Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Birthday: Glenn Ford!

Glenn Ford (May 1, 1916 – August 30, 2006). After Ford graduated from Santa Monica High School, he began working in small theatre groups. He also acted in West Coast stage companies, before joining Columbia Pictures in 1939. His first major movie part was in the film, Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939). A film about a New York store clerk, along with a hobo, an illegal immigrant who all head for his property in Arizona.

Ford put his film career on hold to volunteer for duty in World War II with the United States Marine Corps. Following military service, Ford's breakthrough role was in the film, Gilda(1946) with Rita Hayworth. He went on to be a leading man opposite her in a total of five films.

His major roles were in thrillers, dramas and action films which  include:

A Stolen Life with Bette Davis. A film about Kate Bosworth and her twin sister Patricia, who fall in love with Nantucket lighthouse inspector Bill Emerson. Patricia and Bill are married. Bill goes to Chile Kate and Patricia go sailing. Patricia falls overboard and drowns. Kate's boat capsizes and when she washes ashore, she is believed to be Patricia.

The Secret of Convict Lake with Gene Tierney. The film is about when Jim Canfield, is convicted of a crime he did not commit, escapes a Nevada prison. He leads them to the home of the man who framed him and also committed the crime. He soon falls in love with Marcia, who is the fiance of the man who framed him.

The Big Heat. is the story of Dave Bannion, who is a cop on the trail of a gang he suspects is in control of the police department. Bannion is tipped off after a colleague's suicide and his fellow officers' suspicious silence. When a bomb meant for him kills his wife, Bannion becomes a force of vengeance and justice, helped by the gangster's spurned girlfriend Debbie. As Bannion and Debbie fall further and further into the Gangs trap, they must use any means necessary to get to the truth.

Blackboard Jungle. The story begins when a new English teacher, arrives at a violent, unruly inner-city school and is determined to do his job, despite resistance from both students and faculty.

Framed (1947), film noir directed by Richard Wallace. The B-movie is praised by critics as a wonderful crime thriller despite its low budget. The film begins when Mike Lambert, starts driving a truck to make a living. When his rig brakes stop working in a small town he meets Paula Craig, at the La Paloma Cafe and is quickly drawn into the criminal life of the femme fatale.

Interrupted Melody(1955) with Eleanor Parker, The film chronicles Australian-born opera star Marjorie Lawrence's success, her battle with polio, and her career comeback.

Experiment in Terror with Lee Remick. The story begins when Kelly Sherwood, is terrorized by a man who plans to use her to steal $100,000 from the bank where she works. He threatens to kill her teenage sister Toby, if she tells the police. She contacts F.B.I. agent Ripley.

The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse(1962). Drama, directed by Vincente Minnelli. Was compared unfavorably to the 1921 version, which launched Rudolph Valentino to superstardom. Ford, with many films behind him, was not the unknown that Valentino was when he performed in the 1921 film. Ford, 46 years old, also had the disadvantage of trying to reprise a role that Valentino had played when he was 26. Critics also considered Ford miscast as a Latin lover.

He also performed in many westerns such as: The Fastest Gun Alive, 3:10 to Yuma and Cimarron. Ford's versatility also allowed him to star in a number of popular comedies, such as The Teahouse of the August Moon, Don't Go Near the Water, The Gazebo, Cry for Happy and The Courtship of Eddie's Father.

In 1978, Ford had a supporting role in Superman, as Clark Kent's adopted father, Jonathan Kent. Ford's final scene in the film begins with a subtle indirect reference to Blackboard Jungle - the earlier film's theme song "Rock Around the Clock" is heard on a car radio.

The 2006 movie Superman Returns includes a scene where Ma Kent (played by Eva Marie Saint) stands next to the living room mantel after Superman returns from his quest to find remnants of Krypton. On that mantel is a picture of Pa Kent (as played by Glenn Ford). This "cameo" of sorts was Ford's last screen appearance.

Please click here to view past Glenn Ford movie reviews.


  1. Glenn Ford was a very solid actor. I like him alot.

    I've seen several of the films you mentioned. I especially like "A Stolen Life." I've never even heard of "The Secret of Convict Lake", but your review has me quite interested. I definitely hope to catch that one.

    Have you ever seen "So Ends Our Night?" (Also stars Fredric March and Margaret Sullavan.) It's from 1941, so Glenn is looking very young there...almost like a teenager.

    I think our family is going to watch "Pocketful of Miracles" tonight in honor of his birthday.

  2. My favorite is THE VIOLENT MEN. Ever notice how he generally did various tricks with his gun in his westerns?

  3. Glenn Ford's quiet confidence was very sexy. My favourites include "3:10 to Yuma", "The Big Heat" and "Dear Heart".

    A few years ago watching "The Teahouse of the August Moon" with Ford and Brando, my husband and I shouted at our daughter "Look, it's Superman's father and Superman's father!". A silly moment that will go down in family legend.

  4. Patti, The film "The Secret of Convict Lake", has been on TCM a few times. Hopefully, they will aire it again soon. No, I have not seen the film "So Ends Our Night". I will keep an eye out for it.

    MT, Welcome, I always loved Glenn Ford, in a good western. Hey, Now.. I want to watch one of his westerns to look for his gun tricks.

    Caftan Woman, LOL.. We also have many silly moments like that..

  5. I've always liked Glenn Ford -- my favorites are Gilda, A Stolen Life and Experiment in Terror. I haven't seen Convict Lake and hope I can soon. I do have to agree that he was totally miscast in Four Horseman. It's not his kind of part so it wouldn't matter if he was 46 or 26. He is a representative of American men all the way.


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