A Job of Work: John Ford as an Auteur

Finally got around to posting the final part of my piece on the early comedies of John Ford. As this is adapted from my undergraduate dissertation I’ve had to trim a few bits here and there which seem slightly redundant now that I no longer have to prove anything, but on the whole it should still make interesting reading. Don’t forget part 1 and part 2.

“I have never thought about what I was doing in terms of art… to me it was always a job of work.”
John Ford[1]

Much of John Ford’s legacy as one of the great directors rests on his reputation as an “auteur”, a director who consistently articulated the same themes and concerns throughout his entire career. His films have been subject to countless thematic analyses, some of the most famous being the auteur-structuralist readings of critics like Peter Wollen, which seek to explicate the underlying structure throughout his films, and to detail the “richness of the shifting relations between antinomies”[2]. Valuable as these insights can be, they often ignore more pragmatic explanations of a text’s workings, obscuring the social and economic context, and the practical considerations of film making in the studio era. Even in cases where such factors are taken into account, as in the Cahiers du Cinéma editors’ renowned analysis of Young Mr Lincoln,[3] the tendency is to depict them less as tangible influences on the film’s construction, and more as ideological tensions which are played out on a purely textual level, so that the meaning of the text becomes ahistorical, and these factors emerge merely as fragments of a meaning which is only rendered complete by the operations of the text itself.

In this chapter I hope to demonstrate that the usefulness of the auteur theory in analysing a film is determined by the varying influence of various historical factors, and our knowledge of the realities of the film making process. By contrasting two of Ford’s films, Up the River and The Whole Town’s Talking, I aim to show how Ford’s working methods, and particularly his involvement in the pre-production stage, make an important impact on our ability to see these films as “auteur” pieces.

Up the River (1930) had originally been planned as a gritty prison drama which would capitalise on public interest in prisons following a much reported uprising at New York’s Auburn prison that year, and the subsequent success of a Broadway play set on death row called The Last Mile. These plans were somewhat scuppered by the early release of a similar MGM project called The Big House, and Fox weren’t keen on the idea of releasing what would seem like a pale imitation. At this point, Ford, who was already on board the project, persuaded them that the picture could work as a comedy instead. Ford’s eagerness to rescue the project was no doubt due to the fact that he had already begun to cast the film, an important process of which he once said:

“with the exception of the stars who [were in the thirties] signed for parts by the studio in advance, I insist on choosing names for myself. And I spend more time on that task than on any other.”[4]

In fact, Ford was able to cast the leads in Up the River. On a scouting trip to New York he had seen The Last Mile and convinced its star, Spencer Tracy, to make what would be his first film appearance (he had been screen-tested before, but only as a character actor, and Ford persuaded Fox to try him as a leading man). While in New York he also saw Humphrey Bogart in The Skyrocket, and cast him as the romantic lead. For Ford, casting was essential in creating believable characters, and his talent for casting to type, and frequent use of the familiar faces of his ‘stock company’, were able to fill in the gaps in character backstory that were left by his dislike for expository dialogue.

In his interviews with Peter Bogdanovich, Ford claims to have rewritten the script himself, in collaboration with character comedian William Collier Sr.[5] Though not a writer himself (a fact which, according to Dudley Nichols, always drove him ‘nuts’)[6] Ford often oversaw the writing process on his films, beginning from his early western shorts with Harry Carey, when the two of them would work out the scenarios together. In 1930, Ford began a collaboration with Dudley Nichols that would last several years, and influence the way Ford worked with other writers. His typical process from that point onwards was to choose a screenwriter for the project, assign him to background research, and have him write the screenplay aboard his yacht while Ford played poker with his friends. During this time he would direct the writing process, sometimes dictating the film scene by scene, sometimes simply cutting out what he saw as superfluous dialogue to create a lean, economical style.[7]

Ford would often improvise bits of business on set – one famous ad-lib scene being Wyatt Earp balancing on his chair in My Darling Clementine. Ford allowed for a relaxed atmosphere on set, often taking advantage of ad-libs or ‘happy accidents’ to bring an air of spontaneity to the film – a tone absolutely conducive to his style of comedy. It was in this way that Victor McLaglen’s character in Wee Willie Winkie was built up, with Ford adding extra bits of business as they went along.[8] Ford also allowed actors to improvise, and Will Rogers and Stepin Fetchit would often rewrite their lines as they went along to suit their personas better.[9] This informal style meant that the actors were able to loosen up their performances, lending a more natural charm to the comedy.

