The Unsung Glenn Ford

Glenn Ford, around the time he played "Pa Kent" in Superman (1978)

“I’ve never played anyone but myself on screen.”
~ Glenn Ford (1916-2006)

He never won an Academy Award, nor was he recognized by the American Film Institute with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Yet, in over 200 movies, the seamless, artless quality in actor Glenn Ford‘s work enabled him to fly under the radar of the ballyhoo that surrounds much of Hollywood. His very squareness illuminated something of value for audiences: the effort to survive, the desire to preserve some integrity, some shared insight into the nature of good and evil, and the things of value that we might try to pass on. Whether behind a badge, roaming on horseback, wearing a business suit, a uniform or a pair of well-worn jeans, his characters could be good and bad. He didn’t really care if he played “the villain or the hero,” the actor once pointed out. “Sometimes the villain is the most colorful. But I prefer a part where you don’t know what he is until the end.” Commentators have pointed out that much of the career of Glenn Ford was based on “niceness”, with decency and morality running consistently through his characters. I find the struggle and inability of Ford‘s characters to remain “nice” in an increasingly complex, unfair world to be one of the factors that makes him an interesting actor. His occasional slow burns on screen in roles such as The Violent Men, Trial, Ransom, The Big Heat and Human Desire, and his overwhelmed comic characters, such as the widower in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, brought out something unexpectedly mercurial in his screen persona. You cannot always predict where he is going to go with a characterization.

When TCM trots out a plethora of Glenn Ford movies this Friday, August 7th, as part of the Summer Under the Stars celebration, I’ll probably be watching–warily. Until the last few years, you see, I didn’t think I liked Glenn Ford. But that was my mistake. Now I know better and can appreciate some of his work. Besides, I need to hang out till the ends of his movies to find out if his character was good or bad.

It was probably my early exposure to Gilda (1946-Charles Vidor) that put me off him as a kid. I think it was a given that if George Macready showed up in a movie, he was probably going to be mean to the heroine. Yet, HOW could all the men in South America except the rest room attendant (Steven Geray) be so mean to Rita Hayworth? Even Glenn Ford, one of the more wholesome looking men in American movies at the time–who just happened to be playing craps in an alley when we first meet him in Gilda–even he liked to chide Rita‘s character every time the poor girl did a fully clothed striptease singing a lament about assigning blame, or cried into her margarita glass while strumming her guitar at 3AM. What’s a girl to do to get a cranky boy’s attention?

Well, as even Mr. Ford admitted late in life, he and Ms. Hayworth were really deeply attracted to one another from the time that they appeared opposite one another in The Lady in Question (1940-Charles Vidor), until they gave each other one more wistful embrace on camera in The Money Trap (1965-Burt Kennedy).

I now see as the real reason for Gilda‘s enduring life. It’s not the absurd, convoluted plot, the twisted relationship between the judgmental Johnny and Gilda, nor even the gaggle of good character actors who give the movie texture. It’s not even just Ms. Hayworth‘s resplendent beauty, photographed so exquisitely by Rudolph Maté.

“I think Gilda remains so popular”, Ford explained late in an interview in the 1990s, “because people realize that it’s a true story – that Rita and I were very much in love. And we remained terribly fond of one another. I guess that electricity came across on screen. I don’t know. I really was in love with Rita.”

In good film noir style, the pair, who eventually made five movies together, seemed to spend most of Gilda sending one another conflicting messages, (and the twosome never married off screen either, though both actors were to have nine marriages between them–just not to each other).

Of course, as I now see with more mature eyes, this reluctantly expressed attraction in the course of the movie helped to fuel the superficially misogynistic film with a radiant heat, which still gives off such a palpable glow to this day. In case one would conclude that Ford might only have an understandable reaction opposite a legendary beauty such as the iconic Hayworth, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Ladies who might seem to oddly paired with Ford brought out something gently sexy, funny and romantic in the actor. The tenderness between Margaret Sullavan and a very young Glenn Ford as refugees without a passport and a country in a disintegrating fascist dominated Europe in Eric Maria Remarque’s So Ends Our Night (1941-John Cromwell) has a fragile, romantically doomed quality that is quite memorable. With neophyte Shirley MacLaine on the set of The Sheepman (1957)Two decades later Ford again struck something captivating when he appeared in an unfortunately forgotten film, Dear Heart (1964-Delbert Mann), about an unlikely romance with a lady postmaster, played by Geraldine Page. Personally, one of the few times I find the bombastic Shirley MacLaine bearable on screen was opposite a comic, manipulative, yet soft-spoken Ford in The Sheepman (1957-George Marshall), when his steely determination counter-balanced her aggressively cute style. In The Undercover Man (1949-Joseph Lewis), Ford plays a Treasury agent investigating the mob, who he worries may come after his wife in the country. In a remarkable scene, which the director Joseph Lewis reported was improvised, all of his pent-up concern and  longing for his wife, tenderly played by Nina Foch, is beautifully expressed in a few moments between the pair. Their sometimes halting, and even wordless conversations and ability to understand one another implicitly is one of the more terse, but accurate representations of love on screen.

