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Sunday, 16 January 2011

Top Ten Western Actors No 7 - Glenn Ford

Usually shot to only show the left side of his face, after being kicked in the right side by a horse which caused some disfigurement, Glenn Ford, made some superb westerns. He could also draw his weapon in 0.4 seconds which was faster than John Wayne and James Arness.

Ford had an understated style and he appeared to be very relaxed, almost laconic in all of his roles. Of course he was brilliant in other roles besides westerns but his parts in The Man from Colorado, 3 10 to Yuma, The Man from the Alamo, The Sheepman, Jubal and Cowboy alone make him a true western icon. And many of his roles showed true depth but it is a strange fact that that Ford shows most often are his lesser westerns with the possible exception of 3 10 to Yuma which is fairly regularly screened on TV in the UK. He could play MAD (The man from Colorado), Bad (3 10 to Yuma) and Good (Sheepman) equally well. And in my opinion Ford has always been underrated for his western roles - perhaps because he made so many classics in other genres - Gilda, anyone.

Unfortunately 1960's Cinmarron was so blandly boring that Ford's career never really recovered and from then on he seemed to languish in run of the mill westerns. But there are so many classics among his westerns.

3 10 to Yuma goes without saying is an absolute classic and far better than the average remake of a few years ago, but The Man from the Alamo is well worth watching for Ford's excellent performance and top knotch directing from Budd Boetticher. The Sheepman is also a great comic western and has something of the feel of James Stewart's classic, Destry Rides Again. The Fastest Gun Alive is far better than its title suggests and both Cowboy and Jubal are absolutely excellent.

It was great to see Ford return to westerns for the 1979 TV mini-series The Sacketts and he looked as comfortable upon a horse as ever. Indeed he provided the quite good, if flawed, adaptation of the Louis L'amour series a feel of classic Hollywood. His scenes with Tom Selleck (himself something of a latter day western icon)  were particularly good.

Ford most certainly belongs among any list of western greats and below I have embedded a classic scene from the Fastest Gun Alive.


Davieboy said...

Great call! Gotta love Glenn Ford. Super series so far... you're calling it right. Gotta comment on any thread to the great man...

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Glad you are enjoying it - I tried to be a little left field with all this. I mean I could easily make up a list of twenty or more but ten it is and so Ford comes in at seven.

old guy rambling said...

Glen Ford - one of the greats. He has long been one of my favorites

Ron Scheer said...

Ford was a boyhood favorite of mine. It was that sly smile and his apparent comfort in a western role. Never knew he had a preferred profile. You're right about CIMARRON, too. And 3:10 TO YUMA is his real classic. Thanks for the tribute.