Harrison Ford’s movies have grossed roughly $3.4 billion at the U.S. box office, Empire magazine once named him the top movie star ever and as Han Solo and Indiana Jones, he’ll forever be entrenched in cinematic lore.
So it’s hard to find a rational explanation for his descent into acting mediocrity during the past 15 years, a period of time in which he has lent his once powerful name to low-rent junk such as “Hollywood Homicide,” “Random Hearts” and, yes, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
With the opening of “Morning Glory,” the 68-year-old’s latest stab at a return to professional respectability, amNewYork remembers the good times by looking back at some of the lesser-known films that established Ford as an acting force to be reckoned with:
Ford earned his only Oscar nomination as John Book, a detective gone undercover in Amish country to solve a murder. The film is dark but joyful: when Book, in a nondescript barn, sweeps Rachel (Kelly McGillis) off her feet to the sounds of Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World,” it’s hard not to be similarly swept away by the charismatic star.
‘The Mosquito Coast’ (1986)
You probably haven’t seen Peter Weir’s film “The Mosquito Coast,” which flopped at the box office and has never really been rediscovered. But it boasts Ford’s most intense, offbeat performance. As an obsessive inventor who moves his family to Central America, the actor goes to a bottled up, paranoid place he’d never revisit.
Ford, the quintessential American everyman, and Roman Polanski, European master of the bizarre, might not seem to be a natural pairing. But the tandem perfectly serves this story of an American doctor searching the Euro underworld for his missing wife.
‘Working Girl’ (1988)
Forget “Wall Street.” From its sweeping shots of the Statue of Liberty to its sharp depiction of Staten Island-Manhattan dichotomies, “Working Girl” might well be the defining depiction of ’80s New York corporate culture. Ford, as the nice-guy business/romantic partner of protagonist Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) fits in perfectly.