Francis Ford (actor)

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Francis Ford
Francis Ford 1917.png
Francis Ford in 1917
Born
Francis Feeney

(1881-08-14)August 14, 1881
DiedSeptember 5, 1953(1953-09-05) (aged 72)
Other namesJ. Francis O'Fearna
OccupationActor
Film director
Writer
Years active1909–1953
Spouse(s) Elsie Van Name (1909–1934) (2 children)
Mary Armstrong (1935–1953) (his death)
Children Philip Ford
Francis Joseph Ford Jr.

Francis Ford (born Francis Feeney, August 14, 1881 – September 5, 1953) was an American film actor, writer and director. He was the mentor and elder brother of film director John Ford. [1] He also appeared in many of the latter's movies, including Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) and The Quiet Man (1952).

John Ford American film director

John Ford was an American film director. He is renowned both for Westerns such as Stagecoach (1939), The Searchers (1956), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), as well as adaptations of classic 20th-century American novels such as the film The Grapes of Wrath (1940). His four Academy Awards for Best Director remain a record. One of the films for which he won the award, How Green Was My Valley, also won Best Picture.

<i>Young Mr. Lincoln</i> 1939 film by John Ford

Young Mr. Lincoln is a 1939 American biographical drama film about the early life of President Abraham Lincoln, directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda. Ford and producer Darryl F. Zanuck fought for control of the film, to the point where Ford destroyed unwanted takes for fear the studio would use them in the film. Screenwriter Lamar Trotti was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing/Original Story.

<i>The Quiet Man</i> 1952 film by John Ford

The Quiet Man is a 1952 Technicolor American romantic comedy-drama film directed by John Ford. It stars John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond and Victor McLaglen. The screenplay by Frank S. Nugent was based on a 1933 Saturday Evening Post short story of the same name by Maurice Walsh, later published as part of a collection titled The Green Rushes. The film is notable for Winton Hoch's lush photography of the Irish countryside and a long, climactic, semi-comic fist fight. It was an official selection of the 1952 Venice Film Festival.

Contents

Biography

Production still of the cast and crew of the Universal silent serial The Broken Coin (1915). Grace Cunard and Francis Ford are in the center on the throne, the young actress Gertrude Short is seated on the floor in front of Miss Cunard, and John Ford is third from the left. A Pathe motion picture camera is on the right in front the cameraman, most probably Harry McGuire Stanley. Broken Coin 1915.jpg
Production still of the cast and crew of the Universal silent serial The Broken Coin (1915). Grace Cunard and Francis Ford are in the center on the throne, the young actress Gertrude Short is seated on the floor in front of Miss Cunard, and John Ford is third from the left. A Pathé motion picture camera is on the right in front the cameraman, most probably Harry McGuire Stanley.

Francis Ford was born in Portland, Maine. He was the son of John A. Feeney, who was born in the village of Spiddal, County Galway, Ireland, on June 15, 1854. By 1878, John had moved to Portland, Maine, and opened a saloon, at 42 Center Street, that used a false front to pose as grocery store. John opened four others in following years.

Portland, Maine Largest city in Maine, United States

Portland is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Maine and the seat of Cumberland County. Portland's population was 67,067 as of 2017. The Greater Portland metropolitan area is home to over half a million people, more than one-third of Maine's total population, making it the most populous metropolitan area in northern New England. Portland's economy relies mostly on the service sector and tourism. The Old Port district is known for its 19th-century architecture and nightlife. Marine industry still plays an important role in the city's economy, with an active waterfront that supports fishing and commercial shipping. The Port of Portland is the largest tonnage seaport in New England.

Spiddal Village in Connacht, Ireland

Spiddal is a village on the shore of Galway Bay in County Galway, Ireland. It is 18 kilometres (11 mi) west of Galway city, on the R336 road. Spiddal is on the eastern side of the county's Gaeltacht and of the Connemara region. It is a centre for tourism with a scenic beach, harbour and shore fishing. The village is part of the civil parish of Moycullen.

County Galway County in the Republic of Ireland

County Galway is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West of Ireland, part of the province of Connacht.

After service in the United States Army in the Spanish–American War, Francis left home. He drifted into the film business in New York City, working for David Horsley, (In Pappy: The Life Of John Ford, Dan Ford wrote about Francis Ford and the war, "The Army soon discovered that he was only fifteen and sent him home.") [2]

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Spanish–American War Conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States

The Spanish–American War was an armed conflict between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana harbor in Cuba, leading to U.S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The war led to emergence of U.S. predominance in the Caribbean region, and resulted in U.S. acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions. That led to U.S. involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately in the Philippine–American War.

