Sunday, October 9th, Los Gatos Town Chambers, 1.45-2.45pm $15 donation
Author, screenwriter, and San Francisco State Cinema Professor Joseph McBride (see bio) will discuss the basic elements of the screenwriting craft and how an aspiring writer can break into that field. McBride is the author of the 2012 Random House guidebook Writing in Pictures: Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless. His screenwriting credits include the cult classic punk rock musical Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, starring the Ramones, and five American Film Institute Life Achievement Award specials on CBS-TV. He is a winner of the Writers Guild of America Award (for the AFI tribute to the Irish American writer-director John Huston) and has two Emmy nominations and four other WGA nominations, as well as a Canadian Film Awards nomination. McBride will also take questions from the audience about their interests in breaking into screenwriting. Copies of Writing in Pictures will be available for purchase and for the author to sign.
JOHN FORD’S IRISH TRAGICOMEDY
Friday, October 7th, Adult Recreation Center, 8pm – 10pm – $25
“Someone has suggested that Ford’s most Irish film is The Grapes of Wrath,” wrote Thomas Kenneally: it “resonates against memories of the Irish coffin ships headed across the Atlantic. . . . In this film, Ford’s thematic material, Ireland and the West, touch each other.”
Joseph McBride, author of two books on John Ford (including the 2001 biography Searching for John Ford), and professor of Cinema at San Francisco State, explores the blend of comedy and tragedy in the films of the great Irish American director. McBride will defend Ford’s often-criticized use of comedy and show how his intermingling of tragicomic elements is one of his artistic strengths and how it reflects his Irish heritage.
Ford’s 1940 film version of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, about dispossessed Okies in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, was influenced by his ethnic memories of the Irish Famine: “The whole thing appealed to me — being about simple people — and the story was similar to the Famine in Ireland, when they threw the people off the land and left them wandering the roads to starve.” That catastrophe caused his own parents to emigrate to the United States. This classic film is a somber work suffused with Ford’s characteristically passionate anger toward poverty and injustice.
His 1952 film The Quiet Man — set in Ireland and starring Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne — is based on a short story by Maurice Walsh of Listowel, Co. Kerry. This joyous romance shows Ford in a lighter mood. But McBride will show how that beloved film also draws from Ford’s subversive, anarchic side. Clips from these and other Ford works as well as from his tongue-in-cheek interviews will reveal surprising facets of his enigmatic personality. McBride’s presentation will offer a fresh look at the man often considered America’s greatest filmmaker.
The event will be introduced and moderated by Ford aficionado Tom McEnery, former San Jose mayor and owner of the Irish Innovation Center and Silicon Valley Global.
THE BROKEN PLACES: A MEMOIR • JOSEPH McBRIDE
In The Broken Places: A Memoir, internationally acclaimed American cultural historian Joseph McBride recalls his troubled youth in the Midwest during the 1960s. The author’s memoir of his breakdown as a teenager and triumphant recovery gives an unsparing look at physical and psychological abuse, family dysfunction and addiction, sexual repression, and Catholic guilt. McBride is the author of nineteen books, including the 2013 historical study Into the Nightmare: My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit and what are considered the definitive biographies of film directors Frank Capra, John Ford, and Steven Spielberg. A Professor of Cinema at San Francisco State University, McBride is a leading international film historian and is regarded as a pioneer in that field.
Copies of The Broken Places: A Memoir will be available for purchase and for the author to sign.