrospective that has already shown such John Ford silents as Just Pals (1920), The Iron Horse (1924), and Four Sons (1928), and such early talkies as Born Reckless (1930) and Air Mail (1932), before Ford hit his stride with Pilgrimage (1933) and with such Will Rogers classics as Doctor Bull (1933), Judge Priest (1934) and Steamboat ’Round the Band (1935). Upcoming highlights: a Shirley Temple classic, Wee Willie Winkie (1937), on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 2:30 p.m., and a Henry Fonda classic, Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), the same day at 5 p.m.; Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), with Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert, will be shown on Sunday, Feb. 3, at 2:30 p.m., and The Prisoner of Shark Island (1935), with Warren Baxter and Gloria Stuart, the same day at 5 p.m.

I shall comment on such later Ford masterpieces in the series as The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941) and My Darling Clementine (1946) in next week’s column. But if you’re looking for such Ford landmarks as The Lost Patrol (1934) and The Informer (1935) in this series, forget it. Both films were made under the aegis of RKO. I don’t agree with anti-auterists who claim that studios were the ultimate auteurs of the best Hollywood movies, but I have never argued that studios were completely unimportant. Still, I wish that contemporary reference books would at least keep track of the old Hollywood studios on their credit rosters. There is also a new DVD box of Ford at Fox if you miss the Ford films at the AMMI.

Fab Ford