Skip to main content

View Diary: Fascinating NYT Review of "Django Unchained" Teaches About Race, History & Movies -- Plus My Take (142 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Do you have a cite for the Klansman role? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've googled a bit and while I've found references to it I can't find one with a citation. The closest I,ve come to sourcing it is the following:

    Because of the huge importance of this film, it is suspected that some actors may have exaggerated claims to have worked on the film in order to bolster their resume. Among the unconfirmed cast members are John Ford, who claimed to have played a Klansman riding with one hand holding up his hood over one eye so he could see better. Such a Klansman is visible in the film and may indeed have been Ford. Despite frequently being credited as a "Piedmont Girl", actress Bessie Love denied claims that she ever appeared in this film. Erich von Stroheim for years claimed to be the stunt man who falls from a roof (breaking two ribs in the process), but assistant director Joseph Henabery strongly denied that von Stroheim was ever on a D.W. Griffith set until after Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages.
    This suggests that the only source for this is a boast by Ford. I couldn't find any confirmation that he actually said this. I did come across this interesting passage from John Ford: The Man and His Films.  I also found where Tarantino has been retailing the Klansman story in interviews. If Ford ever made this claim it ought to be sourced somewhere.

    No one can argue that Ford didn't deal in stereotypes. It would be easier to argue that he dealt in nothing but stereotypes. Their use wasn't limited by race or ethnicity. Consider Tobacco Road or The Quiet Man for two examples

    Most non-whites are portrayed as bumbling fools, savages or barbarians.
    Perhaps so, but this certainly isn't the case with his portrayal of Cochise in Fort Apache. Nor was it true of Cheyenne Autumn where the barbarism was all on the other side. Whatever one might think of Jeffrey Hunter's mixed race character in The Searchers, bumbling fool, barbarian and savage don't apply. BTW, Cheyenne Autumn was made after Donovan's Reef.

    None of this "proves" that Ford wasn't racist but it does set him apart from hundreds of Directors who made careers out of pandering to popular stereotypes without ever addressing them critically.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:31:13 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  So your suggestion is that Ford is both a liar... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and a racist?

      That's a possibility.

      Urgh... I believe his boasts about working on "A Birth of a Nation" were true. But I only know the man by his work.

      Again you cite his later works, where he at least tried to portray The Others as somewhat equal.

      But you're forgetting my original comment:

      Furthermore, Tarantino hates revered American director John Ford simply due to his racism.
      I was simply stating what Tarantino has stated that in multiple interviews. Not my own opinion.

      Like you, I think John Ford "grew" in time... and that at least is admirable. But it doesn't excuse his earlier work.


    •  p.s. Tarantino has been critical of Ford's racisim (0+ / 0-)

      That was my point.

      For reference just watch Charlie Rose's latest interview with Tarantino.

      I didn't just make that up.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site