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Harrison Ford: By The Numbers

August 20th, 2009 | Comments | Posted in Entertainment, Movies

Anyone who knows Jesse is aware that he has a penchant for delightfully long rants about various icons of pop culture, which he then usually emails or (sends via Facebook) to a list of people who care about such things.  It’s a short list, and I consider myself privileged to be on it.

Recently, I stumbled upon this clip thanks to Videogum (which, by the way, is currently tied for first place on the List of My Favorite Things Ever [with The Best Show on WFMU]).  Being that he and I are both connoisseurs of Harrison Ford’s work (we’ve had a Harrison Ford-related music project in the works for a few years now), I figured he’d enjoy it, and I sent it his way.  Take a look-see for yourself:

In response to this video, I received the following email:

From what I can tell, these are the what clips are from:

  • Air Force One
  • Firewall
  • Frantic – they have quite a bit from the underrated Frantic (one of the only Roman Polanski films I really like, probably because Ford is in it).  This is the one where he is going around asking about his wife being kidnapped (Someone should do this with Polanski and films featuring bad things happening to women – Frantic, Rosemary’s Baby, Tess, and incest in Chinatown).
  • The Fugitive
  • Random Hearts
  • Patriot Games

In the 29 feature films Ford has starred in, 6 of them he is married and something happens to his family.  These are all the above films.  I am not counting [Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the] Crystal Skull, although he gets married in the finale and he is ostensibly fighting for his family throughout the film.  I am also not including What Lies Beneath, in which he murders his wife.  That’s about 20%.  Note: the first film he did this in was the aforementioned Frantic.

In those same 29 feature films, Ford is married in 12 of them (again, not counting Crystal Skull), which means he is predominantly single in his film career (60% of the time).  However, ever since Presumed Innocent, he has been married in 10 of those 15 films, meaning that since 1990, he has been way more married than the first half of his career.

I don’t know about Crossing Over, the film he did earlier this year.  It was only a limited release.

Writing these kinds of emails is what Jesse does, and I don’t think it’s just luck that he happens to associate with folks like me who appreciate them to no end.  But I thought that this analysis might have a little more impact with some visual flair, so I whipped up some art to help bring this data home.  I therefore proudly present the Harrison Ford “Get Off My Family” breakdown:

Harrison Ford Chart #1

Harrison Ford Chart #2

A few things to note here, aside from what Jesse already pointed out about What Lies Beneath and Crystal Skull:

  • I chose Mosquito Coast instead of Presumed Innocent to start the second count, because it’s Ford’s first starring role in which he is married. That film was shot in early 1986, while Ford was 43. I guess Hollywood decided he finally looked old enough to play a family man.
  • We’ve assumed Ford is single in all films in which that topic is not specifically addressed; if I’m not mistaken, that is true in both Force 10 from Navarone and K-19: The Widowmaker. I can’t remember if the topic comes up in The Frisco Kid.
  • One could argue that Ford’s family isn’t exactly living in the safest of conditions in Mosquito Coast, but I think that goes against the spirit of what we’re doing at here.  We’re looking at cases in which Harrison Ford is specifically struggling to find or protect his family, which is why What Lies Beneath doesn’t fall into the “Family in Trouble” category either.
  • It is also interesting to note that in three of the twelve films in which Ford is married, he has committed adultery (What Lies Beneath, Presumed Innocent, Regarding Henry).  That’s a 25% adultery rate, just below the average rate for American males, which MSNBC puts at 28% (though obviously that’s a tough statistic to measure accurately).  It is also interesting to note that all three of these indiscretions took place before the start of their respective films; as far as I know, Ford has never committed adultery on screen (unless you count Hanover Street, in which he is the other man).

Lord knows it’s been a rough fifteen years for us Ford lovers (he is, in my opinion, two for ten since Clear and Present Danger), but let’s all just hang in there, and here’s hoping he gets back on track.

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