Guest Author - Amber Grey
Actor Glenn Ford is someone who is well-known for his excellent character portrayals, but unlike his peers, Glenn is seldom mentioned or celebrated for his diverse career. With a filmography of nearly 106 films, Ford has established himself among the best who can portray a character in any genre. Here is a brief profile of some of his best films.
In the classic romantic-drama “Gilda” (1946), “Johnny” (Glenn Ford) crosses paths with a former lover, “Gilda” (Rita Hayworth), who happens to be his employer’s new wife. Johnny must keep himself at a distance from Gilda because it is his employer that “Johnny” owes everything to. With each frame and interaction with Hayworth, Ford changes and interlinks the layers of torn guilt for falling in love with his employer’s wife and the painful split-opening of old wounds when he is faced with Gilda’s beauty and charm. Finally, when it seems like “Johnny” has been broken in by “Gilda,” Ford shows Johnny’s dark resilience when he beats Gilda at her own game of seduction and torment. It was the film that catapulted Hayworth to international fame as a sex symbol with her teasing strip dance and Ford remained modest about his contribution to the film, “The women fell in love with me? You mean every man in the world who saw ‘Gilda’ fell in love with Rita. As did I.”
In comedy, Ford showed his light-heartedness. “The Gazebo” (1959) stars Ford and Debbie Reynolds as “Mr. & Mrs. Nash” who make the crimeless decision to put a gazebo in their backyard. Hilarious chaos ensues when a mysterious body is found in the foundation of the gazebo. “The Gazebo” is a rarity on television and in video stores but when the classic film clouds part and “The Gazebo” is in reach, it is not to be missed.
“The Western is a man’s world and I love it,” Ford once said about his favorite film genre. And many westerns pepper Ford’s career including “The Fastest Gun Alive” (1956), “Cimarron” (1960) and one of the great Westerns, “3:10 to Yuma” (1957). In “3:10 To Yuma” Ford played the villain as one “Ben Wade”, a wanted outlaw who is captured has to be escorted through the wilderness by a small group of men. “Wade” tries to take small-time rancher “Dan Evans” (played by Van Heflin) into his confidence. The 2007 action-pack remake of the film cast actor Russell Crowe in the role of “Ben Wade.” While Crowe was successful in creating a sexy villain out of the character, Crowe’s portrayal did not capture the dramatic depth Ford’s “Wade” possessed.
Although he was highly-regarded among his peers and audience, Glenn Ford never won an Oscar. But he did not need an Oscar to be remembered for his performances. Instead, when he was asked how he wanted to be remembered, Ford replied, “He did his best and he believed in God.”