He kept the doors of his soul open

so that we may walk in.

—Wyndham Lewis



Subterracon Films is excited to present It Was the Nightingale: The Unreliable Story of Ford Madox Ford, the first feature-length film on the life and work of this extraordinary author.


Ford wrote over eighty books, including the masterpieces, The Good Soldier and Parade's End. He survived poverty, being blown up in the First World War and the miseries of passion to become perhaps the greatest writer you’ve never heard of.


Ford's story brings together the great names in twentieth century American and European literature, figures such as James Joyce, Henry James, Stephen Crane, Joseph Conrad, Ezra Pound,  Jean Rhys, Ernest Hemingway, H.D., Wyndham Lewis, W.H. Hudson, H.G. Wells, Thomas Hardy and many more. They all have the enormously talented Ford Madox Ford at the center or periphery of their own well-known stories.


The film also features extensive treatment and never-before-seen footage of Ford's last partner, the Jewish-American painter, Janice Biala, captured but never released by filmmakers Judith Wechsler and Richard Leacock in Paris in 1993. 




Subterracon Films is a media production company currently based in Virginia, USA, which looks to produce strong, unique cinematic content for a global audience. 


We seek to develop and produce projects featuring undiscovered and under-appreciated subjects with essential value to current and future cultural communities.


Subterracon believes in the integrity and process of true independent filmmaking and its value to audiences worldwide.

​Subterracon believes in the integrity and process of true independent filmmaking​ and its value to audiences worldwide.


The first-ever feature documentary on the author Ford Madox Ford

Estimated Running Time:



Production Location:

Virginia, New York, London


Produced By:

Subterracon Films, Virginia, USA


Production Dates:

February 2011 - November  2017


Special Acknowledgements:

​The Estate of Janice Biala & the Tworkov Foundation

The Ford Madox Ford Estate & Michael Schmidt

Fracture Atlas


Principal On-Camera Participants

Max Saunders: Professor, Kings College London

Sara Haslam: Senior Lecturer, The Open University

Paul Skinner: Independent Scholar and Writer

Alan Judd: Novelist / Ford Biographer

Seamus O'Malley: Ford Scholar

Joseph Wiesenfarth: Professor Emeritus, University Wisconsin-Madison

Hermine Ford: Painter

Mary Gordon: Novelist


Also featuring:

Janice Biala: Painter

Nathan Asch: Poet / Novelist






PO Box 12315

Richmond, VA 23241




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