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.
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"