Genius or bastard?

I was reading a very good article in the March issue of Vanity Fair about John Ford and the use of Monument Valley in his films by Buzz Bussinger. And learnt some things about the legend that was John Ford that I didn’t know but also on reflection didn’t seem that surprising it starts off with this descrption of him which describes his love haterelationship with his actors:

Harry Goulding saw firsthand the Jekyll and Hyde of Ford, particularly when someone made a mistake on the set or remotely questioned his authority.

His relationship with his actors, even those in the Stock Company, was a Freudian amalgam of love, loyalty, and withering laceration, often bringing out his sharpshooter’s scent for insecurity. Ford was egotistical, angry, and uncertain , and, according to Carey, nervous around women…

Then comes the killer anecdotal evidence of just how cruel he could be:

When Henry Fonda suggested to Ford that he was taking too many unnecessary liberties with the film version of Mister Roberts, in which Fonda had starred on Broadway, the director punched him in the jaw. When Ava Gardner questioned the quality of a take in Mogambo (also starring Clark Gable), Ford responded by saying, “You know so fucking much about directing. You’re a lousy actress, but now you’re a director. Well, why don’t you direct something? You go sit in my chair, and I’ll go and play your scene.” He once said of Dolores del Rio that she was comparable in beauty to Greta Garbo: “Then she opens her mouth and becomes Minnie Mouse.” He referred to Maureen O’Hara as “a greedy bitch” and even told off Helen Hayes.

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