Sunday, December 25, 2005

How I Spent Christmas night

I'm working this Christmas Day. Ordinarily that would stink. But AMC is right now playing "The War Wagon" with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas.

Blue Christmas?

I don't think so.

I've never seen that particular film, but with a Duke/Kirk combo I'm sure ya can't go wrong =) btw, what's your fav John Wayne movie? I like Red River, and the ones he was in with Maureen O'Hara the best...of course, The Shootist & True Grit were pretty wonderful too (oh well, sorry for rambling =)
I love The Duke's pairings with O'Hara. Classics!

For my favorite, I gotta go with "True Grit," for which Wayne won an Oscar. What a character he creates. Strong performances were also turned in by Kim Darby, Glen Campbell and Robert Duvall. Dennis Hopper has a neat little part.

My favorite scene is when Rooster is rushing Mattie to medical aid after she is bitten by the rattler. When her horse Blackie expires and The Duke picks up Mattie, the original music by Elmer Bernstein introduces a harp solo, and the camera zooms out, way out, to reveal an enormous wilderness. Mattie's life is ebbing away. This is a real crisis, even though all the bad guys are dead. That harp gets me every time!

Now look who's ramblin' ... LOL
Here you go. Get outa the way for a real rambler.

The Quiet Man. He and Mo and Ford made one damn great film. Barry Fitzgerald was phenomenal. Ward Bond and Victor McLagen, Mildred Natwick... John Ford's brother,Francis, played Dan Tobin...Wayne's teenage kids were in it as well. The list goes on.

Story goes... Republic Pictures were tightwads and wanted the movie in cheap. Hence, they limited Ford to 90 minutes, a 3 reeler I believe. Ford finished with 131 minutes and they balked. So, he edited out the 20 minute fight through the countryside and town between Sean Thornton and Squire Danaher, showing them what he called the final cut. After cutting it out, the stubborn Ford screened it for the execs; a chopped film that had no real ending. I guess that showed them how stupid they were and they acquiesced, returning control of the finished product to Ford, who brought the movie in under the 131 minutes. The end result? 129.
The best John Wayne movies are:
1) True Grit ("Fill your hands, you sonsa bitches.")

2) Rio Bravo (w Dean Martin, Rick Nelson)

3) The Searchers (John Ford classic)

4) Red River (who ever knew that big galoot could act?)

5) The Quiet Man (ditto)

6) The Man who Shot Liberty Valance (damn, what an epic)

7) The Shootist (paralleled his own life, with the cancer)

8) Rio Grande (part of Ford's "Fort Apache" trilogy, along with "She Worte a Yellow Ribbon.")

9) The Longest Day (epic)

10) Sons of Katie Elder
Oh yeah, Rio Bravo - that's definitely one of my favs too =)
Yeah. Rio Bravo is great, and a hoot too. Ricky Nelson singing twangy music in a western. It kinda reminded me of in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when George Roy Hill plugs in B.J Thomas "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head." Music that somehow fits but is completely out of time. Come to think of it, he did it in "The Sting" too. It was the '30's and the soundtrack was Scott Joplin ragtime, 40 years late.

Hawks and Hill musta been buddies or sumtin'.
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