Up the River (1931)

Up the River (1931)

Up the River is the story of two convicts, St Louis (Spencer Tracy) and Dannemora Dan (Warren Hymer), who escape from prison to help their friend Steve (Humphrey Bogart) foil a nefarious con-artist. It has the same laid back, spontaneous feel of the Rogers pictures, and it is easy to imagine that much of it was ad-libbed to fill in the gaps in the narrative. One plot point in which St Louis and Dan must travel to New England is simply represented by a short comic scene in which the two sit atop a train, casually practising a dangerous knife trick.

Any notions that the original story had of depicting the grim realities of the prison system have been thoroughly obliterated in the rewrite, and the prison is depicted as a comfortable boys’ club, conveniently situated right next door to a women’s prison. Rather than a plea for social reform we instead get a celebration of male camaraderie, in which the criminal activities of the inmates are barely mentioned, and the idea that any of the prisoners might be dangerous is seen as laughable; in one scene Dan menacingly snarls “I’ll croak him” of another prisoner, before daintily unfolding a paper doily.

Ford is not interested in casting judgement on the characters, but more in depicting the community spirit that has arisen between them. As in Salute and Born Reckless, a sporting event becomes the epicentre of the male bonding, and the reason that St Louis and Dan break back into prison. Their reluctant but faithful sense of duty here is reminiscent of the attitudes of the armed forces in Ford films such as What Price Glory? and The Long Voyage Home. And just as the outcasts in Stagecoach are portrayed as being more dignified and honest than the privileged classes, a group of charitable society ladies that patronise the prison prove to be utterly clueless when compared to the prisoners who cheerfully exploit their naivety.

The absurdity of using labels to define essence that is parodied in Steamboat Round the Bend is also used here, as we witness the unchanging nature of the characters, whether inside or outside prison. In one early scene we see Dan, on the outside, supposedly reformed and marching in a reform parade with a large drum. A few minutes later, he is back in prison and occupying exactly the same position in the prison band, implying that any attempts to change his character are futile. In a later scene, Dan tries to impress Steve’s rich family by quoting poetry and acting with affected courtesy around the ladies, and there are several cutaway shots of St Louis clasping his hand to his head in exasperation at his efforts. Shortly after we see St Louis’ natural charm succeeding with the girl that Dan failed to impress, and the abiding impression is that Ford thinks less of the airs and graces of the upper classes than he does of the earthy naturalness of the common man.

One lengthy sequence in the middle of Up the River presents us with the prison vaudeville show – a theatrically staged section that includes blackface sketches and a St Louis Blues recital on a drain pipe. While this use of vaudevillian ‘turns’ can be identified as part of Ford’s comic style,[10] it is also recognisably a product of the early sound era, and is clearly trading on the still existing novelty value of sound pictures. As with many early talkies, this scene is a direct borrowing of the conventions of theatre, and its exhibitionist nature represents a partial return to the “cinema of attractions” offered by early cinema[11] – its existence in the text motivated not only by narrative, but also by the delight of being able to both see and hear something. This idea is confirmed by The New York Times review which stated:

“’Black and Blue’ contribute tap-dancing in the prison entertainment sequence, an excellent feature which is a knife-throwing exhibition that has both thrills and amusement.”[12]

The New York Times also comments on the film’s similarities to The Big House, a film it identifies as being “inspired by the recent accounts of prison riots”.[13] Thus the nature of the film’s plot, and the construction of its narrative can not only be explained by Ford’s working methods and directorial style, but also by the social, commercial and technological factors that surrounded its production.

Despite this, the dominant reading of Up the River today is as an early John Ford film. Biographers such as Joseph McBride and Tag Gallagher have pointed to it as an example of Ford’s comic inventiveness, and a precursor to many of his other works[14], and modern reviewers tend to cite Ford’s involvement as its only notable factor.[15] While it might be true that the film offers little of interest to the non-Fordian critic, it is important that explanations of the significance of the film as a part of Ford’s artistic development are not passed off as it’s raison d’etre, and while an auteurist approach can prove fruitful in analysis, there is a danger that it will result in the film being torn from history, ending up as simply a plot point in the narrative of John Ford’s career.

The ease with which Up The River lends itself to a Fordian reading can be seen not just as evidence of his artistic personality imposing itself onto the production during the process of committing it to film, but also as a direct consequence of his heavy involvement in the scripting and casting stages – a level of involvement which would vary from film to film.

