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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