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John Wayne


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This thread is about the Duke (1907-1979); specifically, his movies, and those by and large are westerns. If youre not a fan of the man or the genre, you can take your ovaries on back to the Powder Room, by god.

 

I'm gonna try to do mini-reviews of his significant works & my personal favorites. I dont expect everyone to be all over this thread, but itll be fun anyway. Here goes...

 

The Early Years

 

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I'm not gonna lie: this stuff sucks. When you get like 20 movies for a few bucks, youre gettin what you paid for.

The Duke basically spent the first 10 years of his life working for a conglomerate of b-studios called Poverty Row. Shit was so bad, they were known for churning out a western in a single weekend...youve gotta understand, the genre was huge then, and some say its still the largest overall of amaerican cinema cause of the sheer number of crap that came out around this time, id venture.

Dont believe me? The young, inexperienced Morrison was stuck with a recurring character, due to the popularity of guys like Ricky Nelson, i imagine, and he was somthing like "Sandy the singin' cowboy". Only, the man cant play a guitar nor sing, so other people'd do both during his films, and when asked by fans to do so on the spot, he'd have to dissapear.

 

Angel & the Badman was good, only cause it was the like the single one that didnt feature an "actress" in the loosest sense of the word. These ho's would often redefine overracting, Look, if it was done before 1939, dont mess with it

 

Formative years

 

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This is where it really begins. Despite physically berating him on the set, The Duke saw director John Ford as a father figure, and learned a great deal from him. This was more or less his major cinematic debut, As with much of the genre, the plot's nothing exceptional - simple stagecoach ride is interrupted by injuns - but the acting was good for the time, characterization was above normal, and again, this was Wayne's intro.

 

What's big here isnt just the solidifcation of Ford and Wayne as greats; its the complex and troubled passengers Ford paints, and fors the first time, background is really considered here: you go from b-rated studio backgrounds to Monument Valley, one of America's most picturesque landscapes. This movie really set a template for the genre that all subsequent entires would have to meet.

 

Next up: i was tryin to keep this somewhat chronological, but i think im gonna skip The Flying Tigers (a cool air force one about defending china from japan before WW II), and either get into a few quick non-westerns like The Quiet Man, or the war ones from this time, like Sands of Iow Jima, Rio Grande, and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Hahaha, I got the same set man. I thought I was getting a good deal at $7 for 20 movies. Turned out I'd been had.

 

Anyway, my top 2 films starring The Duke are:

 

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"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." That's more than the code of a newspaperman in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; it's practically the operating credo of director John Ford, the most honored of American filmmakers. In this late film from a long career, Ford looks at the civilizing of an Old West town, Shinbone, through the sad memories of settlers looking back. In the town's wide-open youth, two-fisted Westerner John Wayne and tenderfoot newcomer James Stewart clash over a woman (Vera Miles) but ultimately unite against the notorious outlaw Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). Ford's nostalgia for the past is tempered by his stark approach, unusual for the visual poet of Stagecoach and The Searchers. The two heavyweights, Wayne and Stewart, are good together, with Wayne the embodiment of rugged individualism and Stewart the idealistic prophet of the civilization that will eventually tame the Wild West. This may be the saddest Western ever made, closer to an elegy than an action movie, and as cleanly beautiful as its central symbol, the cactus rose.

 

Couldn't put it any better than that. Heartbreaking, passionate performance from Wayne, Jimmy Stewart does his thing, and Lee Marvin plays a truly sinister villain. One for the ages.

 

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A favorite film of some of the world's greatest filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, John Ford's The Searchers has earned its place in the legacy of great American films for a variety of reasons. Perhaps most notably, it's the definitive role for John Wayne as an icon of the classic Western--the hero (or antihero) who must stand alone according to the unwritten code of the West. The story takes place in Texas in 1868; Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a Confederate veteran who visits his brother and sister-in-law at their ranch and is horrified when they are killed by marauding Comanches. Ethan's search for a surviving niece (played by young Natalie Wood) becomes an all-consuming obsession. With the help of a family friend (Jeffrey Hunter) who is himself part Cherokee, Ethan hits the trail on a five-year quest for revenge. At the peak of his masterful talent, director Ford crafts this classic tale as an embittered examination of racism and blind hatred, provoking Wayne to give one of the best performances of his career. As with many of Ford's classic Westerns, The Searchers must contend with revisionism in its stereotypical treatment of "savage" Native Americans, and the film's visual beauty (the final shot is one of the great images in all of Western culture) is compromised by some uneven performances and stilted dialogue. Still, this is undeniably one of the greatest Westerns ever made.

 

My first John Wayne, and still one of my all-time favorites.

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Edited by Iambaytor
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I hear that one's pretty godawful. Garth Ennis even rags on it in Preacher. Is it even worth a laugh, or should I just stay far away?

 

baytor- If you do get into some of the Duke's movies, check out my recommendations, as well as IC's. He knows his shit more than I do.

