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The Tornado (1917 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Tornado
Directed byJohn Ford
Written byGrace Cunard
Francis Ford
John Ford
StarringJohn Ford
Distributed byUniversal Film Manufacturing Company
Release date
  • March 3, 1917 (1917-03-03)
Running time
2 reels (approximately 25 minutes)[a]
CountryUnited States
English intertitles

The Tornado is a 1917 American short film directed and co-written by John Ford, who at that time was credited as "Jack Ford".[1][2][3][4] Filmed in California, the two-reel Western starred Ford as well, with a supporting cast that included Jean Hathaway, John Duffy, Peter Gerald, Elsie Thornton, and Duke Worne.[5][6][7] This short is generally cited by film historians to be Ford's debut film as a director, although he had served as an assistant director in some earlier productions directed by his elder brother Francis Ford.[8][9] Produced by Bison Motion Pictures and distributed by Universal Pictures, this short is currently classified as a lost film.[7][10]


  • John Ford as Jack Dayton (as Jack Ford)
  • Jean Hathaway as Jack's mother
  • Peter Gerald as Pendleton, banker from Rock River (as Pete Gerald)
  • Elsie Thornton as Bess, Jack's daughter
  • Duke Worne as Lesparre, the lead of Cayote gang
  • John Duffy as Slick, Jack's partner

Production and reception

John Ford, who was only 23 years old at the time of this short's production, reportedly got drunk while filming and told producers that he simply ordered the actors what to do and then recorded the action.[11][12]


The film was defined like: "In his hand-to-hand struggle in the cabin and the jump from the cabin roof to the back of his horse, Jack Ford qualifies as a rough-riding expert".[13][14][15] Jack Ford declared The Soul Herder as the first film he directed because he dismissed The Tornado and called it a "brunch of stunts".[16][7]

See also

References and notes


  1. ^ Levy 1998, p. 8, "Biography".
  2. ^ Levy 1998, p. 42, "Chronology".
  3. ^ Leonard, Suzanne; Tasker, Yvonne (November 20, 2014). "Classical Hollywood". In Kelly, Christopher (ed.). Fifty Hollywood Directors. Routledge. p. 101. ISBN 9781317593942.
  4. ^ Frankel 2013, p. 393, "Quanah Texas June 2011".
  5. ^ Grant, Barry Keith (2003). "Filmography". John Ford's Stagecoach. Cambridge University Press. p. 185. ISBN 9780521797436.
  6. ^ Levy 1998, p. 64, "Filmography".
  7. ^ a b c Bogdanovich, Peter (1967). "Fords' Career Filmography". John Ford. University of California Press. p. 111.
  8. ^ Hughes, Howard (October 24, 2007). "There's a Hundred More Tombstones". Stagecoach to Tombstone: The Filmgoers' Guide to the Great Westerns. I.B.Tauris. p. 304. ISBN 9780857730466.
  9. ^ "'THE TRAIL OF HATE'", The Moving Picture Weekly, April 21, 1917, p. 29. Internet Archive, San Francisco, California. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  10. ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: The Tornado". Silent Era. Retrieved February 22, 2008.
  11. ^ Levy 1998, p. 213, "Photoessay follows page".
  12. ^ Casas, Quim (2007). "Érase una vez el Oeste...". In Pérez, Xavier (ed.). Peliculas Clave Del Western (in Spanish). Ediciones Robinbook. p. 227. ISBN 9788496222885.
  13. ^ The Moving Picture World. March 3, 1917
  14. ^ Bogdanovich, Peter. p. B6
  15. ^ Gallagher, Tag. p. B23
  16. ^ Davis, Ronald. B13, p. 38


  1. ^ According to How Movies Work by Bruce F. Kawin (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), a standard 1000-foot theatrical reel of film in the silent era was projected at a speed of 16 frames per second, considerably slower than the 24 frames in the sound era. A full silent reel therefore had an average running time a bit less than 15 minutes.


External links

This page was last edited on 17 September 2023, at 07:43
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