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John Wayne’s ‘The Cowboys’ rides into Las Vegas – My Blog

It shocked her, to see her father take a bullet on the big screen.And in the back, no less.

Marisa Wayne was around 10 years old when she first watched “The Cowboys,” that seminal, coming-of-age Western starring her father, the cowboy-of-all-cowboys, John Wayne.Wayne’s daughter watched the film with her dad by her side — and yet still it rattled her.“I mean, it was just so traumatic,” she recalled. “I’m sitting in the same room with my dad next to me, and I know he’s an actor, but I just was a mess.”
Her disbelief was understandable: John Wayne was seldom ever shot and killed in his movies, all 169 of them.He was a paragon of toughness, Kevlar personified
But “The Cowboys” was different: Filmed when its leading man was in his mid-60s, it follows Wayne-portrayed rancher Wil Anderson as he recruits a gang of schoolboys to help him on a cattle drive after his usual ranch hands abandon him to try their luck in the gold rush.While still exuding the gruff gravitas of a man seemingly fashioned from rawhide and barbed wire as much as flesh and bone, Wayne also displays a fatherly side in “The Cowboys.”Tender, he’s not.Caring, he is, and it manifests itself in one of Wayne’s most distinctly human roles — as such, “The Cowboys” lives on as a fan favorite of Wayne’s alongside genre-defining classics such as “The Searchers,” “Stagecoach” and “True Grit.”Released in 1972, “The Cowboys” turned 50 this year.

Marisa Wayne and some of the film’s cast members are celebrating the occasion by appearing at The Cowboy Channel’s Cowboy Christmas event at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the National Finals Rodeo festivities. In addition to a display of rare memorabilia from “The Cowboys,” including The Duke’s costume from the film, there will be daily signings from numerous actors in the movie from noon-2 p.m. Fans can meet the cast members at the Dawg House Saloon inside Resorts World from 10-11 a.m. daily.She is also promoting a pair of new books about her father: “DUKE: The Official John Wayne Movie Book” and “John Wayne: The Official Cocktail Book.”For his daughter — who remembers being on set with her dad as a kid alongside Ron Howard, Jimmy Stewart and Lauren Bacall for “The Shootist” and Katherine Hepburn for “Rooster Cogburn,” to name but a few — “The Cowboys” still stands out in her father’s expansive filmography because that’s who she sees in the film: not Wil Anderson, not cinema’s most famous cowboy, but her father.“I see him in a lot of the characters, in a lot of the films,” she said, “but ‘The Cowboys’ is really special, because he has all those young boys that he’s responsible for.“He’s just very protective,” she continued, “But it’s also, ‘You’ve got to grow up. And grow up right.’”From cowboys to menHe was a teenager acting in his first film. And yet four days into “The Cowboys” shoot, Robert Carradine summoned the nerve to give John Wayne some advice on how his character Slim Honeycutt should be addressed, deviating from the script a bit.Whoops!“He didn’t respond well,” Carradine said with a chuckle. “He chewed me out to the magnitude of reducing me to tears. It didn’t go well at all.“I’m sure in his mind he’s probably going, ‘What in the hell is this 17-year-old kid who’s never been in a movie doing, telling me how he thinks I should do my line?” he continued. “I mean, he must have been completely flabbergasted.”And yet, the Duke ended up doing what Carradine suggested, tweaking the dialogue a tad.This was the kind of man he was on camera and off: steely and no-nonsense, but fair.As Carradine relates, for the many of the 11 young men who composed “The Cowboys” in the film, the shoot was a trial by fire.About half of them were actual cowboys; the rest were actors who had to learn how to handle a horse.“The riding component of the film was a major undertaking,” Carradine explained of the training required for the movie. “It was two-and-a-half months every day — seven days a week — four hours on school days, eight hours on Saturday and five hours on Sunday.
“At the end of two-and-a-half months, I’m proud to say you couldn’t really tell the difference between the cast that were real cowboys and the cast that were actors,” he added. “I mean, we could sit a horse.”All these years later, Carradine still takes clear pride in the authenticity the crew brought to the movie as a result.“That’s one of the things that kind of bothers me about current Westerns: These actors that don’t know how to ride, and it really shows,” Carradine said. “It hurts the production of the film, because you can see that they’re not really horsemen — when they’re playing horsemen.”For four-and-a-half months in the spring and summer of 1971, Carradine and company would film in New Mexico, Colorado and Los Angeles, working with one of Hollwood’s biggest stars — literally and figuratively.“Once we got on location and we were in the presence of Mr. Wayne,” Carradine recalled, “his charisma, his physical presence, it was pretty overwhelming.”A controversial classicIt’s one of the more iconic scenes in a film full of them, a young man locking horns with an old cuss.On his first major motion picture shoot, child actor Sean Kelly was playing “Stuttering” Bob Wilson, a precocious kid with a speech impediment.Early in the film, Wilson stands up to Anderson after he tells him to either stop stuttering or hit the bricks, unleashing a slew of profanities on the boulder-sized cowboy.“I was 4’11,” ” Kelly recalled. “John Wayne was 6’4” and and literally 3-feet-wide from shoulder-to-shoulder. The man was a presence — a really big guy.“The whole thing is stand your ground,” he continued. “I was a kid who was basically talking to a father figure or someone who was really coming down on me, trying to defend my position. There is that quality — I think it’s a relatability — everybody can feel that in their spirit.”This relatability lies at the heart of the film’s staying power.“I think it has that timelessness because everyone identifies with some part of these characters,” Kelly said, “whether it’s my character standing up to Duke Wayne and swearing at him or anybody else’s character — they all have these moments where they have to be real, they have to be present.”With its “Bonanza” meets “Bad News Bears” appeal, “The Cowboys” was a big hit upon its release in January 1972, earning $19 million at the box office, which translates to nearly $140 million in today’s dollars.Yet “The Cowboys” wasn’t without controversy, with some detractors taking issue with John Wayne’s tough love approach — i.e. yelling at a kid to remedy a stammer — and the movie’s violent climax, where Anderson’s young charges kill the rustlers who killed him.“Some of the critics took exception to the fact that we wiped out all those guys,” Carradine remembered.Still, “The Cowboys” feels true to its era, not so much glorifying violence as acknowledging the realities of the time in which it’s set.In a pivotal scene, Anderson is confronted by ex-con Asa Watts, aka Long Hair, played by Bruce Dern, who wants Anderson to hire him and his fresh-out-of-jail buddies for the cattle drive.Anderson refuses.“You’re a hard man,” Watts tells him with eyes radiating murder.Anderson wastes little time firing back, mouth in place of six-shooter.“It’s a hard life.”