Born Gwyllyn Ford in Quebec in 1916, growing up in Santa Monica, Ford was the only son of a Canadian railway employee and his wife. He found his way into the theater after working as Tallulah Bankhead‘s stage manager on three productions, (how I wish I could find out more about that!).

With Jean Rogers in Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence (1939)In 1938, he made his official movie debut opposite Jean Rogers, (along with Richard–then Nicholas, Conte) in Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence (1939), though he had appeared in a few “minor motion pictures” before this one. The 20th Century Fox film, a sort of late Depression era road picture that marries a homesteading story with picaresque “wild boys of the road” tale does meander, but the likability of the boyish lead is unmistakable. Ford signed a contract with the tyrannical but sometimes very imaginative Harry Cohn of Columbia Studios by the late ’30s. He formed a friendship with fellow contractee William Holden (and, if Cohn had his way, Ford‘s arch-rival), and their abiding bond of shared experience would last until Holden‘s death in 1981. The pair even made Texas (1941-George Marshall) together, an enjoyable oater,  in this early phase of both their careers, comparing notes and learning the ropes from each other and the crew. This movie  began Glenn Ford‘s string of 55 Westerns in his long career, a genre he felt particularly comfortable in throughout his career, claiming that “The Western is a man’s world and I love it.” Despite this promising youthful start, he did not begin to hit his stride as an actor in the movies until the postwar period, after he served in the Marines with distinction. This is when his distinctive, professional style began to appear, along with some of the themes of his best movies.

In the better Glenn Ford films, people make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are made by his character.

In the highly entertaining, if slightly preposterous melodrama, A Stolen Life (1946), his pipe-smoking young New England lighthouse keeper impulsively marries the wrong twin, (Bette Davis, having a field day in a dual role). The movie gives his young sap the chance to repent at his leisure, while valiantly trying to make the audience believe that he is a contemporary of his leading lady. In a somewhat more complex role, redolent of the undercurrents in post war America, in the little known Western, The Man From Colorado (1948-Henry Levin), Ford sank his teeth into a part as a veteran of the Civil War. His experience in that bloody conflict shapes his sense of justice once he becomes a highly respectable judge in the frontier. While those around him in this good Borden Chase story honor his service and respect his status, Ford‘s character becomes increasingly aware of his ability to decide life and death for those in his community, and his disintegration as a human being is reflected in the chagrin of his fellow veteran (a callow William Holden, who in real life was the actor’s best friend, seen at the right with Ford in character).With William Holden in The Man From Colorado

Another example of his underplaying a seemingly one dimensional character came in The Big Heat (1953-Fritz Lang). Glenn Ford‘s decent family man and honest cop underestimates the ripple effects of disturbing the equilibrium of a corrupt society, which eventually robs him of almost everything, even his self-restraint. Of course, as soon as Willis Bouchey shows up as a mealy-mouthed police official, we know that things are never going to be what they appear, but we are hardly prepared for the quiet transformation of Ford‘s personality that occurs in the course of this luridly violent but extremely well-crafted film. Inevitably, Ford‘s laconic anguish is overshadowed by the flashier work of both the powerful Lee Marvin and saucy Gloria Grahame in this movie, but we see the steel under the soft surface of his law man, even as  his own self-knowledge torments and animates him. Gloria Grahame and Glenn Ford in their trap in Human Desire (1954)Working with Lang (and Grahame) again in Human Desire (1954) the actor gave his role of the doomed  railroad worker am uncomfortable, late dawning self-awareness as he becomes trapped by his own choices, but his tragedy never quite equals that of Jean Gabin in the 1938 Renoir version of the Zola novel, La Bête Humaine.

In other films, the mistakes are made by others, who take him as he appears, making superficial judgments on his character. Invariably they are taken in by his consistently soft-spoken manner and mild demeanor. Sometimes Ford‘s character is underestimated by all those around him, as his sensitive veteran turned schoolteacher is judged a pushover by his co-workers and students in the inner city high school that is the setting for  Blackboard Jungle (1955-Richard Brooks). Other times all his neighbors, and even the wife he loves (Jeanne Crain) and his cracked nemesis (Broderick Crawford), choose to believe that he is something more than he appears, as in The Fastest Gun Alive (1956-Russell Rouse).

Glenn Ford often appeared to be a quiet, affable, soft-spoken man who will probably do as he’s told, which he spent much of the movie The Violent Men (1955-Rudolph Maté), Trial and even tartly romantic trifle like Dear Heart (1964) disproving. That’s always a mistake, since Ford is an actor who excelled at playing men who were clearly terrified by the choices they were faced with, but were always unwilling to give up trying. That he played these characters in so many genres over the decades would seem to indicate that this unappreciated actor may have been expressing a bit of himself in his many roles as well.

