John Ford was enraged by what Ward Bond did to John Wayne on set – My Blog
The Searchers was shot in Ford’s favoured Monument Valley, part of the Navajo territory on the Arizona/Utah state line, temperatures during filming could reach heights of 49°C (120°F).The director was brilliant and eccentric, chewing through the corners of a dozen handkerchiefs while smoking a pipe each day. He also discouraged chatting and bad language in front of women and insisted on an Earl Grey tea break each afternoon.Maureen O’Hara, who worked on five movies with him said in 2004: “He was a genius. He was the finest director any of us ever worked with, and we were proud to work with him and work for him.“We realised that he was bad-tempered and awful but we accepted it and forgave him… He was abusive if it suited him and what he was after. I used to watch him and think, ‘Oh, he’s after something.’”The Searchers: John Ford was left furious after what Ward Bond did to John Wayne on set (Image: GETTY)
What had happened was that Bond had pulled the plug so he could charge his electric razor.The crew knew the truth of the matter but decided not to tell Ford out of fear that the director would thump him.Nevertheless, the director did indeed find out, long after the actor’s death of a massive heart attack in 1960.Years after The Searchers premiered, the film’s cinematographer Winton C Hoch told Ford at a Hollywood event how the late actor was responsible for losing Wayne’s perfect take.Upon hearing this “Ford’s face turned white. He was uncharacteristically speechless because he didn’t have his favourite horse’s ass to kick around anymore.”Despite being known for having a terrible temper and playing harsh pranks on cast and crew, the director was very kind to Duke’s son Patrick Wayne who played Lt Greenhill in The Searchers.
In Scott Eyman’s biography of Ford, he recalled that the filmmaker “was crazy about me.”Patrick, who was in his first big movie role, said: “Everyone had their day in the barrel, but I was always spared that. Which was good and bad.“I wasn’t exactly the most popular person on the set. Everyone was getting reamed but me… he handed everything to me… Remember, he was the only director I’d worked for at that point, and I figured that this was the way pictures were made. And I had my real father standing there watching me in the scene. I wasn’t acting scared; I was scared.”