Ford & Lincoln: Keynote Lecture by Joseph McBride


Ford & Lincoln: Keynote Lecture by Joseph McBride

Date: Saturday 8 June 2013

Time: 09.00 hrs

Venue: Light House Cinema

Joseph McBride, renowned film historian, biographer, screenwriter and professor, will deliver a keynote academic paper on the figure of Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s work, “John Ford, His Old Friend Abraham Lincoln, and the Better Angels of Our Nature.” Joseph McBride is President of the John Ford Ireland Committee, and the author of Searching for John Ford, the celebrated Ford biography that Martin Scorsese described as a “treasure” and the New York Times Book Review considers “Definitive... The most comprehensive book to date on the filmmaker”.

McBride is a Professor in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University and has published sixteen books since 1968, including acclaimed biographies of Frank Capra and Steven Spielberg. He has also written screenplays, won a Writers Guild of America Award and received two Emmy nominations. He was the coproducer of the documentary ‘John Ford Goes to War’ in 2002.

McBride's address will discuss how John Ford cultivated a career-long strain in his work dealing with benign but cunning political leaders, not only Lincoln but also other figures who symbolically relate to that central icon of American democracy by helping bring both law and tolerance to their communities in equal measure. This keynote paper explores Ford’s intimately affectionate and deeply knowing portraits of Abraham Lincoln himself in The Iron Horse, The Prisoner of Shark Island, Young Mr. Lincoln, and “The Civil War” segment of How the West Was Won. McBride will delve into how the figure of Lincoln in John Ford’s work - a humorous sage, an allegorical storyteller and secular preacher, an uncommon common man, a lonely and sacrificial figure, a canny politician who blends chicanery and idealism, sometimes skirting illegality to preserve the Law itself -- speaks through Ford’s own “mystic chords of memory” and is the filmmaker’s prime representative and advocate for “the better angels of our nature.”