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Happy 100th Birthday Duke ! ! ! - CinemaDave

May. 26th, 2007 04:00 pm Happy 100th Birthday Duke ! ! !

It might be the 30 Year Aniversary of the orignal "Star Wars" movie, today is John Wayne's 100th Birthday. Last night TCM presented "Big Jake" and "The Cowboys." The major studios have rereleased many films featuring John Wayne.

I find it fascinating how John Wayne film festivasl have sprung up from Florida to California. Florida resident and Cox News Service columnist SCOTT EYMAN wrote the following column about the enduring appeal of John Wayne.


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — John Wayne was born May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa, 100 years ago. Alone among his generation of movie stars, he remains an apparently permanent image of American masculinity.

You can accept his representation of manhood or you can reject it, but you can't ignore it.

Like Elvis Presley, he was a pure product of America, unthinkable in any other culture. Unlike Elvis, he never went crazy, never lost his faith in his essential rightness — in several senses of the word — never really tried to adapt to changing times. Blessedly, he never hid behind irony.

He was John Wayne, and here are 100 reasons to cherish his memory, some of them from his movies, some of them drawn from Wayne in conversation.

1. Because he loved the movie business.

2. That walk.

3. "You may not like every film, but my fans will always come back because they know I won't be mean, I won't be small, and like an old friend, I won't let them down."

4. Because nobody else started out as such a bad actor and got so good.

5. Because he embodied American masculinity at midcentury and imposed an image on our idea of masculinity's past.

6. "A man ought to do what he thinks is right" (Hondo).

7. For the gentle way he could treat a fragile woman.

8. For the rump-slapping way he could treat a strong woman.

9. Hondo.

10. Because of his work ethic — in an acting career that spanned nearly 50 years, he starred in, by actual count, 156 movies.

11. "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to others, and I require the same from them" (The Shootist).

12. Because at one time or another he worked at nearly all the crafts that go into making movies, from props to costumes to stunting to acting to producing to directing.

13. "I'm going to kill you, Matt" (Red River).

14. For the incredibly cool way he cocks his rifle by twirling it in both Stagecoach and True Grit.

15. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

16. Because all he has to do to dominate a scene is to enter it.

17. Because, in spite of his reputation for invulnerability, he eagerly took on the task of playing deeply lonely men who die.

18. Red River.

19. For his abiding good taste in directors: John Ford, Howard Hawks, William Wellman, Henry Hathaway.

20. For the way a supposedly limited personality actor could match anything gifted younger actors like Montgomery Clift threw at him.

21. "Lest we forget" (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon).

22. Because when he worked with Maureen O'Hara they created believable domestic relationships that were about sex as well as love.

23. Because he possessed a stubbornness that was practically biblical: 100 cigarettes a day for decades, and after he lost a lung to cancer he promptly began smoking small cigars.

24. Because he had a sense of humor about the construct known as "John Wayne."

25. Rio Grande.

26. Because he was the first one on the set in the morning and the last one to leave.

27. For the implacable way he walks through a herd of cattle at the end of Red River.

28. "I wouldn't do that if I was you" (Hondo).

29. The Long Voyage Home.

30. Because he would play anything except weak.

31. Because he created Ethan Edwards, one of the darkest characters in the literature of the movies

32. Because he was a huge man who moved like a dancer.

33. Because it didn't make any difference whether the movie was great, good or terrible, it was still John Wayne.

34. The voice.

35. "That'll be the day" (The Searchers).

36. Island in the Sky.

37. Because he could hold his liquor.

38. Because he wore a bunny costume on Laugh-In.

39. For the look on his face when Kim Darby asks him to be buried next to her in True Grit.

40. Because when he said something, he meant it.

41. They Were Expendable.

42. "Republic . . . I like the sound of the word" (The Alamo).

43. The Quiet Man.

44. Because he was completely different for different directors. For Ford, he was a lonely romantic; for Hawks, he was a low-key professional.

45. Because all his wives were Latinas.

46. For being among the first actors to take responsibility for his own career by starting his own production company after World War II.

47. For producing Seven Men From Now, a great Western, and the second-best movie (after Ride the High Country) Randolph Scott ever made.

48. "I have faith in a supreme being. I don't believe in organized religion because there are too many of them and I just don't think God could be so disorganized as to have all that many churches claiming his authority."

49. Fort Apache.

50. For providing the matrix for generations of Marines in The Sands of Iwo Jima.

51. Because he appeared in the Motion Picture Herald's Top Ten Box Office Stars every year from 1949 to 1973.

52. Because he was never afraid to play against another dominating leading man: Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Lee Marvin, etc.