Ford’s commercial success as a contract director at Fox meant that he was given the freedom to work off the lot when he pleased, and in the 1930s this resulted in a number of collaborations with RKO – most notably The Informer, which garnered him his first Academy Award. His record at Fox meant that he was given carte-blanche by RKO, and allowed to develop the films that he wanted without interference, and he used this opportunity to produce more self-consciously artistic films than he would normally, the success of which also had the knock-on effect of garnering more artistic freedom back at Fox.

Given this situation, it is difficult to discern his motives for going to Columbia in 1935 to direct a gangster comedy called The Whole Town’s Talking, a film offering little opportunity for artistic experimentation. It is possible that he had found himself victim of a deal between Columbia and Fox, the other end of a trade with one of Columbia’s stars. It is equally possible that the long pre-production process on The Informer (and the pay-cut he had accepted due to its low budget) meant that he hadn’t got as much work in 1935 as he would have liked, and lack of suitable assignments at Fox meant that he decided to accept a quick shoot at Columbia simply to make up his earnings for the year. Either way, Ford’s role in pre-production for The Whole Town’s Talking appears to have been limited. According to Scott Eyman:

“W. R. Burnett, one of the writers, noted that Ford ‘didn’t say anything’ during story conferences, a dead giveaway. ‘I don’t even know why he took the picture’.”[16]

The film is notably lacking any members of the “John Ford stock company”, with the exception of Donald Meek, perhaps indicating that Ford did not play a large role in casting the film. As his consistent lack of participation in the editing of his films is well documented (Ford preferred to edit “in camera” through judicious use of film),[17] it therefore leads one to assume that the sum total of Ford’s contributions to the film must have taken place during the shooting. If we are to believe the auteurist account of Ford, then this should matter little to his ability to imprint his personality on the film, either consciously or unconsciously.[18] In order to understand the context in which this would be possible, we must first understand the structure of the film.

The Whole Town’s Talking tells the story of meek accountant Jones, who is alarmed to discover he has a doppelgänger in the form of public enemy “Killer” Manion. The film pivots on a dual performance by Edward G. Robinson, as both characters, with Jean Arthur providing support in the form of spunky reporter ‘Bill’ Clark.

The film can easily be seen as a development of the 1930s gangster cycle, and is tangentially linked to the burgeoning screwball comedy genre. Gangster films had been popular in the early 30s, but had declined in number after the enforcement of the Production Code in 1934.[19] That same year also saw the inaugural films of the screwball genre, It Happened One Night and Twentieth Century setting the mould for a slew of films described as “sex comedies without the sex”[20] which avoided falling foul of the production code through the use of comic subversion and visual innuendo. With The Whole Town’s Talking, Columbia no doubt saw the opportunity to reinvent the gangster film in the light of the code-dodging screwball comedies, with the film’s comic guise enabling it to fly under the radar of the Breen Office. The likely success of this venture was confirmed by the previous success of The Thin Man (1934), which had set a precedent for the melding of crime fiction and screwball comedy, and proved enormously popular in the process.[21]

The fact that these generic strands do not seem to be at odds with each other is perhaps because the characters of the gangster and the screwball heroine belonged quite comfortable in the same environment. Both icons of modernity, they were to negotiate the problems of modern existence with ease, albeit in different ways: the gangster choosing to exploit modern society, working his way up the fringes of system in a perverted version of the American dream; the screwball heroine electing to be a free spirit, entirely uncontained and unruffled by the system. Because of the ease with which these strands can be combined, the film does not have the frisson of a genre hybrid, but seems to be more about packaging appealing generic elements into an easily saleable commodity.

The film doesn’t really focus on the criminal enough to be taken as a serious gangster film, nor does it have the strong romantic plot of a screwball comedy. This lack of strong generic identity is something that might prove unsatisfying in a drama film, however the fact that The Whole Town’s Talking is first and foremost a comedy film means that this need not be a concern, as any other generic expectations held by an audience are sublimated by the stronger expectation that it will make them laugh. As long as this basic requirement is fulfilled, other generic strands in the film do not need to be as strongly developed.

Any identity issues that the film might have as a genre picture are resolved by the film’s status as an Edward G. Robinson star vehicle, and the film is able to fulfil audience expectations of a Robinson performance, as well as providing him with an opportunity to demonstrate his range. With the decline of gangster films, and a string of flops, Robinson’s star had begun to wane, his breakthrough role in Little Caesar now becoming a distant memory.[22] Keen to escape typecasting, Robinson no doubt recognised that the dual role in The Whole Town’s Talking would allow him to play against type, as a mild-mannered clerk, while also recalling the Little Caesar role that made him famous with his depiction of a ruthless gangster.