Btw, I should add that in such a long career, not every movie was worthwhile nor was Ford everyone’s darling. A monument to miscasting may be seen in the occasionally aired remake of the 1921 Rudolph Valentino film of Ibanez’ The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962), in which, despite the director Vincente Minnelli‘s choice of Alain Delon for the lead, somehow, Glenn Ford wound up playing a French-Argentinian playboy and painter, (though the two worked together in more appropriate material in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father).

Others found his attempts at comedy painful to observe, with some critics noting that Ford‘s exuberant performance in Teahouse of the August Moon (1956-Daniel Mann) was fitfully “funny but nerve-racking”  to observe. Others felt that such fare was “not really his forte”. Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford in The Rounders (1965)Personally, I found The Rounders (1966) with Ford and Henry Fonda giving two laid back performances as saddle bums looking for some fun, money (and a bit of sex), to be quite amusing. This was especially true in the deft way with dialogue between the two veteran actors and in the depiction of Ford‘s agonizing relationship with a recalcitrant horse. When the material stayed close to reality and did not require an arch, theatrical form of playing, but a bemused manner at life’s contradictions, Glenn Ford could play comedy rather well.

In Frank Capra‘s sometimes controversial account of the making of Pocketful of Miracles (1961) in The Name Above the Title, Ford went from being described as “Hollywood’s most cooperative actor” to being the cause of the veteran filmmaker’s unexpected retirement. Working on The Gazebo, a strained comedy-mystery in 1959, then new film actor Martin Landau said in 2006, that though he had no scenes with the star, he nevertheless visited the set to watch Ford work.  “He was incredibly professional,” said Landau. “I think that was always the case. He came prepared, ready to do it, and he did it well. He was a pro.”

To help you enjoy his films on Friday, I’ll post the complete schedule (with all times listed as EDT) below as well as links to the Glenn Ford website and a long interview with his son, Peter Ford, who is the co-author of a reported forthcoming biography of the actor.

Glenn Ford: A Life in Film

Icons Radio Hour with Peter Ford

An Interview with Glenn Ford (1990)


August 7 Friday Schedule for TCM
6:00 AM Convicted Woman (1940)
An innocent woman sent to prison becomes the focus of a prison-reform movement. Cast: Rochelle Hudson, Frieda Inescort, Glenn Ford. Dir: Nick Grinde. BW-66 mins, TV-PG
7:15 AM Destroyer (1943)
The crew of a torpedoed ship fights to take out an enemy sub. Cast: Edward Robinson, Glenn Ford, Marguerite Chapman. Dir: William A. Seiter. BW-99 mins, TV-G
9:00 AM It Started With A Kiss (1959)
After a whirlwind courtship, an Army officer and his wacky wife try to make their marriage work. Cast: Glenn Ford, Debbie Reynolds, Eva Gabor. Dir: George Marshall. C-100 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
10:41 AM Short Film: Have Faith In Our Children (1955)
Glenn Ford and Eleanor Powell urge moviegoers to donate to the Variety Club of Northern California, a charity for blind children. Cast: Glenn Ford, Eleanor Powell BW-3 mins,
10:55 AM Short Film: Operation Teahouse (1956)
C-4 mins,
11:00 AM Cry for Happy (1961)
Army photographers on leave in Japan take over a geisha house. Cast: Glenn Ford, Donald O’Connor, Miyoshi Umeki. Dir: George Marshall. C-110 mins, TV-PG, Letterbox Format
1:00 PM Courtship Of Eddie’s Father, The (1963)
A young boy plays matchmaker for his widowed father. Cast: Glenn Ford, Ron Howard, Shirley Jones. Dir: Vincente Minnelli. C-119 mins, TV-G, CC, Letterbox Format, DVS
3:00 PM Mr. Soft Touch (1949)
After being betrayed, a gangster hangs out in a settlement house while seeking revenge. Cast: Glenn Ford, Evelyn Keyes, John Ireland. Dir: Gordon Douglas, Henry Levin. BW-93 mins, TV-G
4:45 PM Framed (1947)
A femme fatale lures an unemployed man into helping her with a criminal scheme. Cast: Glenn Ford, Janis Carter, Barry Sullivan. Dir: Richard Wallace. BW-82 mins, TV-PG
6:15 PM Convicted (1950)
A prison warden fights to prove one of his inmates was wrongly convicted. Cast: Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford, Dorothy Malone. Dir: Henry Levin. BW-91 mins, TV-PG, CC
8:00 PM Gilda (1946)
A gambler discovers an old flame in South America, but she’s married to his new boss. Cast: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready. Dir: Charles Vidor. BW-110 mins, TV-PG, CC
10:00 PM Undercover Man, The (1949)
A treasury agent tries to convict a ruthless mobster of tax evasion. Cast: Glenn Ford, Nina Foch, James Whitmore. Dir: Joseph H. Lewis. BW-84 mins, TV-PG
11:30 PM 3:10 To Yuma (1957)
A sheriff must run the gauntlet to get his prisoner out of town. Cast: Glenn Ford, Van Heflin, Felicia Farr. Dir: Delmer Daves. BW-92 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
1:15 AM Rounders, The (1965)
Two ne’er-do-well cowpokes look for sex and easy money in the modern West. Cast: Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, Sue Ane Langdon. Dir: Burt Kennedy. C-85 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
2:45 AM Time for Killing, A (1967)
Confederate soldiers keep the war’s ending a secret so they can escape to Mexico. Cast: Inger Stevens, Glenn Ford, Paul Petersen. Dir: Phil Karlson. C-89 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
4:15 AM Heaven With a Gun (1969)
A gunslinger-turned-preacher is forced to return to his old ways. Cast: Glenn Ford, Carolyn Jones, Barbara Hershey. Dir: Lee H. Katzin. C-101 mins, TV-MA, CC

