|Taken from Ultimate DVD #6|
Feature by Anwar Brett
Ultimate DVD takes a look at the stars colourful career, from flying spaceships to cracking whips, from getting marooned to chasing robots, and from protecting a president to being one...
Until recently Harrison Ford was the quiet, dependable film star of our collective imaginations the sort of heroic figure on screen that men aspire to be, and women want to be with. Modest, unassuming, ordinary, he was an actor we only watched on screen and never read about in our newspaper headlines.
Well, a couple of things have changed in the last few years. Old certainties can no longer be depended upon, and even Harrison Ford has taken a few knocks at the box office. His most recent effort, Random Hearts was deemed too random for most, even though he was cast as a rugged romantic hero opposite cool Kristin Scott Thomas. Six Days, Seven Nights drew a similarly uninspiring response from audiences who were less enthused at the idea of him and Anne Heche playing Robinson Crusoe in a tropical paradise. But if such adversity reveals the true nature of the man, be prepared for a disciplined, methodical response from Harrison Ford.
For his stardom was hard won, and the mantle of box office champion is unlikely to be given away without a struggle by the personable actor. Born in Chicago in 1942, he first got a taste for drama at Ripon College, Wisconsin and by the 60s found himself in Hollywood... His casting in American Graffiti seems more significant now than it must have then. The role of arrogant hot rod racer Bob Falfa was a small one, but his director, George Lucas, was to have a significant impact on Fords career.
Lucass directing mentor was Francis Ford Coppola, who gave Ford a small role in The Conversation, and cast him a couple of years later in Apocalypse Now, as a character called Colonel Lucas.
That same year Ford appeared as Han Solo for the first time in Star Wars, and despite a fraught production in England and Tunisia the film surpassed all expectations and proved a massive box office success. Ford and his co-stars Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were fêted by Hollywood and tried their hands at a variety of roles. Fords own performances in Heroes, Force 10 From Navarone, Hanover Street and the comedy western, The Frisco Kid showed that his range was better than his judgement however...
The two Star Wars sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi kept his name prominent amongst young Hollywood talent, and when he portrayed gung ho archaeologist Indiana Jones for the writer-director-producer partnership of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas he received the much needed, non sci-fi hit that would establish him as a movie star in his own right...
Full feature in Ultimate DVD #06
Ford on DVD
Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction