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Hollywood Movie Memories » john wayne

Posts Tagged ‘john wayne’

Angel and the Badman

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Angel and the Badman [Blu-ray]

Tagline – He only lived for revenge … She only lived for his love!

Starring – John Wayne (Quirt Evans), Gail Russell (Penelope ‘Penny’ Worth), Harry Carey (Wistful McClintock), Bruce Cabot (Laredo Stevens), Irene Rich (Mrs. Worth).

Released – February, 1947

Directed By – James Edward Grant

Produced By – John Wayne Productions, Patnal Productions

Distributed By – Republic Pictures

Description – Gunman Quirt Evans is injured and on the run. Exhausted, Quirt collapses on farmland owned by Quaker Thomas Worth and his family.

The family take him in and begin to nurse Quirt back to health. Badly hurt, Quirt insists that the family take him to town to send an urgent telegram. Though not sure the trip is advisable, Thomas and his daughter Penelope load Quirt into their wagon and take him to the telegraph office where he wire’s a claim to the land recorder’s office and immediately passes out.

Back at the Worth farm, the doctor called to examine Quirt recognizes the outlaw and strongly warns the family as to who they are dealing with. The warning is ignored and the compassionate Quaker family continue to help with his recovery.

Quirt regains consciousness after a few days and is brought up-to-date by Penny. She also tells him that the Worth’s are a family of Quakers who believe in non-violence. What she doesn’t realize is that the man they have helped lives a life centered around violence.

The brief period of peace at the Worth Farm is about to be shattered. Penny’s brother Johnny hurriedly rides back to the farm with the news that two men named Hondo and Laredo are in town looking for Quirt. As Quirt prepares to leave, Penny, who has fallen for Quirt, offers to go with him.

Before this can be decided, there is the sound of approaching horses. Hondo and Laredo have come for the land deed. Thinking that Quirt, who is holding a gun on the pair, has the advantage the two men offer to buy the deed. Quirt wants $20,000. The men hand him $5,000 and dare him to come get the balance due when he has totally recovered. The men then leave.

Again preparing to leave, Penny begs Quirt to stay and, as he has also fallen for her, he agrees. A short time later the Worth Farm finds itself without water. Neighboring rancher Frederick Carson has dammed the stream where it runs through his property.

Quirt visits the Carson Ranch and his reputation as a gunman gets Carson to let the water pass to the Worth Farm. In return, Mrs. Worth treats Carson for a small medical problem and the two neighbor’s begin a new friendship. For Quirt, this experience has given him a new feeling of satisfaction, one attained without violence.

Marshall Wistful McClintock visits the Worth Farm to question Quirt about a stagecoach robbery. The Worth family backs Quirt up by telling Marshal McClintock that Quirt was with them at the time of the robbery.

Quirt Evans new-found feelings of peace will soon come to an end as his problems with Hondo and Laredo can only be settled one way. And Marshall McClintock is still not convinced that Quirt has changed, and warns Quirt that he is not the right kind of man for Penny and is bound to end up at the end of a rope. McClintock does promise Quirt that when that time comes, out of respect, he will use a new rope.

NOTABLE: Angel and the Badman was the first picture produced by John Wayne and a departure from the type of Western film usually associated with him.

John Wayne would later star in two films that took their names from characters in this film. Hondo and McClintock.


The Searchers

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The Searchers [Blu-ray]

Tagline – He Had To Find Her… He Had To Find Her!

Starring – John Wayne (Ethan Edwards), Jeffrey Hunter (Martin Pawley), Vera Miles (Laurie Jorgensen), Ward Bond (Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton), Natalie Wood (Debbie Edwards).

Released – March, 1956

Directed By – John Ford

Produced By – Warner Brothers, C.V. Whitney Pictures

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – In 1868, Ethan Edwards returns from serving the Confederacy during the Civil War. He has been away for years and it is his hope to reunite with his brother Aaron and his family in West Texas.

Ethan’s background poses many questions as evidenced by the large quantity of gold he possesses, and a Mexican war medal that he gives to his niece Debbie.

Shortly after his return, his brother’s neighbor Lars Jorgensen has some cattle stolen from his ranch. It is believed that the Comanche may be responsible. Ethan joins Capt. Samuel Clayton and a group of Texas Rangers to search for the cattle.

By the time the group realizes that the theft was only a ploy by the Comanche to draw them away, it is too late. They return to find the Edwards homestead burning to the ground. Ethan’s brother Aaron, his wife Martha, and their son Ben are all dead. Debbie and her older sister Lucy have been taken by the Comanche.

A funeral for the family is held and the men again start out after the Comanche. The group find the Comanche camp and Ethan wants a direct attack. However, fearing for the girl’s safety, Capt. Clayton orders the men to sneak into the camp hoping to rescue the girl’s without too much bloodshed.