53. Because he survived playing Genghis Khan in The Conqueror.

54. Because he didn't mind playing a one-eyed old fat man.

55. Because of the reason he became an actor: "For $75 a week, you could be a star. I jumped."

56. "Westerns are closer to art than anything else in the motion-picture business."

57. Because he never gave a damn about critics.

58. Because on-screen he always wanted a woman who was his full equal.

59. Because his characters were always willing to endure the consequences of their actions.

60. For having the integrity to put his money where his political mouth was and produce, direct and star in The Alamo and The Green Berets.

61. For the look on his face when Dean Martin fishes for a coin in a spittoon in Rio Bravo.

62. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

63. For the maturity and grace of his love affair with Patricia Neal in In Harm's Way.

64. Because he played a very good game of chess.

65. Because he was loyal.

66. "You're awful pretty when you're angry" (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance).

67. For the way he stops wearing his toupee in the second half of The Wings of Eagles and the performance is so intense that nobody ever notices.

68. Three Godfathers.

69. "Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!" (True Grit).

70. Because he never had a sense of entitlement toward his career.

71. Because until middle age, he would do most of his stunts himself.

72. Because he had a superb collection of Navajo kachina dolls, as well as of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell sculptures.

73. "I know how to get my way. I don't argue; I become adamant."

74. Because he loved dogs, and not the ones you'd think. He had springer spaniels and dachshunds.

75. Because he could suggest a terrible sorrow beneath a heroic exterior.

76. Because the dog in Hondo was actually played by Lassie, and when he won the dog in a card game from trainer Rudd Weatherwax, he gave him back.

77. Because for 30 years, the BBC ran a John Wayne movie on Christmas Day.

78. "I've been in more bad pictures than just about anybody in the business."

79. "Give the cameraman a chance to photograph something besides walls and doors and tea tables. Don't let your story expire for lack of air."

80. "I stopped getting the girl about 10 years ago. Which is just as well, because I'd forgotten what I wanted her for."

81. Because his favorite hobby was deep-sea fishing.

82. "I never had a (expletive) artistic problem in my life, never, and I've worked with the best of them."

83. "Come up and see a fat old man sometime!" (True Grit).

84. Because his favorite drink was tequila.

85. "All I do is sell sincerity, and I've been selling the hell out of that since I started."

86. For the graceful way he confronted the disease that was already taking his life in The Shootist.

87. Because when he was dying of cancer, in excruciating pain, he never complained.

88. Because the more a director challenged him, the better he got.

89. Because the words "John Wayne" imply a point of view encapsulating not just movies but the world.

90. Because he owned all 20 volumes of Edward Curtis' The North American Indian.

91. "Maureen O'Hara is the female equivalent of me. She could rough me up, and I could rough her up."

92. Rio Bravo.

93. "I made Rio Bravo because I didn't like High Noon. I didn't think a good town marshal was going to run around town like a chicken with his head cut off asking everyone to help."

94. "All I ever cared about was that the public liked my pictures."

95. "For years I've played the kind of man I'd like to have been."

96. "As sure as the turnin' of the earth" (The Searchers).

97. "The hardest thing to do in a scene is nothing. The trick is making every nuance minimal. One look that works is better than 20 lines of dialogue."

98. Because his greatest achievement was creating John Wayne.

99. For the way he lifts Natalie Wood above his head in The Searchers, then quickly brings her down to cradle her like a child.

100. For his kindness and generosity to a young writer 35 years ago.


And, as he wanted to be remembered....

"Feo, Fuerte y Formal"

10 comments - Leave a commentPrevious Entry Share Next Entry


Date:May 27th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC)

100 Reasons To Cherish The Duke

I had a lot of fun exploring the 100 reasons and the links.

I have always been intrigued by John Wayne's performance in "The Long Voyage Home". He used a Swedish accent in his role. In my opnion he did not quite get the accent, but he came a lot closer than I expected before I saw the film for the first time, and his overall performance strikes me as impressive if I make a
Date:May 27th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)

Re: 100 Reasons To Cherish The Duke

Ole Olson does grow on you and his fate is different in film than it is in the stage show.
Date:May 27th, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)

100 Reasons To Cherish The Duke

I had a lot of fun exploring the 100 reasons and the links.

I have always been intrigued by John Wayne's performance in "The Long Voyage Home". He used a Swedish accent in his role. In my opinion he did not quite get the accent, but he came a lot closer than I expected before I saw the film for the first time. His overall performance strikes me as impressive if I make a slight effort to set the accent aside. I believe this film was made early in his big stardom days and it is interesting to see him experimenting in what for me, initially, seemed like an unlikely part.

