top of page

John Ford's The Cavalry Trilogy Westerns with author Michael F. Blake

We're heading West to explore the Cavalry Trilogy Westerns from director John Ford.

Tickets are not on sale
See other events
John Ford's The Cavalry Trilogy Westerns with author Michael F. Blake
John Ford's The Cavalry Trilogy Westerns with author Michael F. Blake

Time & Location

Jun 22, 2024, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Hollywood Heritage Museum, 2100 Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA


About the Event

We're off to the Old West with author Michael F. Blake who will give a presentation on his new book The Cavalry Trilogy, the trio of Westerns (FORT APACHE, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON and RIO GRANDE) that director John Ford made in 1948, 1949 and 1950. This program is free with RSVP. If you pre-ordered a ticket, we will refund you when you come to the museum.

Come hear Michael F. Blake talk about his new book, The Calvary Trilogy with a presentation, clips and more!

Larry Edmunds will be present for you to purchase Michael's new book.

About The Cavalry Trilogy:

Like other filmmakers in post-WWII Hollywood, John Ford (already a three-time Best Directing Oscar winner), longed for the freedom and independence to make his own films, away from the dictates of studio executives. Then, in 1946, Ford and producer Merian C. Cooper (King Kong) decided to form their own production company, Argosy Productions. But their first venture was a financial flop, burdening the new company with heavy debt.

Ford turned to the Western genre to help his flagging company, adapting James Warner Bellah’s short story, “Massacre.” Fort Apache, released in 1948, starring John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Shirley Temple, was popular at the box office and with film critics.

The following year, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, was released to a positive critical reception a brisk business at the box office. This film was the only one in the cavalry trilogy shot in Technicolor, going on to win the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

Rio Grande (1950), the final film in the triad, was produced by Republic Pictures (the first of a three-picture deal with Argosy Productions) and marked the first pairing of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Because of the film’s box office success, Republic Pictures greenlit Ford’s dream project, The Quiet Man (1952).

John Ford’s cavalry trilogy is considered some of his finest work, although Ford always claimed he never intended to make a trilogy. The reality is the first two films were produced to financially help his company, while the final one served as a means to getting his dream project produced.

The Cavalry Trilogy illuminates how each film was made, from pre-production to its theatrical release. Along the way, readers learn why Ford loved his favorite location (Monument Valley), how various stunts were achieved, and how Ford used his unique style in various scenes (called a “Fordian touch” by film critics and scholars). In addition, each film includes an analysis of Ford’s scene construction and character development. Illustrated with numerous behind-the-scenes photographs, many which have never been published before, and screen captures from the cutting room floor, this book is the ultimate gift for John Ford fans and readers who love to discover the grit and glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

There will be limited artifacts on display at the museum as an exhibit is being prepared to open June 29.

About Michael F. Blake

Michael F. Blake spent 60 years working in the film and television industry prior to his retirement in 2018. He began acting at the age of two, and for the next twenty years appeared in numerous television shows such as Adam-12, The Lucy Show, The Munsters, Red Skelton Show, Kung Fu, Bewitched and Bonanza.

For 40 years he worked as a makeup artist on numerous movies and television shows, such as X-Men: First Class, Westworld, Spider-Man 3, Happy Days (final season), Soapdish, Tough Guys, Independence Day, Disney Sunday Night Movie, Magnum, P.I. (pilot) and Strange Days to name a few. He received two Emmy Awards for Best Makeup in 1998 (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer)and 2016 (Key and Peele).

He has written three books on Hollywood’s “Man of a Thousand Faces,” Lon Chaney, which are considered the definitive work on the actor’s life and career. His books served as the basis for Kevin Brownlow’s 2000 documentary for Turner Classic Movies, Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces. Blake also authored My Code of Honor: The Making of High Noon, Shane and The Searchers and Hollywood and the O.K. Corral, both of which are considered valuable contributions to the genre.

The Cowboy President: The American West and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt was named the best political biography of 2018 by True West magazine. The book also won the gold medal in the Biography/Memoir category from the Will Rogers Medallion Awards. My follow-up book, Go West, Mr. President: Theodore Roosevelt’s Great Loop Tour of 1903 has been praised for shining a light on a little-known aspect of the 26th President’s life and career.

Blake also writes about Hollywood, filmmaking, and the West for Wild West, American Cinematographer, True West, Round-Up and Los Angeles Times. He Lives in Buckeye, Arizona

Share This Event

bottom of page