The camp is deserted and they immediately resume the chase. Once again the Comanche trick the group while almost catching them in a deadly trap. They manage to fight off the Indians and escape, but realize that they do not have enough men to successfully rescue the girl’s.

Capt. Clayton orders the posse to go back. Ethan refuses and, along with Lucy’s fiance Brad, and Debbie’s adopted brother Martin continue the search. As they approach the Comanche camp they find the brutally raped and murdered body of Lucy. Brad becomes enraged and rides recklessly into the Comanche camp where he is killed.

Ethan and Martin carefully follow the Comanche looking for an opportunity to save Debbie, but can only search until winter when they lose the trail. They return to the Jorgensen ranch where a letter awaits stating that Debbie has been taken by a Comanche chief named Scar.

Again the search begins lasting for years until a tip takes them to New Mexico and a Mexican leads them to where Scar is hiding out. They are able to contact Debbie (now a young woman) who secretly meets with Ethan and Martin. She tells them she is one of Scar’s wives and does not want to return with them.

Ethan now feels that there is no hope for Debbie as she has adopted the Comanche ways. His bias against the Indian fuels his sentiment that he would rather see Debbie dead than live as a Comanche.

Ethan now plans not to save Debbie, but to kill her.

NOTABLE: In 1989, The Searchers was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

In 2008, the American Film Institute named The Searchers the Greatest American Western of All Time.

In the scenes where Debbie Edwards is a young child she was played by Lana Wood, the younger sister of Natalie Wood.

Natalie Wood herself was quite young at the time of filming and still a student in high school. On several occasions both John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter would pick her up from school to be on the set. Needless to say, this generated a great deal of excitement at the school.

John Wayne considered the role of Ethan Edwards to be the best character he ever had the pleasure to play. His respect for the part caused him to name one of his sons Ethan.

In a biography of John Ford there is a story of Ward Bond walking around naked in his motel room with the curtains open in an effort to attract the beautiful Vera Miles. It didn’t work.

In the summer of 1956 Buddy Holly and his band saw the film and were so impressed by Ethan’s (John Wayne) repeated use of the phrase “That’ll be the day” that it inspired the title for their Rock-and-Roll classic.

Personal Note: A personal favorite and one of the greatest Western’s ever. This is a classic John Ford western, as only he could have filmed it, with beautiful color photography, and a story you’re not likely to ever forget.

They Were Expendable

Monday, May 16th, 2011

They Were Expendable [Blu-ray]

Tagline – A Tribute to Those Who Did So Much . . . With So Little!

Starring – Robert Montgomery (Lt. John Brickley), John Wayne (Lt. J. G. ‘Rusty’ Ryan), Donna Reed (Lt. Sandy Davyss), Jack Holt (General Martin), Ward Bond (‘Boats’ Mulcahey), Marshall Thompson (Ens. ‘Snake’ Gardner).

Released – December, 1945

Directed By – John Ford

Produced By –  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – An action-packed and inspiring tribute to the contributions made by PT boats during World War II. On duty in Manilla Bay, Philippines in December, 1941, Lt. ‘Rusty’ Ryan is applying for a transfer. Disappointed by his superiors refusal to consider PT boats as a viable navel craft, he hopes to be reassigned to a destroyer.

Before completing his transfer request, news arrives of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Now, more determined than ever, Lt. Ryan and Lt. John Brickley push for a combat assignment for their squadron.

At first dismissed, they are finally given a chance to prove their worth. As Japanese warplanes descend on the island in a surprise attack, the squadron is able to down three Japanese planes, but it is not nearly enough as the island’s military base is destroyed.

Their squadron of PT boats is now assigned to messenger duty until they are ordered to sink a Japanese cruiser that is shelling the island of Bataan. The mission is a success, but the increasing Japanese onslaught has sealed the fate of doomed Americans in both Bataan and Corregidor.

The squadron’s duty is now to evacuate General Douglas MacArthur, his family, and a group of VIP’s from those areas. They again succeed, but the squadron has suffered considerable casualties in both life and boats.

There’s more danger ahead that includes the PT squadron’s most difficult challenge of all. Bataan has fallen and Corregidor may be next. While the PT boats have proven their worth, the chance of any surviving the next mission does not look good.

NOTABLE: They Were Expendable was nominated for two Academy Awards – Best Effects, Special Effects, and Best Sound, Recording.

Actor Robert Montgomery was a real-life PT Boat Captain during the war and helped direct some of the sequences for the film when director John Ford took ill.

The film is loosely based on the experiences of Medal of Honor winner John Bulkeley.

John Wayne’s character is based on Lt. Robert Kelly and Donna Reed’s on U.S. Army Nurse Peggy Smith. The real Lt. Robert Kelly and Nurse Smith sued MGM over their romantic portrayal in the film. The case was settled out of court.