Sources:
Bogdanovich, Peter, Who the Devil Made It, Ballantine Books, 1997.
Capra, Frank, The Name Above the Title: An Autobiography, Da Capo Press, 1997
King, Susan, Marking Ford’s Long Embrace of Stardom, Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2006.
Silver, Alain, Ursini, James, Film Noir Reader 4, Hal Leonard Corp., 2004
Thomas, Bob, Golden Boy: The Untold Story of William Holden, St. Martin’s Press, 1983.

35 Responses The Unsung Glenn Ford
Posted By sxydeeny : August 5, 2009 9:33 pm

Excellent. I appreciate Mr. Glenn Ford work as an actor and what he has contributed and thank you for posting this blog.

Posted By sxydeeny : August 5, 2009 9:33 pm

Excellent. I appreciate Mr. Glenn Ford work as an actor and what he has contributed and thank you for posting this blog.

Posted By Richard A. Ekstedt : August 6, 2009 12:39 am

His brilliant role in “THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BELL” (1971) is worth screening on TCM and hopefully they will run it. Few people mention he did two tours in Vietnam, saved a injured soldier and carried him through enemy held territory. He was a real hero and from what I learned, a special and wam Human Being!!

Posted By Richard A. Ekstedt : August 6, 2009 12:39 am

His brilliant role in “THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BELL” (1971) is worth screening on TCM and hopefully they will run it. Few people mention he did two tours in Vietnam, saved a injured soldier and carried him through enemy held territory. He was a real hero and from what I learned, a special and wam Human Being!!

Posted By Dan Olson : August 6, 2009 3:44 am

You reeled me into this discussion with that great photo off the Alberta set of Superman, in what I feel is one of his most succinct, poetic performances in a terrific but terribly underrated career before the cameras. As Pa Kent, Ford supplies the humanity which his super-adopted son will need as he grows up.
It’s sad that the long-promised biography remains just a talked about tease to date. I was fortunate enough to dine with Peter and then collaborator Christopher Hitchens a handful of years ago (when Glenn was still with us) and the talk was that many ‘press-related’ misconceptions about him (like the small mention of his father being a railroad executive — he worked for the railroad but was no executive) would be corrected. Yes, he loved Rita mostly from afar, even though they lived side-by-side for much of their middle years in Beverly Hills. The answers to the conflicted reports on his military record were also going to be part of the telling. It sounded like an incredible story and I hope we can see it soon.
In the end, he was a true craftsman who elevated a lot of average material into great entertainment, and who was a consistent and comfortable everyman, whether in comedy, western or dark noir.

Posted By Dan Olson : August 6, 2009 3:44 am

You reeled me into this discussion with that great photo off the Alberta set of Superman, in what I feel is one of his most succinct, poetic performances in a terrific but terribly underrated career before the cameras. As Pa Kent, Ford supplies the humanity which his super-adopted son will need as he grows up.
It’s sad that the long-promised biography remains just a talked about tease to date. I was fortunate enough to dine with Peter and then collaborator Christopher Hitchens a handful of years ago (when Glenn was still with us) and the talk was that many ‘press-related’ misconceptions about him (like the small mention of his father being a railroad executive — he worked for the railroad but was no executive) would be corrected. Yes, he loved Rita mostly from afar, even though they lived side-by-side for much of their middle years in Beverly Hills. The answers to the conflicted reports on his military record were also going to be part of the telling. It sounded like an incredible story and I hope we can see it soon.
In the end, he was a true craftsman who elevated a lot of average material into great entertainment, and who was a consistent and comfortable everyman, whether in comedy, western or dark noir.

Posted By Jerry 42nd Street Memories : August 6, 2009 8:22 am

Ford’s Ben Wade in 3:10 to Yuma is one of the all-time great screen villans. I feel that his subdued performance as the charismatic outlaw is his strongest role.

Posted By Jerry 42nd Street Memories : August 6, 2009 8:22 am

Ford’s Ben Wade in 3:10 to Yuma is one of the all-time great screen villans. I feel that his subdued performance as the charismatic outlaw is his strongest role.

