Monday, March 9, 2015

Glenn Ford: A Life...Mini-Review

Glenn Ford was an under-appreciated actor with a career spanning over 50 years. He starred in such classic films as Blackboard Jungle, 3:10 to Yuma, Gilda, and the Rounders. His rugged good looks and tough, straight acting made many a western film what it was. In 1958, he was rated number one at the box office by the Quigley Publishing Company's Poll of Film Exhibitors and was consistently ranked highly from 1955-1962. And yet this actor who seemed to always have a project going throughout his acting career never collected an Oscar, never was recognized for a Life-Time Achievement Award, and was never even recognized by his native Canada because, in the words of his son Peter, "The people in charge [of the Toronto Hall of Fame where native Canadians are honored] said they had never heard of him."

In his acting career, Ford was a quiet, dedicated actor who made the most of his roles--even in films that are now long-forgotten. His fellow actors remember him as a colleague who would always help them orient themselves in a scene or with a character, or, for those just starting in the business, within the business itself. He was a man driven to act and, perhaps, continued acting long after most celebrities would have rested on their laurels. Despite the lack of recognition from award-granting entities, he had a large body of fine work upon which to rest.

The face that Ford's public and co-stars saw, wasn't always the same as the private one. Glenn Ford: Life is a very honest and open biography by Ford's son Peter. It presents the many sides of Ford from humble beginnings through his rise to celebrity, from fairly inept father to yearning, but unfaithful husband to non-stop ladies' man and romantic adventurer. Using exclusive interviews with family, friends, and colleagues as well as pieces from the family collection of diaries, letters, audiotapes and photos, Peter Ford presents his father as the great and flawed human being that he was. The result is a biography that gives the reader all the glitz and glamor of Hollywood with a balance of hard-hitting truth. ★★★★


Gigi Ann said...

I remember Glenn Ford, and always enjoyed the movies he was in. This sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.

fredamans said...

I remember him from Rounders. My dad loved that movie! This sounds like a great memoir, especially for those who may not know anything about him.
Great review!

Cath said...

Excellent review. I will definitely keep an eye out for this one at the library.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Sounds fascinating Bev, though I hope it's not too unvarnished!I do like him a lot, though I suspect that as a kid I only knew him as Clark Kent's father in the first Superman movie.

Bev Hankins said...

Sergio, no, I don't think it's too unvarnished. What it really does underline is how difficult it is for those in the spotlight to maintain anything like a "normal" home life. I think Glenn Ford was so busy being what he needed to be before the cameras and for his public that he didn't quite know what to do at home--especially for extended periods of time.