Marc Eliot’s Art of Film: John Ford, Hollywood’s Poet Laureate


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Marc Eliot’s Art of Film: John Ford, Hollywood’s Poet Laureate

Thu, Nov 7, 6 PM  |  Stagecoach 

Fri, Nov 8, 6 PM  |  The Searchers 

Sat, Nov 9, 6 PM  |  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Sun, Nov 10, 6 PM  |  High Noon 

Buy tickets online now through our event calendar - click here !

Join us to experience an insightful, Giant Screen spin on the iconic westerns of John Ford - America’s preeminent filmmaker and the Academy Awards’ most decorated director - when International best-selling author and film scholar Marc Eliot director returns to Peoria to lead the “Art of Film: John Ford, Hollywood’s Poet Laureate” film festival.

Eliot, who as a film critic and historian focuses on directorial art and influence, will examine in detail the masterworks of Ford as well as the work of Zinnemann, contrasting the films’ directorial hand to show how stylistic differences can tell similar stories in completely different ways. 

See the legendary performances that made screen icons John Wayne and Gary Cooper and discover amazing insights about one of the greatest directors of all time, John Ford.

Join us with your fellow film lovers! Get your all-access passes to all four films or individual film tickets now before they are sold out.


Individual Films: Member $13 | Public $15 - see below or click here

ALL ACCESS PASS: Member $42 | Public $50 - click here



A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process. "Stagecoach" won two Academy Awards including Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Thomas Mitchell. Directed by John Ford. Story by Ernest Haycox,  screenplay by Dudley Nichols. Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Thomas Mitchell, and Louise Platt. 1939. B&W. 1h 36min. TICKETS - click here


An American Civil War veteran (John Wayne) embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches. Directed by John Ford. Screenplayby Frank S. Nugent, based on the novel by Alan Le May. Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, and Natalie Wood. 1956. B&W. 1h 59m. TICKETS  - click here


A senator (James Stewart), who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw (Lee Marvin), returns for the funeral of an old friend (John Wayne) and tells the truth about his deed. Directed by John Ford. Screenplay by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck, adapted from a short story written by Dorothy M. Johnson. Stars: John Wayne, James Stewart, Lee Marvin, Vera Miles, Edmond O'Brien, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Woody Strode, Strother Martin, and Lee Van Cleef. Paramount Pictures. 1962. B&W. 2h 3min. TICKETS - click here


Former marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is preparing to leave the small town of Hadleyville, New Mexico, with new bride, Amy (Grace Kelly), when he learns that a vicious local criminal, Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), has been set free and is arriving on the noon train to seek revenge on the marshal who turned him in. When Kane tries to recruit deputies to fight Miller, he's discouraged to find that the people of Hadleyville turn cowardly and he must face Miller and his gang alone. Set in "real time," with the story unfolding as it happens, "High Noon" won four Academy Awards including Best Actor, Gary Cooper. Directed by Fred Zinnemann. Screenplay by: Carl Foreman, based on the short story "The Tin Star" by John W. Cunningham. Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney Jr., Harry Morgan, Lee Van Cleef, and Ian MacDonald. 1952. B&W. 1h 25min. TICKETS - click here



Marc Eliot is a renowned classical film scholar and The New York Times bestselling author of more than 25 books including definitive biographies on John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Clint Eastwood, Charlton Heston, Steve McQueen, Cary Grant and Clint Eastwood, as well as Ronald Reagan (“Reagan: The Hollywood Years”) and Walt Disney. A New York City native, Eliot began his career as a child actor and student at the High School of Performing Arts (featured in “Fame”), and has worked as a musician, television producer, and writer for national magazines. He holds an advanced degree from Columbia University, where he was a protégé of film critic, scholar and founder of "auteurism," Andrew Sarris. Eliot lives in Manhattan but has become a regular visitor to the Peoria area, first serving as artist-in-residence at Eureka College in 2012 and hosting his first "The Art of Film" festival at the Peoria Riverfront Museum on Alfred Hitchcock, March 2019.


The museum gratefully acknowledges “Marc Eliot’s Art of Film: John Ford, Hollywood’s Poet Laureate” sponsors Dr. Darrel and Dr. Jane Gumm, Harry and Kathy Puterbaugh, Dr. Chris Perks and Brian Russel, and the Visionary Society.