john ford and woody allen and stanley kubrick (and clint eastwood)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

TWO OF MY FAVORITE DIRECTORS are John Ford and Woody Allen. For the former, think Harry Carey and Henry Fonda and John Wayne. Men’s and wom­en’s men. For the latter, think Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow and Diane Wiest and Mira Sorvino and Scar­lett Jo­hansson and Pene­lope Cruz. Men’s and wom­en’s women. 

Mr. Ford made his male leads fa­mous while Mr. Allen has been making his fe­male leads famous.



His em­i­nence John Ford in what may be the hok­iest pub­licity photo that he ever posed for (Stage­coach) and al­lowed to be used. “You can have a weak, ut­terly bad script, and a good cast will turn it into a good pic­ture. I’ve thwarted more than one hand­icap of that kind with the aid of two or three re­ally fine actors.”

Of course there are ex­cep­tions: Mau­reen O’Hara was never better than when she was with the Duke under Ford’s di­rec­tion. And in Mid­night In Paris, Allen made us see Owen Wilson in a brand new light, one that should bring him much better roles than he has had in the past.

Anyway, this is a brief post to call at­ten­tion to a nice piece on Woody Allen in to­day’s New York Times (July 21) ti­tled “Annie and Her Sis­ters - Woody Al­len’s Dis­tinc­tive Fe­male Char­ac­ters” by Dave Itzkoff. I highly rec­om­mend to non-fans of Woody, es­pe­cially fe­male non-fans!



Stanley Kubrick as many fans prefer to re­member him: ob­sessed if not de­mon­i­cally pos­sessed with the making of great movies. “Any time you take a chance you better be sure the re­wards are worth the risk be­cause they can put you away just as fast for a ten dollar heist as they can for a mil­lion dollar job.”

My third fa­vorite di­rector is Stanley Kubrick, with A Clock­work Or­ange my fav­er­avest of his films. (And for the in­ter­ested, au­thor An­thony Burgess found his title for his 1962 novel from a Cockney idiom, “as queer as a clock­work orange.”

Ac­cording to Wikipedia, this (now) po­lit­i­cally incorrect—and wudda shame that is!—phrase means “in­di­cating some­thing bizarre in­ter­nally, but ap­pearing nat­ural, human, and normal on the sur­face.” But that’s an­other story . . .


The Rookie (1990), Un­for­given (1992), True Crime (1999), Mil­lion Dollar Baby (2004), Gran Torino (2008), and Jersey Boys (2014). That’s a long road since Rowdy Yates . . .

Since I wrote this, I thought things through—ratiocinating a bit, you see—and I think I may have to el­e­vate Clint East­wood from the un­named fourth spot to per­haps second to Woody at this point in time. Per­haps be­cause he is ac­tive and rel­e­vant and so surprising—although I might sug­gest he stay away from Rep*blican con­ven­tions, where he is even more sur­prising and ar­guably more en­ter­taining but a hel­lu­valot less insightful . . .


HEADER IMAGE: The il­lus­tra­tion at the top of this page is by Thomas Fluharty for The New York Times. For more on Woody (this time con­cerning his tra­vails), please click on over to “the char­acter as­sas­si­na­tion of woody allen in the media con­tinues as ig­no­rance and opinion trump facts.”


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Love Clock­work Or­ange as well - thanks for the bito’ title info!

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