David Horsley American film director

David Horsley was an American pioneer of the film industry. He founded the Centaur Film Company and its West Coast branch, the Nestor Film Company, which established the first film studio in Hollywood in 1911.

Al Christie and the Star Film Company's San Antonio operation under Gaston Méliès. He adopted the name Ford from the automobile. [3] From San Antonio, Francis began his Hollywood career working for Thomas H. Ince at Ince's Bison studio, directing and appearing in westerns.

Al Christie film director, producer, and screenwriter

Alfred Ernest Christie was a Canadian-born film director, producer, and screenwriter.

Star Film Company French film production company

The Manufacture de Films pour Cinématographes, often known as the Star Film Company, was a French film production company run by the illusionist and film director Georges Méliès.

Gaston Méliès was a French film director who worked primarily in the United States. He was the brother of the famous film director Georges Méliès.

Francis Ford's younger brother, John M. Feeney, nicknamed "Bull," was a successful fullback and defensive tackle on a Portland High state championship football team. In 1914, "Bull" followed Francis to Hollywood, changed his name to John Ford and eventually surpassed his elder brother's considerable reputation.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team with possession of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without possession of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays; if they fail, they turn over the football to the defense, but if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs to continue the drive. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Francis Ford's son, Philip Ford, was also a film actor/director. Ford died after being diagnosed with cancer.

Philip Ford (film director) Film director, actor

Philip Ford was an American film director and actor. He directed 43 films between 1945 and 1964. He also appeared 16 in films between 1916 and 1926. He was the son of actor/director Francis Ford and the nephew of director John Ford. He was born with the family name Feeney in Portland, Maine, and only later took on the family name of "Ford" after his father and uncle had. He died in Los Angeles, California.

Work

Advertisement for A Study in Scarlet, directed by and starring Francis Ford 1914 A Study in Scarlet 1914.jpg
Advertisement for A Study in Scarlet, directed by and starring Francis Ford 1914
1915 in Universal post cards Francis ford 1915.png.jpg
1915 in Universal post cards

Ford may have acted in over 400 films, with many of his early credits poorly documented and probably lost.

Ambitious and prolific, in Ford's early work he cast himself as George Armstrong Custer, Sherlock Holmes (with his younger brother as Dr. Watson) and Abraham Lincoln, a role in which he specialized. By 1912, Ford was directing alongside Thomas Ince. It rapidly became clear that Ince was routinely taking credit for Ford's work, [4] so Ford moved to Universal in early 1913. His 1913 Lucille Love, Girl of Mystery was Universal's first serial, and the first of a string of very popular serials starring Ford's collaborator and lover Grace Cunard. The 1915 serial The Broken Coin was expanded from 15 to 22 episodes by popular demand, probably the height of Ford's career.

In 1917, Ford founded a short-lived independent company, Fordart Films, which released the 1918 Berlin via America with Phil Kelly, and briefly opened his own studio at Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street. At the same time, Ford mentored his younger brother, collaborating frequently as writers, directors and actors in each other's projects, but as early as 1917, it was clear that John's star was on the rise. Frank's directorial style remained suitable for serials, but failed to evolve. [5] Ford's final known directoral credit is for the 1928 The Call of the Heart, a 50-minute vehicle for "Dynamite the Devil Dog".

The Ford brothers were, at the best of times, critical of each other and sometimes sharply antagonistic. Ford wrote an unpublished memoir in 1934 called Up and Down the Ladder which is "filled with bitter and sometimes heartrending complaints about how old-timers who had helped create the industry had been shunted aside by younger men." [6] From the late 1920s, and for the next two decades, Ford sustained a career as a grizzled character actor and bit player. He is often uncredited, as in his appearance in James Whale's 1931 Frankenstein. Among his most memorable roles was that of the demented old man in The Ox-Bow Incident (1943).

Selected filmography

Television

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References

  1. Cross, Mary. 100 People who Changed 20th-century America. ABC-CLIO. p. 145. ISBN   9781610690850 . Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  2. Ford, Dan (1998). Pappy: The Life Of John Ford. Da Capo Press. p. 6. ISBN   0306808757 . Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  3. Scott Eyman, Print the Legend, page 40
  4. Scott Eyman, Print the Legend, page 43
  5. Joseph McBride, Searching for John Ford, page 94
  6. Joseph McBride, Searching for John Ford, pages 94–95