Art

John Ford The Auteur Theory

He was articulate in his work and despite being a heavy drinker and smoker, he never drunk or smoked when directing as this would interfere with his work. Although ford was quite intelligent and sensitive and sentimental, he always protected himself by portraying the image of a hard-drinker, tough Irish man. Ford naturally had a distinct style and unique thematic orientations that were displayed in his visual and aural works throughout his work as a director. His articulate nature was characteristic in his films as he rarely wrote his stories down, just memorizing them but always turning out well. His favourite song ‘shall we gather vat the river’ was used as a rendition in a number of his films. 2.0. Discussion. 2.1. The Auteur Theory. This theory, which translates to Author in English, cites that during the criticism of a film, the director of the film is perceived as an author since the film reflects his personal creativity and vision. In legal terms, a film is viewed as a work of art that the director, who then ids the author has the original copyright to the film. This theory was first developed and adopted in France and later spread to America and the USA. According to Aleixandre Astruc, a film director uses a camera just as a writer uses a pen for his work. This theory, according to Andrew Sarris, demanded that a director should be competent in his technique, add their personal style in the way that the movie looked and felt, and an inside meaning to the movie besides the one portrayed. The theory further proposes that all films are good or bad, this depending on the director directing them. A good film is that which bears the director’s ‘signature’ that can be manifested in the film through his personality or recurring themes within the film. In agreement to with this theory, we can say that to a large extent, a film director is the author of his films. As prescribed by the theory, Ford was an author of his films with his personality and idiosyncrasies dominating the themes in his films and the way actors and other crew members carried out their roles. Just as an author writes down ideas as they come to his mind, so did Ford put ideas into action as they came without having to edit them. Ford worked with a consistent team comprising creative persons, engaged himself in every aspect of making a film as he directed, write and edited the film and he tended to prefer working within a genre such as the Westerns. All these features bring Ford out as an auteur whose films came out with a personal touch. Popular critics as Anderson argued the case of Ford as a staunch author by his adoption of the westerns more than the effectiveness of the theme of his works. As the theory gained momentum in Hollywood, writers and authors of print refuted the idea of a film director being branded an author as the film script was just a blueprint for the film scenes and could not be compared to literary works. The theory and the idea of film directors identifying themselves with the theory, however, vanished in the 20th and 21st century in the US as they argued that they were just directors in their own right (Nelmes, 2003: 189). 2.2. Advantages of perceiving a Director as an Author. There are many benefits of viewing the director as the author of a film. Using this theory, critics and film analysts are able to assess and trace the origin of recurring themes in a film to the

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