We recently realized that our quizzes are usually about actors, occasionally about classic films, but they we were neglecting the famous directors of Hollywood’s Golden Era. What better way to try and rectify that than with today’s Quiz.
John Ford officially triumphed in several screen genres over a nearly 60-year period but not necessarily for his many westerns. He won an Academy Award multiple times but never for a western.
His ageless classic Stagecoach was nominated in the 1940 sweepstakes but something titled Gone With The Wind got in the way.
So much for such now lionized Ford oaters — 1956’s The Searchers, 1962’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1948’s Fort Apache, 1949’s She Wore A Yellow Ribbon and 1946’s My Darling Clementine — that rank among the best of the director’s total out put of some 35 westerns dating from the silent era to the 1960’s.
We can debate why this general situation was so. We suspect official Academy Award members condescended to westerns as strictly commercial entertainment, designed for the masses. Certainly not the stuff of Oscar-worthy art Hollywood style .(And Ford never regarded himself as a high-flown auteur. I make pictures to pay the rent, he once said.)
By the late classic studio period, in the Fifties and Sixties, this perception changed. Westerns were dolled up with bigger budgets, wide-screen presentations and such doo-hickies as overtures and entr’acts (intermissions). All these were mounted, of course, with box office ambitions. Casts were large and stars were plentiful. Ford himself participated in one such exercise via 1962’s How The West Was Won, which boasted a top line of John Wayne, James Stewart, Gregory Peck and Henry Fonda.
In any case, Ford worked in a variety of genres over his very long and productive career, and, oddly enough, derided his work in westerns. He remains among the most influential directors Hollywood ever produced. He is, in short, a certified national treasure.
Ok, on to our Questions. Answers tomorrow.
1) Question: Ford won four best director Academy Awards, a record that still stands. But he ALSO won two more Oscars for a) art direction; b) special effects; c) cinematography; or d) documentary direction.
2) Question: Many if not all Ford westerns were shot in Monument Valley, his unforgettable signature setting. Where exactly is Monument Valley located? a) in New Mexico; b) in Eastern California; c) in New Jersey; or d) on the border of Arizona and Utah.
3) Question: Ford famously referred to one of his actors as “a big idiot” and punched out another. Who are these besieged actors? a) Ward Bond and Ken Curtis; b) Ben Johnson and Victor McLaglen; c) John Wayne and Henry Fonda; or d) Woody Strode and Tom Tyler.
4) Question: One of the two studio mainstays Ford worked with at 20th Century Fox in the 1930’s was Shirley Temple. Who was is the other? a) Betty Grable; b) Alice Faye; c) Katharine Hepburn; or d) Will Rogers.
5) Question: Orson Welles and Ford are considered the two directors who most influences American films in the 20th century. Yet, they not get along neither personally nor professionally. a) True; or b) False.