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MultiEye

John Wayne AKA "The Duke"

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Some war pictures worth checking out are "The Sands of Iwo Jima" and "Back To Bataan." "The Fighting Seabees" is pretty good but borders on being a little too much.

 

"Island In The Sky" is also a fine film.

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"Island in the Sky" is one of Wayne's best and most under rated performances by far. It was written by Ernest K. Gann who also penned Wayne's the following year "The High and the Mighty" one of John Wayne's biggest hits. "Island" was based on a true story which occurred around 1942 and Gann was one of the search pilots involved in the rescue.

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What is a good set to buy that contains John Wayne's old Westerns? Is Legendary Heroes a good one?[it looks like an orange box with 2 separate boxes inside].

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If it is the Legendary Heroes set with "Blood Alley" and "McQ" among others I'd look for something else. (Not among his best work.)

 

If you don't have them start with the TCM Greatest Classic John Wayne Westerns. "The Cowboys," "Ft. Apache," "Rio Bravo" and "The Searchers" are on that one. That will get you a start with some of his best work.

 

If you are looking for all those old B westerns from the middle 30s then you'll find any number of collections. Depending on how complete you want most of those, in my opinion, are almost interchangeable.

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Ben told an interesting story about "The Duke" when introducing The Gunfighter today.  It seems he very much wanted this film but not if he had to do it at Columbia with Harry Cohn.  When that fell through he tried to buy it for his company but was outbid by Fox who gave it to Gregory Peck.   

 

Peck is a favorite of mine, this is one of his best roles and the film a Western classic.  Yet I can see the Wayne of Red River and Sands of Iwo Jima - where his career was at the time - playing the role as he was about the right age and his physique had not yet begun its slide.  That cliche  about it not being the same movie might hold but I think it would have still been interesting.  Score this as a possible loss for Wayne.

 

The movie was not successful and that was blamed on the usually heroic Peck playing a villain even though he was one with a conscience and played a worse one in Duel in the Sun (which I did not like him in-but then I didn't like the whole picture.)   Ben said that Darryl Zanuck blamed the moustache even though it was authentic for that time.  I think Peck nailed it perfectly.

 

A point for discussion?

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Ben told an interesting story about "The Duke" when introducing The Gunfighter today.  It seems he very much wanted this film but not if he had to do it at Columbia with Harry Cohn.  When that fell through he tried to buy it for his company but was outbid by Fox who gave it to Gregory Peck.   

 

Peck is a favorite of mine, this is one of his best roles and the film a Western classic.  Yet I can see the Wayne of Red River and Sands of Iwo Jima - where his career was at the time - playing the role as he was about the right age and his physique had not yet begun its slide.  That cliche  about it not being the same movie might hold but I think it would have still been interesting.  Score this as a possible loss for Wayne.

 

The movie was not successful and that was blamed on the usually heroic Peck playing a villain even though he was one with a conscience and played a worse one in Duel in the Sun (which I did not like him in-but then I didn't like the whole picture.)   Ben said that Darryl Zanuck blamed the moustache even though it was authentic for that time.  I think Peck nailed it perfectly.

 

A point for discussion?

 

I'm a fan of The Gunfighter and I agee Peck nailed the role perfectly.     I can see Wayne in this type of role and as noted the movie was made when Wayne was still making movies where is wasn't just play the Duke.  e.g. Red River.   

 

I assume the movie wasn't successful because it didn't meet expectations in the action department for male fans of westerns.  

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John Wayne was always a first-rate actor and he always possessed great charisma.

 

From the moment that he appeared on screen in "Babyface" with Barbara Stanwyck, you just knew that he was an actor/star in the making.

 

And, even in an early film with Joan Crawford, "Reunion In France", he shone very brightly indeed.

 

I have enjoyed so many of his films over the years and I would find it very difficult to make a Top Ten List.

 

I especially like the John Ford trilogy - "Fort Apache", "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" and "Rio Grande".

 

In his youth, for example, "The Long Voyage Home", he was a truly beautiful man.

 

As he got older, he became "The Duke" - yes, a screen icon - but he was always in fine form.

 

In this later phase of his career,  "The Cowboys" remains one of my favorite films of his.

 

He was always committed to what he was doing - and that commitment was right there on the screen.

 

Even, in "Brannigan", in which he tried to re-do his image, you just had to applaud his gung-ho bravery.

 

For me, John Wayne will always remain the true definition of A SUPERSTAR.

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"The Big Trail" did not make John Wayne a star - reportedly, it failed at the box office - but John Wayne had all the makings of A STAR -

 

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On the "Movies" channel last night, they gave us a beautiful print of "Rio Grande".

 

This was the last film (1950) of the John Ford trilogy, "Fort Apache", "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" and "Rio Grande".

 

Since the film is full of surprises, I'd rather not discuss it and spoil it for anybody.

