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John Ford Essay

4592 words - 18 pages

The Motion Picture Industry has always been a tough working field. Getting started in this business usually led down a rough path. It meant hard work in finding topics and plots that would interest people and finding producers and funds to pay for the high expenses. Once one got established in movie making, the competition ran fierce. One had to maintain a name and strive to make movies that would be popular to the public. In a field that revolved around entertaining people, names of great movie actors and directors always rose up out of the crowd. These people were known for providing the best movies. On February 1st, 1895, one of these people was introduced to the world. Born in Cape Elizabeth, Maine; John Ford was going to become one of the world's greatest movie legends. Ford's birth name was actually Sean Aloysius O'Feeney. His parents, John and Barbara, were both Irish immigrants who came to the United States separately and met after they both arrived. They never knew each other in Ireland but shared similar backgrounds. They got married in 1875 and went on to live a rather hectic life having to move often to accommodate both a growing family and different financial situations. In 1889, John O'Feeney decided to move to a small one hundred-acre farm near Cape Elizabeth. It was here that John Ford was born. John (Sean Aloysius), also known as Jack to his family, was ninth of thirteen children, however only nine survived into adulthood. The second child, Delia, died at the age of three from measles. Infant mortality took the lives of three others as mortality rates ran as high as fifty percent in the late 1800's. John Ford lived a rough childhood. Ford's parents had a rough time supporting the nine children. As a small child, John could remember seeing the phrase, "Irish need not apply" in the newspaper job listings. His father made a living by opening a small saloon called, "Five Corners Bar" and even this became a burden for his father because this was during the time of the prohibition movement in America and Barbara, his wife, was against drinking. Ford's interests can be traced all the way back to his elementary school years. One of his favorite childhood memories was watching the old nickelodeon machines. Ford said, "as a kid, I was fascinated by Nickelodeons. Anytime I had a nickel or dime, I went" (qtd. in Davis 19). The movie theater was only two blocks away from his father's saloon so it was easy for John to make the trip. John contracted Diphtheria at the age of eight, causing him to spend the majority of the year in bed. He remembers drawing pictures of Cowboys and Indians and developed a fascination for the Civil War. As John grew up, he worked as an usher at two theaters near his home. He would often come home and act out scenes from the latest plays. "I loved to watch plays," Ford later claimed, "but I never thought of going to New York" (qtd. in Davis 19) In 1910, John...

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