A movie accent can be a strange animal. Some English language films have had actors depicting Hitler speaking English with a convincing heavy German accent, but for some reason the performances did not work for me, while other English speaking movie Hitlers without German accents came across much more powerfully.

I saw something not long ago about a scene John Wayne did with Maureen O'Hara in "The Quiet Man". Wayne raised his hand in the scene to deflect a heavy slap from Maureen that accidentally broke her wrist. Maureen was a tall and strong athletic lady but Wayne was much larger and heavier so the laws of physics prevailed.

North Star
Date:May 27th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC)

Re: 100 Reasons To Cherish The Duke

Thanks for the visit North Star!

I recently read John Wayne's interview in "Playboy" and he talks about "The Long Voyage Home" being studied in film school for cinematographers.

Having just seen "Rio Bravo" tonight and "The Searchers" last week, I notice how many times the Duke would use his back to accent a scene. I beleive John Ford hired his prodigy for "The Long Voyage Home" because of his physical abilities and took a gamble on the accent.
Date:May 27th, 2007 08:39 am (UTC)

Re: 100 Reasons To Cherish The Duke

I have not seen "The Long Voyage Home" for a few years now but I do recall John Wayne's effective back to the camera approach. If Wayne's Swedish accent did not quite hit the mark for some movie buffs John Ford's gamble with the rest of Wayne's abilities overcame this slight deficiency. Some years later Sidney Poitier also used the back to the camera technique successfully in a number of his films.

I think cinematographer Greg Toland of "Citizen Kane" fame worked with camera genius John Ford on "The Long Voyage Home" to achieve its startling visual artistry, that rightly caught the attention of the film schools.

North Star
Date:June 1st, 2007 01:37 am (UTC)

Duke Loved Edward S. Curtis Photos

Its great to know that he had all 20 volumes of The North American Indian, by Edward S. Curtis. This tells me much much more about the man than his movie persona.

I found a fantastic film about Curtis, THE INDIAN PICTURE OPERA. Its a dvd you can search out on Amazon. It uses a 1911 Curtis lecture and slide show to tell his tales of the Indians of America's west. Perhaps it was part of the romantic west that Wayne lived in (as a character). Whatever the case, the film is worth a look.


Date:June 1st, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)

Re: Duke Loved Edward S. Curtis Photos

Thanks for the tip Jay. I will have to research that. If I find anything, I will let you know.
Date:June 1st, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)

Re: Duke Loved Edward S. Curtis Photos

I'll look around online for the Edward S. Curtis photos information.

I read somewhere that as a very young man when John Wayne was working as a prop man for John Ford, Wayne met Wyatt Earp who was a friend of John Ford on the set of a Ford film. Wayne is supposed to have told actor Hugh O'Brian that he partly based some of his Western roles on Wyatt Earp's personality.

I think Wyatt Earp died in his 80's around 1929 or so. The Duke would have been in his early 20's at that time so I think it's possible for him to have really met Earp.
Date:June 1st, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Duke Loved Edward S. Curtis Photos

Bruce Willis played Tom Mix and James Garner played Wyatt Earp (for the second time) in Blake Edwards's "Sunset," a Toby Peters like mystery.

I read on IMDB that Tom Mix had a dislike of John Wayne, I never knew what reasons. Perhaps the young whippersnapper was reminding the old lion that it was time to ride into the sunset.
Date:June 1st, 2007 10:05 pm (UTC)

Re: Duke Loved Edward S. Curtis Photos

"Sunset" with the James Garner-Bruce Willis team was not bad but I was hoping for more from it. The performances were good but they could have used better material.

According to some accounts Tom Mix had told young John Wayne and his college football teammates that Mix had some movie work lined up for them. When they showed up for the work none was available and Wayne never forgave Mix.

Until a few years ago I did not learn that John Wayne had less than one lung remaining after his surgery in the 1960's. One lung was completely removed, and a portion of his other lung was removed. I think some ribs were also removed.

It's amazing after this kind of lung surgery that Wayne in his 60's and 70's was still able to ride horses in high altitude film locations and even do some of his own stunts. Stunt men of course did many of the riskier stunts for Wayne as he got older. But I recall seeing a clip of Wayne rehearsing a fall he did in the saloon for his death scene in "The Shootist". After being shot he practiced falling down and getting up again, two or three times in quick succession. I did not detect any camera cuts or edits and it was close enough to the camera to look like it was really Wayne and not a double. Wayne was nearly 70 years old at the time, with various health issues common for men his age, minus some important organs, and he still had many of the moves from his youthful stuntman days.