Even during the height of the Cold War, Hollywood was used by ignorant liberals to spread socialist and communist propaganda which was helpful to the Soviet Union. That trend continues today, with Hollywood donating millions to far-left causes while they tweet from private jets about how the rest of America should cut down on energy consumption.
And the biggest patriot of them all was John Wayne, the brilliant actor who starred in dozens of classic Westerns. Conservatives will LOVE this classic clip of Wayne shutting down Claudette Colbert’s false notions of the proper role of government.
I recently watched the 1996 classic during a quarantined Saturday afternoon and was reminded of how perfect the NHL '93 scenes was from start to finish. • Friends arguing over which team they chose to play with.
• The guy who scores a goal taunting his opponent by making him watch an instant replay. • Discussion about how much it sucked that the makers of the game got rid of fighting.
• Unpausing the game on the sneak after your opponent paused the action. Of course, the highlight of the scene was Vince Vaughn's character vowing to make Wayne Gretzky's head bleed and dropping the lines, “There it is, Mikey, check it out.
It won't get the kind of hype the Last Dance is getting, but ESPN's E:60 documentary, Project 11, on Alex Smith's recovery from a gruesome leg injury suffered 17 months ago, airing this Friday at 7:30 p.m. Here's a pretty wild stat about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Reeve caught some flak on Twitter, but we're not going to fault anyone for going pantless while quarantined during a pandemic. Reeve handled the funny incident like a champ.
Soprano stars and the hosts of the new Talking Sopranos podcast, Michael Imperial and Steve Shirring, joined the latest episode of the SI Media Podcast. We went in-depth on many aspects of the show: the writing, whether things were alibied, the deaths of Bobby and Christopher, Pine Barrens and much more.
RANDOM YouTube VIDEO OF THE DAY : This Jerry Seinfeld bit about going to the supermarket hits even harder during this time. SPORTS HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY : I love this clip of Tom Elaine throwing pitch after pitch at Dale Murphy until he finally hit him, and then just walking off the mound like no big deal after he gets ejected.
Directed by Allan Dan who, like John Ford, had started his career in the silent era, the film depicts the savagery of the no-holds barred fighting at Two Jim. Forrest Tucker, who is also in the film, might have made a better go of playing Agar’s character, but his role is mainly to initiate a fistfight with Wayne that doesn’t really get resolved until “Chi sum” 20-odd years later.
The battle sequences, despite being interspersed with stock footage of what appears to be the real fight for Two Jim, are quite impressive, and more realistic than previous Wayne WWII films. “Sands of Two Jim” is one of the best WWII films Wayne appeared in and, as already mentioned, the Academy thought so too by handing him his first Oscar nomination as Best Actor in the process.
Assuming that wasn’t intentional I’d have to say the sight of Duke marching steadfastly towards the camera as he appears from the middle of nowhere makes for a much more exciting entrance than Alan Land in “Shane”. Based upon a Louis L’Amour book, “Honda” is an unabashed cowboy and Apache film, with Wayne mouthing the good old-fashioned plain homilies of screenwriter James Edward Grant, who thinks that ‘a woman should be a good cook’ and that the leading female character, Angie, played by Geraldine Page, is a ‘homely woman’.
If you didn’t know Grant had scripted the film then you’d have got a very strong clue when Wayne launches into a bunch of dialogue on his dead Apache wife which sounds almost like a dry run for the ‘Republic. Duke gets into fisticuffs first off with Leo Gordon, here playing Ed Lowe, the wayward husband of Geraldine Page, who he has left alone with their young son at a ranch in the middle of nowhere.
Of course, Gordon doesn’t help matters much by pulling a gun on Wayne, after which Duke is morally obliged to knock him through the swinging saloon doors. I’m making an assumption that Duke’s stand-in, Chuck Roberson, doubled for the horse-breaking scenes and the knife fight between Wayne and the Apache warrior Silva, played by Rodolfo Acosta.
On the whole, a good solid Western in which Wayne turns in what has over the years become quite an iconic role for him, up there with Ethan Edwards and Sean Thornton in terms of popularity. In his last film, John Wayne plays an aging gunfighter dying of cancer, the illness that ironically killed him three years later in 1979.