Posted By Patricia : August 6, 2009 9:34 am

When Mr. Ford passed away I looked through my movies and chose to spend the evening with “Dear Heart”.

I am the eldest of four movie loving sisters. When the youngest’s fella once confused Glenn with John Ford, four pairs of eyes turned on him with disdain. My husband, a veteran of such things, explained that if you don’t know – it’s better to keep your mouth shut.

Posted By Patricia : August 6, 2009 9:34 am

When Mr. Ford passed away I looked through my movies and chose to spend the evening with “Dear Heart”.

I am the eldest of four movie loving sisters. When the youngest’s fella once confused Glenn with John Ford, four pairs of eyes turned on him with disdain. My husband, a veteran of such things, explained that if you don’t know – it’s better to keep your mouth shut.

Posted By Al Lowe : August 6, 2009 9:59 am

As usual, your post is great! However…

I am tempted to write “You made one big error” and let you try to figure out what it is.

But I won’t. Your mistake is that Claire Trevor, not Jean Arthur, appeared in Texas with Glenn and Bill Holden. That same year Arthur starred in Arizona with Holden. Ford wasn’t in it.

Texas is one of my favorite Ford pictures. All my other favorites have been mentioned, except Don’t Go Near the Water.

The first part of Texas is fun, and then, like most movies, it gets bogged down in plot.

That great character actor, Edgar Buchanan, played a bad guy, a dentist, and recalled it as his favorite picture. Buchanan had actually been a dentist. He graduated from dental school and had a practice for ten years while he tried to make a success out of acting.

Posted By Al Lowe : August 6, 2009 9:59 am

As usual, your post is great! However…

I am tempted to write “You made one big error” and let you try to figure out what it is.

But I won’t. Your mistake is that Claire Trevor, not Jean Arthur, appeared in Texas with Glenn and Bill Holden. That same year Arthur starred in Arizona with Holden. Ford wasn’t in it.

Texas is one of my favorite Ford pictures. All my other favorites have been mentioned, except Don’t Go Near the Water.

The first part of Texas is fun, and then, like most movies, it gets bogged down in plot.

That great character actor, Edgar Buchanan, played a bad guy, a dentist, and recalled it as his favorite picture. Buchanan had actually been a dentist. He graduated from dental school and had a practice for ten years while he tried to make a success out of acting.

Posted By Jenni : August 6, 2009 10:43 am

Great article! My husband and I have been long-time fans of Glenn Ford’s. Thanks for posting all the movies showing tomorrow on TCM honoring some of the body of his work. I like most of his pics, but my fave is Courtship of Eddie’s Father.

Posted By Jenni : August 6, 2009 10:43 am

Great article! My husband and I have been long-time fans of Glenn Ford’s. Thanks for posting all the movies showing tomorrow on TCM honoring some of the body of his work. I like most of his pics, but my fave is Courtship of Eddie’s Father.

Posted By moirafinnie : August 6, 2009 10:52 am

Hi Dan and Al–
Corrections amended and appreciated, guys! No more editing of posts at 2AM allowed! Oddly, the info about Ford’s father being an exec came from two vintage interviews with the man himself!

I also loved that photo of Ford by the fence as the lead for this article. I believe that in Superman (1978), btw, Glenn Ford‘s approximately three minute performance (complete with death scene) made that movie for me.

Other than that, it’s good to see some affection for this actor. His lack of recognition puzzles me to this day, but perhaps such small scale movies as Dear Heart (1964), which Patricia also mentioned, might re-emerge eventually. The ensemble playing, led by Ford and Page, ranged from subdued drama about the nature of loneliness to a comedic commentary on human nature, and the marvelous supporting cast, with Angela Lansbury, Barbara Nichols, Ruth McDevitt, and Mary Wickes, among many others, contributes to the story immeasurably. Dear Heart deserves to be seen again.

Hi Jerry 42nd Memories-
I think it was intriguing to see how many reviewers asked why the recent remake of 3:10 to Yuma was made, when the original, directed by Delmer Daves, had been a much more concisely written and acted film. Since I am a total Delmer Daves aficionado (yes, even the soapy as well as the more restrained films!), it was good to see the appreciation pour forth for the 1957 version.

Hi Richard A. Ekstedt–
I haven’t seen the made for tv movie, The Brotherhood of the Bell (1970) in years, but hope to eventually track it down. The degree of commitment that Glenn Ford made in serving his country was indeed remarkable and the extent to which he served deserves more recognition. I hope that the forthcoming bio by Peter Ford is published soon too.

My thanks to each of you for taking the trouble to share your comments here.

Posted By moirafinnie : August 6, 2009 10:52 am

Hi Dan and Al–
Corrections amended and appreciated, guys! No more editing of posts at 2AM allowed! Oddly, the info about Ford’s father being an exec came from two vintage interviews with the man himself!