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John Wayne’s Son Couldn’t Watch 1 of His Dad’s Movies After His Death – My Blog

John Wayne is a legendary actor who successfully personifies Western movies. He has a very loyal fan base, but some of his critics claim that he plays the same character in every movie. However, Wayne delivered several nuanced performances over the course of his career. His son, Patrick, had difficulty watching one specific movie after his father’s death.

John Wayne starred in over 160 full-length movies
Wayne entered the entertainment industry working as an extra, prop man, and a stuntman. He primarily worked for Fox Film Corporation, but ultimately got his first shot with Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail. However, the film was a box office failure. Fortunately, Wayne’s huge success at the movies would later come to be.
Wayne ultimately starred in popular Western and war movies over the course of the 1940s onward. Some of his most notable performances include titles such as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, True Grit, and Sands of Iwo Jima. All together, Wayne starred in over 160 full-length movies over the course of his extensive career.

John Wayne’s son, Patrick, couldn’t watch ‘The Shootist’ after his dad’s death

Jeremy Roberts interviewed Patrick via Medium to talk about what it was like growing up in the Wayne family. He talked about some personal stories involving his father, as well as the collection of Wayne movies. The interviewer asked him if he had any difficulty revisiting any of his dad’s movies after his death.
“I’d have to say no to that question with the exception of one film, The Shootist,” Patrick said. “I couldn’t watch that Western as it was so close to reality. He played an old gunfighter who was an anachronism dying of cancer.”
Wayne plays J.B. Books in The Shootist, who is an aging gunfighter diagnosed with cancer. He heads into Nevada at the turn of the 20th century. Books rents a room from a widowed woman named Bond Rogers (Lauren Becall) and her son, Gillom (Ron Howard). When people pursue Books with questionable motives, he decides that he isn’t going to die a silent death.
Patrick continued: “Too many of the elements in there were just too close to what actually happened to him in his real life, so that film took me about 10 years to watch again [of course I saw it when it was originally released in 1976].”
Patrick Wayne thinks ‘The Shootist’ is his dad’s ‘finest performance’