First off we are presented with assorted clips from previous JR films such as “Red River”, “Honda”, “Rio Bravo” and “El Dorado”. He’s also still highly capable of taking care of business when required, as indicated in the opening sequence in which Books gets the better of an outlaw who tries to rob him by turning the tables and shooting him first.
A redirecting Ron Howard of “Happy Days” fame plays Bacall’s young son, an innocent youth who wants Wayne to show him how to use a gun. Although Bacall doesn’t get to play Wayne’s love interest in “The Shooting”, she brings a quiet dignity to her role as a widowed mother attempting to keep her son on the straight and narrow.
The late film critic Roger Ebert noted that when you witness the scenes between Wayne and Bacall they’re so authentic that ‘you forget you’re watching a movie’. Throughout the movie, we get to see a parade of former Wayne co-stars strut their stuff with the big man including James Stewart, Richard Boone and John Carrying.
“The Shooting” is another example of old men railing against progress and the dying of the light and ends, as expected, with a gunfight in which Wayne’s character in effect orchestrates the manner and the time of his own death, succumbing to a shotgun blast in the back from a cowardly bartender. If anyone has any doubts about Wayne’s acting ability, his performance as Captain Nathan Brittle in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” should convince otherwise.
This is less an action movie and more a rumination on growing old, the scene towards the end of the film when he and Chief Pony That Walks discuss going hunting, fishing and drinking reinforcing the anachronistic nature of the two characters. Unfortunately, that turns out not to be the case, but he was definitely robbed, delivering a more studied and measured performance here than he did in “Sands of Two Jim” which was released in the same year, and for which he did actually receive his first Academy nomination.
Witness the scene where his troop presents him with a gold watch “with a sentiment on the back” and I dare anyone not to reach for the nearest handkerchief and dab the tears from their eyes. Add to all of this John Ford’s peerless direction, Ben Johnson at his horse-riding monosyllabic best as a cavalry sergeant who previously served in the Confederacy, and Victor McAllen’s performance as the Irish sergeant also on the cusp of retiring (I’m guessing he must have re-enlisted for “Rio Grande”) and you have a perfect example of how Ford and Wayne could deliver the goods when they were both firing on all cylinders.
“The Searchers” and “Rio Bravo” may be more lauded and highly regarded but to us kids at the time there was nothing more exciting than watching JR as Davy Crockett along with his plucky defenders taking on the Mexican army and going out in a blaze of glory at the end. United Artists insisted Wayne also take on the main role of Crockett, a condition for their financial participation in the project.
Frankie Avalon brought in the teenagers, the beautiful Linda Crystal beguiled the boys as well as the men in the audience whilst Wayne made it a bit of a family affair by casting his son Patrick and young daughter Aisha in the film. “The Alamo” is always going to be in a top ten listing of the best John Wayne films ever made, even though the script by James Edward Grant comes across on occasion as more of a sermon rather than an informed retelling of a major event in the history of Texas.
The original director's cut, discovered back in the early 90s, is the best version to watch if you have access to it, and the book on the making of the film, Not Thinking… Just Remembering by John Paris, is a must for all JR and Alamo fans. It’s a great pity that the eventual release prints of the movie were bereft of Hank Wooden’s death scene as Parson, his passing made quite touching by the actor’s distinctive sing-song delivery as he thanks Crockett for taking him along on his travels.
The 2004 remake with Billy Bob Thornton as Crockett isn’t too bad either but Wayne’s production is still the one against which all other movies on the subject of the battle of the Alamo will be forever measured. Thomas Mitchell won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the alcoholic Doc Boone, and the cast is rounded out with John Carrying as a cheating Southern card-sharp and Andy Devine as Buck, the stagecoach driver.
The film revolves mainly around Duke’s character, the Ringo Kid, and his determination to avenge the death of his brother at the hands of the Plummer gang. You’re not just being treated to the first sighting of the hero of the film, in this instance you’re witnessing the creation of an iconic legend of the silver screen, if that’s not too hyperbolic a statement to make.