The exploration of the tensions between these two characters becomes the centre of the film, and their status as “performances” is marked out by the amount of screen time given over to the conceit, and to our knowledge of Edward G. Robinson, the actor, inhabiting both parts. The contrast between the two characters serves to emphasise the clerk’s spinelessness to an extreme degree, and also encourages us to enjoy the absurd artifice of it all as we watch an unusually mild-mannered Edward G. Robinson actually being intimidated by himself. This burlesquing of the gangster film is mirrored in a scene in which Jean Arthur facetiously plays along with some dim-witted interrogators by playing up an image of herself as the stereotypical gangster moll.

Based on a serialised short story, the film was co-written by Robert Riskin, fresh off his Oscar win for It Happened One Night, and most reviews of the time explicitly refer to his skill as the screenwriter.[23] A frequent collaborator with Frank Capra, Riskin was influential in establishing screwball comedy as a popular genre. Like many of Riskin’s other scripts, such as It Happened One Night, Mr Deeds Goes to Town and Meet John Doe, The Whole Town’s Talking features an ordinary protagonist who gets caught up in a frantic world of media hype outside of his control. Like Riskin’s other scripts, The Whole Town’s Talking is a fast paced, plot driven, modern urban comedy. In other words, it is the very antithesis of Ford’s comic style.

The Whole Town's Talking (1935)

The Whole Town’s Talking (1935)

It is very difficult to make any claims for the film as a Fordian one. A search for typical Fordian motifs in The Whole Town’s Talking is likely to prove fruitless to even the most ardent observers. In his biography, Tag Gallagher unconvincingly attempts to locate a restatement of Ford’s “duty and tradition” theme, portraying it as an uncharacteristic subversion of Ford’s own ideology rather than evidence of another.[24] Joseph McBride misreads the film’s premise in an attempt to link it to The Informer, claiming that it “deals with much the same theme, the struggle between good and evil within human nature”.[25] Personally, I find there to be only one scene in which Ford’s guiding hand can be felt, the scene in which Jonesy is initiated into the executive office of his firm courtesy of several whiskies and cigars. Not only is this use of alcohol to promote male bonding a typical Fordian touch, but this scene is noticeably slower paced than the rest of the film – a shot of Edward G. Robinson’s nervous reactions to the whisky is as drawn out and languid as any of Stepin Fetchit’s reaction shots in Judge Priest. The discordant pacing of this scene compared to the rest of the film suggests a director who is comfortable in adopting whatever style is necessary to the project, only imposing his own idiosyncrasies when it seems appropriate.

In short, The Whole Town’s Talking seems to be a case of willing deference to the demands of the studio, of Ford being content to act simply as a metteur en scène and pick up the paycheck afterwards. Contemporary reviews which cite the film as a genre piece, slickly scripted by Jo Swerlin and Robert Riskin and centred around a tour-de-force performance from Edward G. Robinson, are far more likely to grasp the significance of the text than any auteurist readings which attempt to reclaim the film as a John Ford picture. In this case at least, the label by which Ford referred, usually disingenuously, to his films is entirely appropriate, and the film is a highly accomplished “job of work”.

In his study of ‘the auteur theory’ in Signs and Meanings in the Cinema, Peter Wollen posits a distinction between Howard Hawks, the historical personage, and ‘Howard Hawks’, the auteurist structure named after him, suggesting that the logistical considerations of directing film necessitate that any transcendence of these limitations must be unconscious. In his words:

“the situation in the cinema, where the director’s primary task is often one of coordination and rationalisation, is very different from that in the other arts, where there is a much more direct relationship between artist and work. It is in this sense that it is possible to speak of a film auteur as an unconscious catalyst.”[26]

Wollen’s supposition that comparisons with other art forms are beneficial when thinking about the cinema is unfortunately one that has characterised much of film theory, and this particular example perhaps displays a prejudice against art as a collective or commercial endeavour. If we are to accept analogy as argument however, then one of the most succinct rebuttals to his position is surprisingly provided by Ford himself:

“People are incorrect to compare a director to an author. If he’s a creator, he’s more like an architect. And an architect conceives his plans according to precise circumstances.”[27]

Though less romantic than an auteurist position, the industrial connotations of this point are probably more appropriate to discussions around the creation of film, and Ford’s success as an artist relates directly to his success as a director working in an industry. Rather than fighting the limitations of the system, his legacy of commercial success meant that he gained the ability to structure its resources according to his own needs – to select his own cast and crew, to choose many of his projects and to oversee the writing of his scripts. The un-Fordianness of The Whole Town’s Talking compared to the Fordianness of Up the River suggests a correlation between control over his working methods, and the ability to express his personal vision on-screen. Though it may be occasionally useful to create a terminological distinction between John Ford the man and ‘John Ford’ the structure to enable a clearer critical discourse when discussing effects of the text, we must not forget that it was not ‘John Ford’, but John Ford, who made the movies.


