“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” This line from director John Ford’s film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance serves as an epigraph for the life of the legendary filmmaker.
Through a career that spanned decades and included dozens of films—among them such American masterpieces as The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, The Quiet Man, Stagecoach, and How Green Was My Valley—John Ford managed to leave as his legacy a body of work that few filmmakers will ever equal. Yet as bold as the stamp of his personality was on each film, he was reticent about his personal life. Basically shy, and intensely private, he was known to enjoy making up stories about himself, some of them based loosely on fact but many of them pure fabrications. Ford preferred instead to let his films speak for him. What mattered to Ford was always what was up there on the screen.
Now, in this definitive look at the life and career of one of America's true cinematic giants, noted biographer and critic Scott Eyman, working with the full participation of the Ford estate, has managed to document and delineate both aspects of John Ford’s life—the human and the legend.