They Were Expendable was the first war feature to be directed by John Ford.


The High and the Mighty

Friday, January 7th, 2011

The High and the Mighty (Two-Disc Collector’s Edition)

Tagline – The 2-Year Best-Seller Sensation! The Year’s Greatest Cast!

Starring – John Wayne (Dan Roman), Claire Trevor (May Holst), Laraine Day (Lydia Rice), Robert Stack (John Sullivan), Jan Sterling (Sally McKee).

Released – July, 1954

Directed By – William A. Wellman

Produced By – Warner Brothers/Wayne-Fellows Productions

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – The experiences and interactions of both passengers and crew on a flight from Honolulu to San Francisco. Midway of the journey the plane develops engine problems that result in a severe fuel leak.

The first half of the film presents the individual backgrounds of passengers and crew; developing each as individual personalities and describing their relationships. As the plane approaches completion of the first half of the trip, the point of no return, an engine fire causes a fuel leak that soon causes terror among the passengers.

Capt. John Sullivan orders the crew to prepare to ditch the airplane into the ocean. This is a risky move almost certain to result in a total loss of lives. Veteran co-pilot and First Officer Dan Roman believes that they will have just enough fuel to complete the trip and should not ditch the plane.

Roman’s judgement is questioned as a result of his tragic past as a pilot. He had once piloted a plane that crashed, leaving him with a permanent injury and killing all the passengers including his own wife and son.

The tension in the cockpit adds stress to the already panicking passengers and comes to a head when Capt. Sullivan shows signs of fear of flying, a condition that can affect pilots who have logged too many flight hours.

Roman assumes command and, in an effort to lighten the load of the plane, orders the passengers to dump all of their baggage. The passengers are again instructed on the use of lifejackets and lifeboats as they prepare for the worst.

After recalculating their fuel supply and weather conditions, they believe they can just make it to San Francisco. That is until they realize that they have eleven additional minutes of flight time then they had originally believed.

NOTABLE: The High and the Mighty received an Oscar for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and was also nominated for Best Director (William A. Wellman), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Claire Trevor), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Jan Sterling), Best Film Editing, and Best Music, Original Song.

This motion picture served as a “template” for later disaster movies.

This was John Wayne’s first film in CinemaScope.

Actress Jan Sterling shaved her eyebrows for her role in the film, and for some reason they never grew back.

Because the film had no main character, and was more of an ensemble acting experience, many big names refused to appear in the movie. They included, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Ginger Rogers, Ida Lupino, and Dorothy McGuire.

Actor Spencer Tracy was originally cast as Dan Roman, but turned the part down after hearing how difficult director Wellman was to work with. It was also suspected that Tracy, a Democrat, did not care to work with Wayne’s production company.

The Quiet Man

Friday, April 9th, 2010

The Quiet Man (60th Anniversary Special Edition)

Tagline – Action…Excitement…Romance…Fill the Screen!

Starring – John Wayne (Sean Thornton), Maureen O’Hara (Mary Kate Danaher), Barry Fitzgerald (Michaleen Oge Flynn), Ward Bond (Father Peter Lonergan), Victor McLaglen (Squire ‘Red’ Will Danaher).

Released – August, 1952

Directed By – John Ford

Produced By – Argosy Pictures

Distributed By – Republic Pictures

Description – Irish-American Sean Thornton travels from his home in Pittsburgh to Ireland to reclaim his family’s farm. Sean had just outbid bullying landowner ‘Red’ Will Danaher who had wanted the Thornton land which is adjacent to his.

While Sean and ‘Red’ don’t mix well, ‘Red’s’ beautiful sister Mary Kate has captured Sean’s eye and his heart. Danaher refuses to sanction a wedding between the two, until tricked into believing that a rich widow wanted to marry him, but only if his sister was out of the house.

Will learns of the trick on his sisters wedding day and refuses to turn over her full dowry. While the dowry means little to Sean, it is very important to Mary Kate as it represents her identity, independence, and pride.

The lack of importance Sean places on the dowry causes Mary Kate to believe his is a coward for not standing up to her brother and she plans on forcing him to confront Will by threatening to leave him. However, there is more than meets the eye in Sean’s apparent lack of interest in the dowry… he is hiding a dark secret.

NOTABLE: The Quiet Man won two Academy Awards; Best Director (John Ford), and Best Cinematography, Color. It was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Victor McLaglen), Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, and Best Sound, Recording.

The Quiet Man represented a change of pace for the duo of John Ford and John Wayne. Previously, the pair were noted for action pictures and westerns.

The Quiet Man was the only film to receive a Best Picture nomination for Republic Pictures, known for low-budget B-movies.