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I caught "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" in the IFC theater in Dublin a few years back. It was so much better than seeing it on TV. More cinemas should show flicks like that. Stupid "Big Momma's House 2"....

 

I love "The Shootist". I'm sure Nick'll agree I'm not a little bitch for getting a little teary-eyed at the end of that one. Of course all the ones that Nick named earlier are all class (I actually had "The Searchers" on today in work - every sunday I play old flicks all day). I keep meaning to get some Wayne flicks on DVD. I had a few on video ("Rooster Cogburn" bitches :2T: ) but I've yet to pick up any DVDs....maybe with my tax back.

 

These two are definitly worth getting

 

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Stagecoach / The Searchers / Rio Bravo / The Cowboys

 

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The Shootist/ The Sons of Katie Elder/ True Grit/ El Dorado/ The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

 

I've never seen "The Sons of Katie Elder". The others in the set are all class though so I doubt they'd throw a Conqueror in there. I also need "The Quiet Man" just 'cause of that never ending fucking fight scene. I'm sure AMC will have it on on Paddy's day so I'll be watching that with a few glasses of the black before I hit the town.

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hell no, Shootist does that to a man.

Katie Elder's not a bad flick itself, and really works in that set, cause you get a double-header of Dean Martin & The Duke, which is a cool team. True Grit's classic, but mostly for that one "Fill your hand..." scene, i think. Both sets are great, used to have em both, not a weak film in there anywhere. There's another one that goes for cheap that has The Quiet Man and Sands of Iwo Jima, plus an ok one called Dark Command (i think) floating around Wal-Mart or something, too. Theyre barebones DVDs, all of em, but all i ever expect from em is the movie at a decent quality and perhaps a trailer, so i was always pretty happy with em.

 

Im just not as big a fan of Green Berets, myself, since it was right around when he did "No substitute for victory", this vietnam propoganda/documentary thing about how great we were doing over there. Again, for Duke war films, his bit in The Longest Day does it for me, and i really dug The Flying Tigers, The Horse Soldiers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and a few other calvary ones.

 

hell no, Shootist does that to a man; an aging Duke outlives his era, playing opposite Maureen O'Hara, as ever, with Jimmy Stewart as his doctor-with-the-bad-news and Ron Howard as the punk kid who idolizes him....its a very fitting last film.

 

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

 

Katie Elder's not a bad flick itself, and really works in that set, cause you get a double-header of Dean Martin & The Duke, which is a cool team. True Grit's classic, but mostly for that one "Fill your hand..." scene, i think. Both sets are great, used to have em both, not a weak film in there anywhere. There's another one that goes for cheap that has The Quiet Man and Sands of Iwo Jima, plus an ok one called Dark Command (i think) floating around Wal-Mart or something, too. Theyre barebones DVDs, all of em, but all i ever expect from em is the movie at a decent quality and perhaps a trailer, so i was always pretty happy with em.

 

Im just not as big a fan of Green Berets, myself, since it was right around when he did "No substitute for victory", this vietnam propoganda/documentary thing about how great we were doing over there. Again, for Duke war films, his bit in The Longest Day does it for me, and i really dug The Flying Tigers, The Horse Soldiers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and a few other calvary ones.

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I'm gonna have t'pick 'em up when I get my tax-back.

 

I'm reaching here, as I havn't seen this one for years, but it wasn't a western and alls I remember was it was black and white and the Duke had a kid daughter and was a coach or something...can't remember much else about it besides that :pinch: but I remember it being quite good. I'd love to find it. Could be shit for all I know, but I remember it being good.

 

Just popped over to the imdb to see if any of the titles for him caught my eye, but alas no (somebody's gotta help me with this mystery) but I did click on the link for "The Conquror"and saw these fun facts....

 

* Filmed near the site of contemporaneous nuclear testing grounds, the set was contaminated by nuclear fallout. After location shooting, much dirt from the location was transported back to Hollywood in order to match interior shooting done there. Scores of cast and crew members developed forms of cancer over the next two decades, many more than the normal percentage of a random group of this size. Quite a few died from cancer or cancer-related problems, including John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Pedro Armendáriz (who shot himself to death soon after learning he had terminal cancer), Agnes Moorehead, Thomas Gomez, and director Dick Powell,

 

* Wayne took his role very seriously, went on a crash diet, and took Dexedrine tablets 4 times a day.

 

* Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes provided the financial backing for this film and later paid an extra $12 million (estimated) for every existing print of it from a sense of guilt - it was he who paid for the shipping of 60 tons of radioactive dirt to Hollywood for retakes (see above). He kept a jealous hold on the film, not even allowing it to be seen on television, for 17 years until 1974, when Paramount managed to secure the rights to reissue it.

 

* Sometimes referred to as "An RKO Radioactive Picture".

 

* The screenplay was written before John Wayne became involved in the project. The writer had Marlon Brando in mind for the role.

 

:2T: Fuck sake...

 

Your damn right with the call on "The Shootist". "True Grit" seemed like a "fuck, we better give the Duke an oscar". As I said that movie brings out the ol' waterworks everytime.

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