RACISM AND REVISIONIST HISTORY — THREE BAD MEN: JOHN FORD, JOHN WAYNE, WARD BOND

Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond by Scott Allen Nollen

As big a fan of these three men as I am, there is a level of revisionist history that is impossible to simply accept.

I actually had to stop reading the book, at least for a while. It’s a temporary interruption I’m sure, but I needed to back off from Three Bad Men. I needed to take a few deep breaths and calm down before continuing.

This book chronicles the lives and friendships of John Ford, John Wayne and Ward Bond. Two great actors and one extraordinary director. It’s an interesting read. I have been reading, as is my habit, slowly, savoring. I was enjoying it.

Until I got to the section in which the author claims Ford used Stepin Fetchit and other minorities to “slyly mock America‘s racism“.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.jpg

That’s just not true. What I see — and have always seen — is the perpetuation of racism by Pappy. As much as I love John Ford’s westerns, there’s no escaping the racism in his films. They were still calling Woody Strode “boy” as late as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). Even considering his belated attempt to make some reparations with Cheyenne Autumn, it was much too little and way too late.

I’ll get back to the book in a while, when I have calmed down a bit. Right now, I’m sorry. I simply can’t continue reading it.

– – –



Categories: American history, Arts, Book Review, Books, Celebrities, film, History, Movies, Racism and Bigotry

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. Now, I see. Scott FOUND your post, LOL…….I didn’t tell him where it was. Well, Scott, very nice comment….I am pleased! KEITH
    By the way, same thing I said to my friends. Tom Doniphon, would most likely have called Pompey something much more derogatory than “boy” but would not have thought it was anything but the norm. He would not have been trying to degrade the man….Pompey was his friend.

    Like

  2. I’m not the only historian who has understood what Ford was actually doing. Joseph McBride is another, and the greatest Ford scholar on the planet. And there have been African American historians, too, as far back as the early 1970s, who have given Stepin Fetchit a break. Two things: as I mention in the book, Lincoln Perry wrote for the CHICAGO DEFENDER; also, in the Old West, Tom Doniphon would have called Pompey something MUCH WORSE than “boy”–Ford was being “revisionist” by having Wayne call Strode “boy.” Don’t read a book with preconceived notions, because that’s exactly what you’ll find–WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR, rather than what is really there, and from that, you might learn something. I wrote the ONLY book about Paul Robeson focusing on his film career, and it has been hailed as a “masterpiece.” Do you think I’d write ANYTHING praising racism? Read THREE BAD MEN with an open mind and you might see things differently. Those films were made EIGHTY years ago.

    Like

    • Hi, Scott,

      I wanted to let you know I’ve resumed reading “Three Bad Men”. I didn’t begin with any preconceived notions. Just the opposite. I know Keith and you are upset with my remarks. I don’t apologize for them. I AM sorry I publicized them before finishing your book. I should’ve kept my feelings to myself. I am not a knee-jerk liberal looking for a white-wash (sorry) or revisionist view of history. I am old enough to have experienced first-hand the racial climate of our country from the late 40’s to the present. As a TV/radio journalist, I’ve been in the middle of many racially charged incidents across the country spanning more than 40 years. I have a hard-earned reputation for being fair and objective, even from those whose politics I object to personally. As for John Ford and the movies, it’s been a life long love affair. You have to remember I’ve spent time — personal and professional — with Duke Wayne and many of the other legends. They were very candid about Hollywood’s dealings with race as well as their personal feelings.

      I think as I grow older, I’m a more sensitive to some of the racial attitudes of films from Hollywood’s golden era. I understand that’s the way it was but it’s difficult to stomach the stereotypes — ANY stereotypes. I also understand that filmmakers had to deal with pressure from theatre owners in the south and other parts of the country who represented substantial box office revenue.

      I’ll continue to read “Three Bad Men” with interest. I also look forward to reading your other books.

      Regards,

      Garry

      P.S. Just watched “Liberty Valance”, “Three Godfathers” and “Sgt. Rutledge” again in recent days. My sentiments are the same but I still love the movies!!

      Like

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Our Eyes Open

Come along on an adventure with us!

Keep it alive

A look at life, achieving good physical and mental health and happiness

Covert Novelist

Just another WordPress site

The Small Dog

Life from the Tail End

Cee's Chronic Illness Sisterhood

Peer support and hope for women with Chronic Illness and their support team.

Salted Caramel

Blogging, Motivation, Lifestyle and much more.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Echoes of Life, Love and Laughter

Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.

Green Screen

The Environmental Movie Podcast

bushboys world

Photos of my world and other stuff I hope you will enjoy too. Photos taken with Canon PowershotSX70HS Photos can be purchased.

musingsofanoldfart

Independent views from someone who offers some historical context

The HOBBLEDEHOY

I use the best, I use the rest

This, That, and The Other

Random musings on life, society, and politics.

My Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Trent's World (the Blog)

Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

Views from the Edge

To See More Clearly

serial monography: forgottenman's ruminations

wandering discourse, pedantic rant, self-indulgent drivel, languorous polemic, grammarian's bête noire, poesy encroachment approaching bombast, unintended subtext in otherwise intentional context, unorthodox unorthodoxy, self-inflected rodomontade, …

draliman on life

Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think

The English Professor at Large

Posts about old Hollywood, current concerns

sparksfromacombustiblemind

EMBERS FROM SOMEONE DOGGEDLY TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL...

The Day After

Musings, Photography, Writing, and More

THE SHINBONE STAR

NO LONGER ENCUMBERED BY ANY SENSE OF FAIR PLAY, EX-JOURNALISTS RETURN TO ACTIVE DUTY TO FIGHT THE TRUMPIAN MENACE!

Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

Welcome to the Anglo Swiss World

ScienceSwitch

The Fun Side Of Science

A Day In The Life

People, Places, Nature, LIFE!

Curious Steph

explorations on the journey of living

%d bloggers like this: