Ingmar Bergman once called John Ford "the greatest director in the world"--and this week, four Ford movies, all unavailable on videocassette, screen at various times on various channels.
Three Bad Men (Z Sunday at 4 p.m.): This newly restored 1926 George O'Brien Western--regarded by many as Ford's finest silent picture--offers a favorite plot: three noble outlaws rescuing the community. (2:03)
How Green Was My Valley (Movie Channel Monday at 12:30 a.m.): Wales. A boyhood. The mines. A family. A preacher. Decay, strife and tragedy. A sad little man who will hold Dai Bando's coat. And the valleys--how green they were then . . . A masterpiece from Richard Llewelyn's novel: one of the most lyrical and heartbreaking of the great Hollywood movies. (2:00)
Up the River (Disney Channel Monday at 11:30 p.m.): Ford once described this oddball 1930 prison baseball comedy as "one of my mortal sins." But it's not really that bad--and it introduced the world to two new young actors they'd grow to like: Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart. (1:32)
The Wings of Eagles (Disney Channel Saturday at 11 p.m.): Ford's movie biography of a friend whom he said "died in my arms": crippled Navy pilot and screenwriter Frank (Spig) Wead. (1:50)