Perhaps the image which most dominates Ford’s legacy today is the shot of John Wayne standing alone in the desert, as the door closes to shut him out. It is the ultimate expression of what has been identified as the ‘Fordian hero’, a figure who is necessary to solve societies problems, but tragically unable to not enjoy them. As John Baxter wrote it in a 1971 analysis of Ford’s work:

“Ford makes most of his heroes outsiders, chronic wanderers who accept the necessity of serving society, admire its virtues, secretly wish to be part of it but are driven by personal motives to reject its security.”[28]

Though there exists a much larger body of literature on John Ford today, and his status as the creator of a diverse body of work is recognised, we are still experiencing the hangover from a period in the seventies in which more limited availability to Ford’s films meant that it was possible for writers such as Baxter to make statements like these, for Ford’s grandson and biographer Dan Ford to brush-off films such as Steamboat Round the Bend and Wee Willie Winkie as “program fillers”,[29] while devoting an entire chapter of his book to The Informer, and for Peter Wollen to make such broad and omissive claims as “the master antimony in Ford’s films is that between the wilderness and the garden”.[30]

As Andrew Sarris observed at the time, the “Faustian” legend of Ford complying with studio assignments in order to make the quality pictures he preferred is a gross misrepresentation of his work,[31] and even today there exists a critical prejudice towards the canonical Ford classics – the late Westerns and the Oscar winning dramas. Almost 30 years after Baxter’s definition of the Fordian hero, Scott Eyman still echoes his idea, stating that “[Ford’s] men are not leaders so much as loners, and their greatest acts are renunciations.”[32] Though this statement is certainly not intended to speak for all of his films, it still implies a reading of Ford’s work which finds the hero in such films as The Searchers, My Darling Clementine and The Grapes of Wrath as the figure truly representative of Ford’s world.

But what of the other heroes in Ford’s work, the ones who did not ride lonely in the desert but who were the very heart and soul of the communities they thrived in? Officer Riley is no loner – what little heroic characteristics he may have are produced by the affection he engenders in the community to which he is a father figure. And though they often created conflict within their communities, Will Rogers’ characters are in no way outsiders. His service to society is achieved not through tragic detachment, but through a warmth and tolerance which transforms its prejudices from the inside. And the heroic sacrifice made by St Louis and Dannemora Dan is precisely the opposite of that of the ‘Fordian hero’ – they choose to return to the society in its service.

The predominance of the Western in critical thinking about John Ford overlooks the fact that though his comedies may represent the minority of his work, the style and the sensibilities which they display pervade the entirety of his oeuvre. Throughout Westerns such as My Darling Clementine, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Searchers we find instances of comic spontaneity, celebrations of Irishness, and a propensity for comic stereotyping in supporting casts. When asked if The Informer was one of his favourite pictures, Ford responded: “I would say not. I think it lacks humour – which is my forte”.[33] Ford’s comedy represents an integral part of his vision of the world, and nowhere do we see this vision with more focus and vitality than in these early comedies.

Throughout this study I hope I have argued persuasively for these films not only as John Ford productions, but also as independently fascinating insights into the eras in which they were made. We mustn’t forget that it is possible to look at Riley the Cop not simply as a part of Ford’s artistic development, but also as a vehicle for the talents of J. Farrell MacDonald, as a representation of multi-ethnic communities and attitudes towards Europe between the wars, or as an example of musical scoring and use of sound effects in early sound era.

All films are shaped by a complex body of agents ranging from the artistic concerns of the director, to audience expectations of a star performance, to simple pragmatic production concerns. The influence asserted by each of these agents will fluctuate between any given films, and it seems to me the job of the critic to determine the extent to which each has impacted on the final film, and to judge which aspects likely to prove the most fruitful for analysis.