Prior to “Stagecoach”, Wayne had languished for nearly ten years in a bunch of B movies churned out by poverty row studios such as Republic and Monogram after the misfire that was “The Big Trail” back in 1930. By the time John Ford gave Duke a break in “Stagecoach” he was in his early 30s with approximately 60 films under his belt, excluding those he appeared in during the silent era.
The first time we see Wayne / Ringo he is framed against a background of towering buttes and wild landscape, a saddle draped over his left arm as he twirls the rifle with his other hand. Despite Ringo telling Curly that he “may need me and this Winchester” after pointing out Apache war smoke on the horizon, the fact is that John Wayne’s first appearance in a major Hollywood Western since “The Big Trail” entails him being relieved of his weaponry.
The showdown sequence between Ringo and the Plummer gang at the end is a classic Wayne ‘moment’ as he faces down the three men who killed his brother, before eventually winning the heart of Dallas in the final reel. The other notable claim to fame for “Stagecoach” is that it was the first of Ford’s Westerns to be shot in and around Monument Valley, a location he would return to numerous times in the following years and one that would be forever associated with the director in the collective consciousness of fans of the genre.
The Academy Award-winning soundtrack by Richard Hagen is definitely worth tracking down too if you get the chance, as it features a great collection of original “pioneer” songs such as “Shall We Gather at the River?” and “Don’t Bury Me on the Lone Prairie”. The film may be over eighty years old, but it still retains the ability to thrill and engage audiences who weren’t even a twinkle in their parent’s eye when it was first released.
Lift, however, more than holds his own against Duke, with Garth eventually taking control of the cattle drive, whilst Wayne’s character becomes more and more embittered and ornery. Wayne offers to sire children with Joanne Dr’s character, here playing pioneer Tess Millay, like a bull mating with a Hefner.
Walter Brennan as trail cook Groot here plays a younger version of Stumpy in the later “Rio Bravo”, although he looks exactly the same in both films. Throw in John Ireland as gunfighter Cherry Valance, stampeding cattle and wagon train massacres, and you have the first real classic Western from director Howard Hawks.
Hawks gifted members of the cast and crew with a specially designed belt buckle that had the initials of the recipient embossed in the bottom left-hand corner. Keen JR observers will note that he wore the buckle in a number of his Westerns up to and including “Rio Logo”, which of course was the final film Wayne and Hawks worked on.
The movie had been a cherished project of John Ford for a long time but the only way he could get the financing off the ground was to make a Western for Republic studio head Herbert Yates. It’s very loosely based around a series of short stories written by Irish author Maurice Walsh and published in a book originally called “The Green Rushes”.
Whilst contemporary audiences might take offense at some of the more outdated aspects of the film, particularly as regards its attitude towards women and the stereotypical nature of a lot of the supporting characters, it doesn’t detract from the power of the story nor the breath-taking beauty of the Irish country-side, the exterior sequences having been shot on location in and around the village of Cong in County Mayo. Everyone in the film seems to want to exercise their tonsils at the drop of a hat, with renditions of Irish evergreens such as ‘The Wild Colonial Boy’, ‘Galway Bay’ and ‘The Humor is on Me Now’ scattered throughout the movie.
It’s not worth recounting the story of the film here as I’m assuming you’ll know the movie backwards, particularly if you’re a Ford or Wayne fan. It’s a superior example of classic filmmaking from one of the few directors to match John Ford in both cinematic style and mastery of film language, Howard Hawks.
The director has the confidence to throw you right into the middle of the action from the very beginning without bothering to indulge in any kind of exposition or explanation on behalf of the viewer, taking for granted that the audience is intelligent enough to understand and catch up with what is happening on screen for themselves. Chance (Wayne) and his compatriots Dude (Dean Martin), Stumpy (Walter Brennan) and Colorado (Ricky Nelson) are besieged by a group of outlaws wanting to get their friend out of jail before the marshal arrives, with the good guys known only by their nicknames.
That’s the whole plot right there in a nutshell, but it’s the amazing array of aforementioned characters that beguile, on top of which you get a marvelous group of supporting actors as well to round things out including John Russell, Claude Akins and the ever-dependable Ward Bond.