2014 Symposium Highlights

Adapted By John Ford Panel


Adapted by John Ford


Venue: Gresham Hotel


Date: Saturday, 7th June 2014

Time: 9.00am


Since the earliest days of cinema filmmakers have relied on novels and plays to inspire their greatest screen triumphs. However, few filmmakers adapted as elegantly or as effectively as John Ford and his collaborators. The master filmmaker could strip dense texts to minimalist movies or expand short stories to fill the proscenium of Monument Valley. A list of John Ford’s classic films The Informer, Stagecocach, The Grapes of Wrath, The Quiet Man, and The Searchers is tantamount to a list of some of the most successful film adaptations of all time.


This panel will open the book on Ford’s use of adaptation, from silent era interpretations to Ford’s relationship with dramatist Seán O’ Casey – whose Easter Rising play, The Plough and the Stars, Ford adapted in 1937. The panel will also consider Ford’s legacy, and how many of leading figures of the New Hollywood film movement from Martin Scorsese to Steven Spielberg borrowed heavily from Ford. 


The Panelists


Liam Burke (Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne)

Considers What John Ford Can Teach Us About Adaptation (and Vice Versa)

Liam Burke is a media studies lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne). He is the author of Superhero Movies and the editor of the collection Fan Phenomena Batman. Other publications include a contribution to International Westerns: Re-Locating the Frontier, and articles in the journals Participations, Adaptation and Estudios Irlandeses. The University Press of Mississippi will publish his book The Comic Book Film Adaptation in early 2015.

Charles Barr (St Mary's University, Twickenham & Trinity College Dublin)

Reflects on Ford and O’Casey 

Charles Barr was formerly Professor of Film Studies at the University of East Anglia. He is Adjunct Professor at the John Huston Centre for Film and Digital Media, part of the National University of Ireland in Galway, and is active on the editorial boards of the onlineMovie: a Journal of Film Criticism and the US-based scholarly journal The Hitchcock Annual. His pioneering work on British cinema includes Ealing Studios (rev. edn, 1999) and English Hitchcock (1999), and, as editor, All Our Yesterdays: 90 Years of British Cinema (1986). He was the researcher and co-writer of Stephen Frears' film Typically British: A Personal History of British Cinema (1995).


Ian Hunter (De Montfort University, Leicester)

Examines The Searchers, Adapted

Ian Hunter is Senior Lecturer at De Montfort University and Director of the Centre for Adaptations at De Montfort University. He co-edits two book series, British Popular Cinema(Routledge) and Screen Adaptations and is also on the steering committee of the Association of Adaptation Studies.


Tony Tracy (National University of Ireland, Galway)



John Ford, Adaptation, and Silent Cinema



Tony Tracy is Director of the BA with Film Studies programme at NUI Galway, Ireland. He has published on Hollywood, Irish and silent film and he is Editor of the annual review of Irish Film and TV in the online journal, Estudios Irlandeses, as well as Co-Editor of the centenary collection, John Huston: Essays on a Restless Director (2010). In 2011, he produced the documentary film, Blazing the Trail, for BIFF Productions.