I also loved that photo of Ford by the fence as the lead for this article. I believe that in Superman (1978), btw, Glenn Ford‘s approximately three minute performance (complete with death scene) made that movie for me.

Other than that, it’s good to see some affection for this actor. His lack of recognition puzzles me to this day, but perhaps such small scale movies as Dear Heart (1964), which Patricia also mentioned, might re-emerge eventually. The ensemble playing, led by Ford and Page, ranged from subdued drama about the nature of loneliness to a comedic commentary on human nature, and the marvelous supporting cast, with Angela Lansbury, Barbara Nichols, Ruth McDevitt, and Mary Wickes, among many others, contributes to the story immeasurably. Dear Heart deserves to be seen again.

Hi Jerry 42nd Memories-
I think it was intriguing to see how many reviewers asked why the recent remake of 3:10 to Yuma was made, when the original, directed by Delmer Daves, had been a much more concisely written and acted film. Since I am a total Delmer Daves aficionado (yes, even the soapy as well as the more restrained films!), it was good to see the appreciation pour forth for the 1957 version.

Hi Richard A. Ekstedt–
I haven’t seen the made for tv movie, The Brotherhood of the Bell (1970) in years, but hope to eventually track it down. The degree of commitment that Glenn Ford made in serving his country was indeed remarkable and the extent to which he served deserves more recognition. I hope that the forthcoming bio by Peter Ford is published soon too.

My thanks to each of you for taking the trouble to share your comments here.

Posted By Suzi : August 6, 2009 1:17 pm

Moirafinnie: You have outdone yourself — a difficult task. Ford deserved the “Moira treatment,” and you did a terriric job. I think my Dad and all my uncles loved The Rounders so much that I like the film just for that reason alone. I remember watching Dear Heart with my Mom because she always liked Geralding Page. I think it is underrated because it’s about women’s feelings and insecurities. As for me, I am a Big Heat girl all the way. Looks like this Friday I have a date with Glenn Ford, which will be much better than most of my recent dates.

Posted By Suzi : August 6, 2009 1:17 pm

Moirafinnie: You have outdone yourself — a difficult task. Ford deserved the “Moira treatment,” and you did a terriric job. I think my Dad and all my uncles loved The Rounders so much that I like the film just for that reason alone. I remember watching Dear Heart with my Mom because she always liked Geralding Page. I think it is underrated because it’s about women’s feelings and insecurities. As for me, I am a Big Heat girl all the way. Looks like this Friday I have a date with Glenn Ford, which will be much better than most of my recent dates.

Posted By Richard A. Ekstedt : August 6, 2009 1:32 pm

“THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BELL” was an award winning made for tv film that I have repeatitly begged TCM to run. Dark, chilling and brilliant, it is almost totally forgotten today and it shows Glenn Ford’s incredible talent as an actor. Cast includes DEAN JAGGER, MAURICE EVANS, WILL GREER and WILLIAM CONRAD as a Allan Burke tv host. It was directed by PAUL WENDKOS who did “FEAR NO EVIL” Universal 1969 and “THE MEPHISTO WALTZ” 20th Fox 1971. PLEASE TCM! BRING BACK THIS FILM!!!

Posted By Richard A. Ekstedt : August 6, 2009 1:32 pm

“THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BELL” was an award winning made for tv film that I have repeatitly begged TCM to run. Dark, chilling and brilliant, it is almost totally forgotten today and it shows Glenn Ford’s incredible talent as an actor. Cast includes DEAN JAGGER, MAURICE EVANS, WILL GREER and WILLIAM CONRAD as a Allan Burke tv host. It was directed by PAUL WENDKOS who did “FEAR NO EVIL” Universal 1969 and “THE MEPHISTO WALTZ” 20th Fox 1971. PLEASE TCM! BRING BACK THIS FILM!!!

Posted By Cool Bev : August 6, 2009 3:12 pm

I am also a big lover of DEAR HEART, although maybe more for Geraldine Page’s contribution. You refer to it as a small picture, but it had a certain size to it – the big convention scenes, the numerous secondary characters, all nicely drawn, the feel of the big city.

I’m afraid Ford sometimes comes across as a John Forsythe type – an older, straight arrow, with a brow furrowed by concern for the youth of today, or some such. I’ll have to watch some more of his films and get a more rounded view.

Posted By Cool Bev : August 6, 2009 3:12 pm

I am also a big lover of DEAR HEART, although maybe more for Geraldine Page’s contribution. You refer to it as a small picture, but it had a certain size to it – the big convention scenes, the numerous secondary characters, all nicely drawn, the feel of the big city.

I’m afraid Ford sometimes comes across as a John Forsythe type – an older, straight arrow, with a brow furrowed by concern for the youth of today, or some such. I’ll have to watch some more of his films and get a more rounded view.

Posted By Medusa : August 6, 2009 4:43 pm

Lovely post for a wonderful actor! I’m also hugely moved by his Pa Kent in “Superman” and it’s one of the best death scenes ever, so haunting.