 

But, in it, John Wayne gives a stunning, but subdued performance as a man - a hard-bitten calvary commander - who has "lost" both his wife and his son.

 

When he has a chance to re-establish relationships with them, he is clearly out-of-his-depth.

 

As his son, Claude Jarman, Jr. was very effective as a young man who never really had a father, anyway.

 

And, as his wife, Maureen O'Hara was quite impressive as a woman who saw her husband's weaknesses - AND LONELINESS.

 

The plot, which finally focuses on the abduction of children by murderous Indians, brings it all into focus - and resolution, too.

 

One of the great Westerns - and three unforgettable performances.

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Thank you so much for the pictures of Ella Raines. Although I have about 170 pictures of her, I did not have any of these. I was wondering where you found them as I would love to add them to my collection. I always loved Ella found her looks to be "mysterious" and her eyes absolutely hypnotic. I thought she was an excellent actress, and not just her western performances...although it seemed a natural progression since she was discovered by Howard Hawkes. LOL Hawkes formed a film company with Charles Boyer (B-H Productions) and Ella was in their first film called "Corvette-225". She did a lot of films over the next 10 years before switching to TV and finally retiring in 1957. She retired way too early for my liking and was sorely missed on the big screen. She did make one final appearance in an episode of "Matt Houston" in 1984 before dying of throat cancer in 1988. Thanks again.

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Having been named after John Wayne at my father's bequest, I formed an affinity for his films at a very early age. His decision has puzzled me my entire life since his favorite genre of films was westerns and his favorite actor was Randolph Scott. I never did get around to asking him why and it has been a major regret since my father's death in 2009. Anyway, my favorite John Wayne movie was "The Quiet Man" because it showed a bit more depth in his acting ability and, of course, the locale didn't hurt either as Ireland is one of my favorite places.

    I also loved his films of a more lighthearted nature i.e. McClintock, Donovan's Reef, North to Alaska, Rio Bravo, El Dorado, and Hatari. He was great at playing comedy yet maintaining a macho persona. My favorite female co-star for him was Maureen O'Hara followed by Claire Trevor as a close second. Unlike Trevor, Wayne and O'Hara were never romantically involved . Wayne viewed O'Hara not only as a sister but somewhat a female version of himself, often referring to her (according to IMDB) as “a big, lusty, wonderful gal" and admittedly his favorite leading lady. According to Maureen, there was this one time she and Wayne were at a Christmas party where the "Duke", evidently inebriated and bored, convinced her to go for a ride. With Maureen at the wheel and having driven for a while (no apparent destination in mind), Wayne suddenly had her pull the car over. Maureen in tow, Wayne  proceeded to walk up to a complete stranger's house, ring the doorbell, and invite himself and Maureen into these people's home for drinks. LOL 

     My favorite male co-star was, hands down, Ward Bond. Both O'Hara and Bond were his close personal friends and drinking buddies which explains their dynamic compatibility on-screen. He and Bond were both prone to playing practical jokes on one another and making silly bets. My favorite was the time Bond bet Wayne they could lay down a newspaper between them and Wayne couldn't hit him. Bond laid the newspaper down in a doorway and closed the door. While Bond stood there laughing about his outwitting Wayne an assured he had won the bet, Wayne put his fist through the door and knocked Bond to the floor. LOL

     From the 40s to the 60s, other than the leading lady or primary male co-lead, his co-stars were usually Ward Bond, Victor MacLaglen, Walter Brennan, Barry Fitzgerald, Ken Curtis, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., Bruce Cabot, his son Patrick, and The Sons of the Pioneers. You were going to see at least one, if not a combination, of these actors. He was extremely loyal to his friends and I think this gave a sense of familiarity to his films and made them work so well.

    Okay, enough dribble. I could talk about him for days so I must apologize for my being so long-winded. He was a great actor, a great American, and a great man up until the day of his death. I believe he showed us a little of himself in every film...his integrity, loyalty, moral values, and the inability to surrender...all the characteristics of a great American and worldwide role model. There will never be another "Duke" and, in my opinion, Hollywood, the realm of cinematography, and the world in general has suffered a catastrophic loss in his passing.

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John Wayne - a genuine screen icon - a terrific screen personality and a terrific actor.

 

I especially like him in the John Ford trilogy - "Fort Apache", "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" and "Rio Grande".

 

And, as he got older, like in "Big Jake", he became such a substantial screen personality.

 

And how many actors can claim that distinction?

 

And how many actors are even given that opportunity?

 

I love the man, he is forever fascinating.

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I saw an episode of American Ride today which dealt with "The Myths and Romanticism of the Old West".  It told about Wyatt Earp ending his days as a consultant on early Hollywood Western films-which I already knew about-but also that JW was one of his gofers and became a good friend.  That was news to me but it fit and explains why Mr. Wayne was so drawn to Westerns.

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