Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

John Ford on unity of time and place

with one comment

The Searchers

Interviewer: Your penchant for unity of time and place, does it ever tempt you to play down the story in order to make a film more universal, more abstract?

Ford: Not at all! That may be the result, but it certainly is not the end. Unity of time and place is solely a means of defining the drama and the individuals, a way of getting there more directly and quickly. I look, before all else, for simplicity, for the naked truth in the midst of rapid, even brutal, action. To be as selective about time and place as one is about the action is to get rid of useless complications. When the circumstances are clearly comprehended, the force of the conflict is increased, since its effects are more completely understood…What interests me are the consequences of a tragic moment—how the individual acts before a crucial act, or in an exceptional circumstance. That is everything. However, a situation must never limit a director. It must never be more than a point of departure.

John Ford, in an interview with Jean Mitry

Written by nevalalee

February 1, 2015 at 9:08 am

Posted in Movies, Quote of the Day

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. Great quote. I’d never thought about the possible effects of that unity, taking it only for a tradition from the staging limitations of Greek theater. Thanks for sharing this!

    Scot Hanson

    February 1, 2015 at 6:43 pm


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