In 1936 director John Ford was sitting pretty in Hollywood. Now, he was told by Fox studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck he was being entrusted with the hottest star on the lot and Hollywood’s biggest box-office attraction: 8-year-old Shirley Temple.
John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath (1940) spends two hours rubbing our noses in poverty and humiliation, yet somehow sends us off with hope-filled hearts. And it stars Henry Fonda in his greatest performance.
John Ford is best known for making cowboy pictures, but he made more than Westerns. It’s this “other” material that is showcased in John Ford: Not a Cowboy in Sight, the March film series at the Central Library.