An understated gem, he was. I love the photos of Ford’s gardening prowess on his son’s website — what a multi-talented man he was, and down-to-earth (literally) and brave.

Definitely one of the good ones!

Posted By Medusa : August 6, 2009 4:43 pm

Lovely post for a wonderful actor! I’m also hugely moved by his Pa Kent in “Superman” and it’s one of the best death scenes ever, so haunting.

An understated gem, he was. I love the photos of Ford’s gardening prowess on his son’s website — what a multi-talented man he was, and down-to-earth (literally) and brave.

Definitely one of the good ones!

Posted By Al Lowe : August 7, 2009 12:10 am

Your post got me to watch my vhs of Texas again. It was great.

It was directed by the great comedy specialist George Marshall, who made many clinkers but also helmed Murder He Says, The Blue Dahlia, Destry Rides Again, The Ghost Breakers and The Sheepman. Not shabby. He could do good work. There are some of his films that sound promising that I haven’t seen, like And the Angels Sing, A Millionaire for Christy and Red Garters. I also enjoyed Variety Girl and Star Spangled Rhythm but I’m a sucker for all-star films. He also did part of How the West Was Won, which is not a classic but one that entertains most people.

In Texas we first see Bill Holden and Glenn Ford as they appear before a judge prejudiced towards Confederate soldiers. Their crime? Stealing a pig. The hot headed Holden attacks the judge.
George Bancroft, as a well like local politico, comes to their rescue and pays their fines. So Holden agrees later to become a last minute replacement in a boxing match Bancroft sponsors. He is up against a pro who knocks him down 35 times. But Holden keeps getting up. Then he learns that Bancroft bet on his opponent and becomes angry enough to beat the pro. As he rides away with Ford, Holden learns that his buddy, Glenn, bet their last bit of money on the other guy.
Things keep happening to them like they’re in an Indiana Jones film. They witness a stagecoach robbery from afar and follow and rob the robbers. Holden is thought to be the coach robber and is almost lynched but Ford gets the mob to disperse but telling them that Indians are on the warpath. “Ain’t I a liar?” Ford tells Holden with a grin and they ride off in the opposite direction.
Then the plot thickens. Both men fall in love with ranch owner Claire Trevor. Ford stands for law and order and Holden pulls some unethical stunts. They agree that they “have fallen on opposite sides of the fence.”
Although most of the rest of the film is standard Western stuff, Marshall still manages to pull some gags. At one point Trevor does a pratfall when she trips over a beautiful saddle, a gift Holden bought her. Some gunmen chase Holden through some business offices and interrupt a man taking a bath in a tub. “Sorry, Sheriff,” Holden says.

TCM has been showing Columbia Pictures films and could have picked this one to honor Ford. But they didn’t. Let’s hope they show it soon.

Posted By Al Lowe : August 7, 2009 12:10 am

Your post got me to watch my vhs of Texas again. It was great.

It was directed by the great comedy specialist George Marshall, who made many clinkers but also helmed Murder He Says, The Blue Dahlia, Destry Rides Again, The Ghost Breakers and The Sheepman. Not shabby. He could do good work. There are some of his films that sound promising that I haven’t seen, like And the Angels Sing, A Millionaire for Christy and Red Garters. I also enjoyed Variety Girl and Star Spangled Rhythm but I’m a sucker for all-star films. He also did part of How the West Was Won, which is not a classic but one that entertains most people.

In Texas we first see Bill Holden and Glenn Ford as they appear before a judge prejudiced towards Confederate soldiers. Their crime? Stealing a pig. The hot headed Holden attacks the judge.
George Bancroft, as a well like local politico, comes to their rescue and pays their fines. So Holden agrees later to become a last minute replacement in a boxing match Bancroft sponsors. He is up against a pro who knocks him down 35 times. But Holden keeps getting up. Then he learns that Bancroft bet on his opponent and becomes angry enough to beat the pro. As he rides away with Ford, Holden learns that his buddy, Glenn, bet their last bit of money on the other guy.
Things keep happening to them like they’re in an Indiana Jones film. They witness a stagecoach robbery from afar and follow and rob the robbers. Holden is thought to be the coach robber and is almost lynched but Ford gets the mob to disperse but telling them that Indians are on the warpath. “Ain’t I a liar?” Ford tells Holden with a grin and they ride off in the opposite direction.
Then the plot thickens. Both men fall in love with ranch owner Claire Trevor. Ford stands for law and order and Holden pulls some unethical stunts. They agree that they “have fallen on opposite sides of the fence.”
Although most of the rest of the film is standard Western stuff, Marshall still manages to pull some gags. At one point Trevor does a pratfall when she trips over a beautiful saddle, a gift Holden bought her. Some gunmen chase Holden through some business offices and interrupt a man taking a bath in a tub. “Sorry, Sheriff,” Holden says.

TCM has been showing Columbia Pictures films and could have picked this one to honor Ford. But they didn’t. Let’s hope they show it soon.

