The Tornado

The Tornado is a 1917 American short Western film directed and co-written by John Ford.[1][2][3][4][5] It was Ford's debut film as a director,[6] (previously he directed films with his brother Francis Ford) he was only 22 years old,[7] but sometimes The Trail of Hate (1917) is considered the first.[1] There is a third film recorded in 1917, The Scrapper, and all of its are starred by John as a cowboy hero.[1] The film is considered to be lost.[8] It's distributed by Universal Pictures.[4][9][10]

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
30 minutes
CountryUnited States
English intertitles

It was released on March 3, 1917.[11] It starred Jack Ford as Jack Dayton, Jean Hathaway as Jack's mother, John Duffy as Slick, his partner, Peter Gerald as Pendleton, the banker of Rock River, Elsie Thornton as Bess, Pendleton's daughter, and Duke Worne as Lesparre, chief of the Coyote Gang.[4][11][10]

It was filmed in California.[12] During the filming, Jack Ford got drunk and told to the producers which he was able to order the actor to do what they had to do and recorded it.[13]


  • 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



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".[14][15][16]

Jack Ford declared The Soul Herder as the first film he directed because he dismissed The Tornado and called it a "brunch of stunts".[17][10]

See also


  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. Grant, Barry Keith (2003). "Filmography". John Ford's Stagecoach. Cambridge University Press. p. 185. ISBN 9780521797436.
  5. Frankel 2013, p. 393, "Quanah Texas June 2011".
  6. Frankel 2013, p. 214, "The Director Hollywood 1954".
  7. 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.
  8. "Progressive Silent Film List: The Tornado". Silent Era. Retrieved February 22, 2008.
  9. Levy 1998, p. 9, "Biography".
  10. Bogdanovich, Peter (1967). "Fords' Career Filmography". John Ford. University of California Press. p. 111.
  11. Levy 1998, p. 64, "Filmography".
  12. Levy 1998, p. 213, "Photoessay follows page".
  13. Casas, Quim (2007). "Érase una vez el Oeste...". In Pérez, Xavier (ed.). Peliculas Clave Del Western (in Spanish). Ediciones Robinbook. p. 227. ISBN 9788496222885.
  14. The Moving Picture World. March 3, 1917
  15. Bogdanovich, Peter. p. B6
  16. Gallagher, Tag. p. B23
  17. Davis, Ronald. B13, p. 38


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