10 November 2014

I resent your attitude!

On 27 August 1936, director John Ford wrote this angry letter to fellow director George Cukor, presumably after reading an article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Cukor's latest film "Romeo and Juliet". In the letter, Ford accuses Cukor of living off his reputation, and quarrels over who "made" Katharine Hepburn and how Greta Garbo was filmed in "Camille". Ford is obviously being sarcastic since he talks about hís films ("A Bill of Divorcement" and "Camille") while it was in fact George Cukor who directed them. Unfortunately I couldn't find the newspaper article in question, so I don't know what Ford was so upset about. At any rate, his sneer at Cukor can be read below.

Two great directors: John Ford (left) and George Cukor
Source: bonhams/ image reproduced with permission


August 27th, 1936

Mr. George Cukor,
Culver City, Calif.

My Dear Cukor:

I resent your attitude. I saw "Romeo and Juliet" and am suing the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for damages. Your presumption in living off my reputation is highly reprehensible and stinking.

I understand from reliable sources that in my present film "La Dame Aux Camelias" (pronounced "La Dame Aux Camelias") that you were personally making all the long shots while I only did the close-ups of Miss Garbo. And while I am on the subject, I need only refer to one of my first hits, "Bill of Divorcement" in which you claimed you had discovered and made Miss Katharine Hepburn, whereas I had only discovered her.

I beg that any further reference to the subject should be made to my attorneys Malurnski, Driscoll and O'Brien. Malurnski is in Europe.

John Copperfield Ford
(signed "John Ford")

Top photo: Greta Garbo and director George Cukor on the set of "Camille" (1936); below: Katharine Hepburn and John Barrymore in Hepburn's screen debut "A Bill of Divorcement" (1932), directed by George Cukor.


  1. I hope one day we can find the article so we can get the whole joke. I assume Cukor got it, but it's like walking into a room as somebody gets to the punchline.

  2. Yes, it's a shame we don't know the whole story. Thanks for reading!