Posted By moirafinnie : August 7, 2009 3:26 pm

TCM has been showing Columbia Pictures films and could have picked this one to honor Ford. But they didn’t. Let’s hope they show it soon.
~ Al Lowe

Actually, Al, I believe that TCM has shown Texas (1941) before within the last 5 years. It may not have been available for lease for today, despite the programming staff’s efforts. Fortunately, they did manage to include four of Glenn Ford‘s Westerns for today and Texas is available on DVD as well as VHS for a reasonable price.

I agree about the guiding hand of George Marshall, whose films may not have been earth-shaking, but were definitely entertaining. I’m still hoping that Murder, He Says (1945) with Fred MacMurray encountering Marjorie Main‘s backwoods brood, will show up on broadcast cable again someday. One of the funniest and deeply silly movies of all time.

Btw, according to Bob Thomas‘ account of the filming of Texas in his bio of Holden, director George Marshall used to goad the relative neophyte Glenn Ford into performing his own stunts by saying stuff like, “Bill Holden is all ready to do that cattle drive on horseback across the river. Do you want me to get a stuntman to do your bit in that scene…or what?” Marshall would try the same ploy on William Holden.

Naturally, the production company wound up with the two young actors competing fiercely with one another, though the pair gradually caught on to the manipulation and sought out the advice of seasoned stunt men before agreeing to riskier stunts. Despite the competitive streak in their friendship, the rapport they showed on screen was very real.

Posted By moirafinnie : August 7, 2009 3:26 pm

TCM has been showing Columbia Pictures films and could have picked this one to honor Ford. But they didn’t. Let’s hope they show it soon.
~ Al Lowe

Actually, Al, I believe that TCM has shown Texas (1941) before within the last 5 years. It may not have been available for lease for today, despite the programming staff’s efforts. Fortunately, they did manage to include four of Glenn Ford‘s Westerns for today and Texas is available on DVD as well as VHS for a reasonable price.

I agree about the guiding hand of George Marshall, whose films may not have been earth-shaking, but were definitely entertaining. I’m still hoping that Murder, He Says (1945) with Fred MacMurray encountering Marjorie Main‘s backwoods brood, will show up on broadcast cable again someday. One of the funniest and deeply silly movies of all time.

Btw, according to Bob Thomas‘ account of the filming of Texas in his bio of Holden, director George Marshall used to goad the relative neophyte Glenn Ford into performing his own stunts by saying stuff like, “Bill Holden is all ready to do that cattle drive on horseback across the river. Do you want me to get a stuntman to do your bit in that scene…or what?” Marshall would try the same ploy on William Holden.

Naturally, the production company wound up with the two young actors competing fiercely with one another, though the pair gradually caught on to the manipulation and sought out the advice of seasoned stunt men before agreeing to riskier stunts. Despite the competitive streak in their friendship, the rapport they showed on screen was very real.

Posted By Latest » Summer Under the Stars Featuring Glenn Ford : August 7, 2009 9:14 pm

[...] I need to hang out till the ends of his movies to find out if his character was good or bad…please click here for more Share and [...]

Posted By Latest » Summer Under the Stars Featuring Glenn Ford : August 7, 2009 9:14 pm

[...] I need to hang out till the ends of his movies to find out if his character was good or bad…please click here for more Share and [...]

Posted By Chris Taylor : August 11, 2009 10:24 pm

Moira:

Thanks for the article on Ford. He has long been one of my favorites. I think because he wasn’t flashy like Gable or as handsome as Grant he had a certain appeal to an ordinary guy, but one with values, determination and grit.

If he played only himself then I am glad he shared himself with us because I think he is quite interesting.

Posted By Chris Taylor : August 11, 2009 10:24 pm

Moira:

Thanks for the article on Ford. He has long been one of my favorites. I think because he wasn’t flashy like Gable or as handsome as Grant he had a certain appeal to an ordinary guy, but one with values, determination and grit.

If he played only himself then I am glad he shared himself with us because I think he is quite interesting.

Posted By Ростислав Лебедев : December 27, 2009 2:16 pm

Интересный пост, спасибо вам. Меня интересует вопрос – будет ли продолжение? :)

Posted By Ростислав Лебедев : December 27, 2009 2:16 pm

Интересный пост, спасибо вам. Меня интересует вопрос – будет ли продолжение? :)

Posted By paula : May 2, 2016 2:49 pm

Happy 100th birthday to the great, late actor Glenn Ford: May 1, 2016
http://www.thespectrum.com/story/entertainment/2016/04/28/remembering-glenn-ford-100/83515116/

Leave a Reply

Current ye@r *

We regret to inform you that FilmStruck is now closed.  Our last day of service was November 29, 2018.

Please visit tcm.com/help for more information.

We would like to thank our many fans and loyal customers who supported us.  FilmStruck was truly a labor of love, and in a world with an abundance of entertainment options – THANK YOU for choosing us.