When you attend Art College, the first thing they do is take your colors away and lock ‘em up. Then they hand you a black crayon and a piece of white paper and say: “Shut up and Draw, pardner.”
And draw you do.
In 1917 John Ford was handed a black crayon and a camera – and between 1917 and 1927 he drew 62 black and white ‘moving pictures’. ’Silent films’ they called ‘em.
Some 40 of these ‘pictures’ were lost – basically thrown away. But in the process Ford learned the Mastery of composition, framing and direction.
Then, about 1928, somebody said: “Hey … maybe this guy can help us figure out how to use this thing called ‘Sound’.”
Wikipedia: “Stagecoach (1939) was Ford’s first western since 3 Bad Men in 1926, and it was his first with sound. Reputedly Orson Welles watched Stagecoach forty times in preparation for making Citizen Kane. It remains one of the most admired and imitated of all Hollywood movies, not least for its climactic stagecoach chase and the hair-raising horse-jumping scene, performed by the stuntman Yakima Canutt.”
Ultimately, in 1939, Ford finally got his colors:
Wikipedia: ”Drums along the Mohawk (1939) was a lavish frontier drama co-starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert it was also Ford’s first movie in color and included uncredited script contributions by William Faulkner. It was a big box-office success, grossing $1.25 million in its first year in the US and earning Edna May Oliver a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance.”
But Ford had learned something about Black and White – it could say things in dramatic ways that color often distracted from. So on occasion he went back to his black crayon and white slate, as in “The Man who shot Liberty Valence”.
So … pardon my colors.
In my study of Journalism, Graphic Design and Fine Arts, I learned a simple lesson: “Keep your mouth shut and let the pictures do the talking.”
These ‘stills’ from My Darling Clementine speak loudly. My Darling Clementine probably contains more ‘Iconic Images’ than any other Western ever made. These are just a few:
“I am… a mushroom; On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then.” / John Ford
Documentary Biography: Directed by John Ford (1971)
“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.” / John Ford
Information edited from Screen Junkies:
John Ford Western Movies – Jackie Barlow
“We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” / Navajo Proverb
“Director John Ford’s 1939 film Stagecoach, starring John Wayne, has had an enduring influence in making Monument Valley famous. After that first experience, Ford returned nine times to shoot Westerns — even when the films were not set in Arizona or Utah. A popular lookout point is named in his honor as “John Ford Point.”"
- Travels with Grama http://www.travelswithgrama.com/travels/monvalley.htm
Below: John Ford’s Point: Shot from the new movie: The Lone Ranger - starring Johnny Depp and Arnie Hammer.