The vast literature that is now available on John Ford gives us a comprehensive view of the sweep of his career, of the methods by which he shaped his films, and the way that the industry in turn shaped him as an artist. The progression from the selective, textual analysis led books of the seventies and eighties towards the comprehensive biographies steeped in empirical research of recent years means that it is possible to get a better picture than ever of the way Ford managed to make his films within the studio system. What we now need is more contained research which focuses on individual films, or smaller periods of his career, not simply as part of the narrative as Ford’s career but as products of the many human and organisational pressures that make up the field of film history. A comprehensive study of his existing silent films has yet to be performed, for example, and the working relationship between Ford and Zanuck is surely deserving of a book of its own.

First and foremost, it is important that both this literature, and the renewed accessibility of his films that recent home video releases have brought us, enables us to appreciate the breadth and diversity of the films that Ford directed, and the multitudinous ways in which they can be approached. Just as Fordian critics of the sixties and seventies had to contend with the implications of Ford’s beguiling assertion that directing for him was just “a job of work”,[34] it is important that the critics of today view another of his most famous statements – “My name is John Ford. I am a director of Westerns”[35] – with equal suspicion.

Perhaps in years to come, the images that flicker across our shared cultural consciousness at the mention of John Ford will not just be those of the Western landscapes and of the tragic “Fordian“ hero, but also of the small towns and communities, and the characters whose most heroic acts were simply to bring smiles to our faces.

Up the River (1931)

Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)

Riley the Cop (1928)


[1] Joseph McBride. Searching for John Ford. (Faber and Faber, 2004), 101.

[2] Peter Wollen. Signs and Meanings in the Cinema (British Film Institute, 1998), 70.

[3] Editors of Cahiers du Cinema. “John Ford’s Young Mr Lincoln,” Cahiers du Cinema, no 223 (1970). Excerpts reprinted in Barry Keith Grant, ed. Authors and Authorship (Blackwell Publishing, 2008), 212-227.

[4] Gallagher, op. cit., 467.

[5] Peter Bogdanovich. John Ford (University of California Press, 1978), 52.

[6] Gallagher, op. cit., 464.

[7] For the best accounts of Ford’s writing process, see Gallagher, op. cit., 464-466, and the letters from Ford’s collaborators in Lindsay Anderson, About John Ford (Plexus Publishing, 1981), 237-247.

[8] McBride, op. cit., 261.

[9] Ibid., 210.

[10] Gallagher, op. cit., 103.

[11] Henry Jenkins. What Made Pistachio Nuts? (Columbia University Press, 1992), 96.

[12] Mordaunt Hall. “The Screen,” The New York Times (11th October 1930).

[13] Mordaunt Hall. “The Screen,” The New York Times (25th June 1930).

[14] McBride, op. cit., 174, and Gallagher, op. cit., 70.

[15] Frank Showalter. “Up the River,” Frank’s Movie Log (10th March 2008). http://www.franksmovielog.com/browse/reviews/up-the-river-1930/

[16] Scott Eyman. Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford (John Hopkins University Press, 1999), 188.

[17] Scott Eyman and Paul Duncan (ed). John Ford: The Complete Films (Taschen, 2004), 103.

[18] Wollen, op. cit., 115.

[19] Fran Mason. American Gangster Cinema: From Little Caesar to Pulp Fiction (Palgrave MacMillan, 2002), 28-30.

[20] Andrew Sarris. You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet: The American Talking Film, History & Memory, 1927-1949 (Oxford University Press, 1998).

[21] Ed Sikov. Screwball: Hollywood’s Madcap Romantic Comedies (Crown Publishers, 1989), 196.

[22] AFI. The American Film Institute catalog of Motion Pictures produced in the United States. F3, Feature films, 1931-1940 : Film Entries M-Z (AFI, 1993), 2418.

[23] Andre Sennwald. “A Whirl of Laughter at the Music Hall in ‘The Whole Town’s Talking’,” The New York Times (1st March 1935)

[24] Gallagher, op. cit., 110.

[25] McBride, op. cit., 222n.

[26] Wollen, op. cit., 114-115.

[27] Gallagher, op. cit., 457.

[28] John Baxter. The Cinema of John Ford (Zwemmer, 1971), 21.

[29] Dan Ford. Pappy:The Life of John Ford. (Da Capo Press, 1998), 92- 102.

[30] Peter Wollen. Signs and Meanings in the Cinema. (British Film Institute, 1998), 66.

[31] Andrew Sarris. The John Ford Movie Mystery (Secker & Warburg, 1976), 8.

[32] Scott Eyman. Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford. (John Hopkins University Press, 1999), 22.

[33] Peter Bogdanovich. John Ford. (University of California Press, 1978), 59.

[34] Joseph McBride. Searching for John Ford. (Faber and Faber, 2004), 101.

[35] Ibid., 482.