After Orson Welles (“John Ford, John Ford and John Ford”), Howard Hawks (“It’s hard to make a western without thinking about Jack Ford….Well, any film really.”), Anthony Mann (“In one shot, he expresses location, content, and character more quickly than anyone else can.”) and Jean Renoir (“I learned how not to move my camera!” after seeing The Informer), etc., etc., etc., I didn’t really think the ante of praise for John Ford could possibly be upped.
Then I ran across this, from an article about Negahdar Jamali, an Iranian director who has been making westerns in his home country for thirty-five years. I have no idea of the quality of Jamali’s films, which are evidently made on shoestring budgets, but no artist could ever receive a higher compliment than this from someone who has gone his own way in a police state for his entire adult life:
“Ford’s films – and his own – are about men who try to ‘remove the blanket of evil from the land,’ said Jamali.
I especially like that word “try.”
(This is from an article at the invaluable website “DIrected By John Ford.” which unfortunately no longer exists. The point stands)