Wayne earned Oscar nominations for his movies Sands of Iwo Jima and The Alamo. However, he wouldn’t take home the gold statue until his work on True Grit. Patrick believes that the iconic film isn’t quite his father’s best work. He gives that title to Wayne’s work in The Shootist, which he didn’t even earn an Oscar nomination for.
Patrick said, “When I did finally watch it for the second time, I have to say that it’s probably his finest performance as a pure actor, using all his skills and being more than just a cardboard cutout, but more of a real human being — a vulnerable human being — and I think he pulled it off really well.”

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‘It Was a Pretty Miserable Experience’ – My Blog

John Wayne has worked in a wide variety of filming locations over the course of his career. However, they didn’t all provide comfortable conditions for the cast and crew. Wayne’s son, Patrick, once noted the “worst” film location of them all, calling one of his dad’s filming locations a “pretty miserable experience.” Nevertheless, he still enjoyed making movies with his father.

John Wayne’s son, Patrick, worked with his dad on film locations
'The Green Berets' filming location John Wayne pulling a wagon along

Patrick followed in his father’s acting footsteps. His first roles included uncredited roles at Wayne’s filming locations, which gained him momentum moving forward into bigger roles. Some of these include Rio Grande, The Searchers, The Alamo, and The Quiet Man. However, he later moved more into managing the John Wayne Cancer Institute, which pushes to advance research in the fight against cancer.

Patrick has a wide array of stories from the Wayne filming locations. His father remains one of the most iconic Western actors of all time. Patrick looked up to his dad, but they didn’t always have the best time on the set of the more grueling filming location.
‘The Green Berets’ was the ‘worst’ John Wayne film location for his son, Patrick

Jeremy Roberts interviewed Patrick for Medium about some of the iconic Wayne filming locations. He explained that there was one set, in particular, that he just couldn’t stand.
“That would have to be The Green Berets,” Patrick said. “We were on location at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, which is located about 125 miles west of Atlanta. But it was nothing like Atlanta.”
Patrick continued: “Oh my God, it was pretty dreary. That’s fine but it started raining to the point of where we couldn’t even work. Boy, there was nothing to do except sit there and wait ’til it stopped raining. It was a pretty miserable experience from the weather aspect at that time [filming commenced on August 9, 1967]. It was past the worst part of the summer, so the humidity wasn’t that bad.”
Wayne’s difficult conditions on the Green Berets filming location makes sense for the movie’s story. It follows Col. Mike Kirby (Wayne), who selects two teams of Green Berets for a specific mission in South Vietnam. They must build and run a camp that the enemy seeks to capture, but that isn’t all. They must also kidnap a North Vietnamese General behind enemy lines.
‘The Green Berets’ is a controversial war movie

The Green Berets succeeded at the box office, but critics found the film incredibly controversial. They slammed the film for being heavy-handed and predictable. However, its war politics particularly upset a lot of critics. Nevertheless, The Green Berets easily sold tickets to audiences, making it a financial success.
Wayne went through some rough conditions on the filming location, but it proved to be worth his time. Despite its politics, the film made the legendary actor a large sum of money and remains a well-known war picture. It was also an opportunity for Patrick to work with his father on another film.

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Ann-Margret’s precious memories of ‘teddy bear’ Duke on The Train Robbers – My Blog

JOHN WAYNE was “slightly infirm” on The Train Robbers but tenaciously pushed through filming despite two fractured ribs, balance issues and a daily lie down, according to co-star Rod Taylor. Ann-Margret remembers Duke appearing strong despite his declining health and admitted the Western star “gave me the confidence I lacked”.

By the 1970s, John Wayne was coming towards the end of his career as a Hollywood star. In 1973, aged 65-years-old, he had been living with one lung for the best part of 10 years and was suffering from emphysema on the remaining one. That year he released two Westerns which aren’t remembered as his best but saw the ageing icon carry on with much determination. One of the films was The Train Robbers, which co-starred Ann-Margret and Rod Taylor.
The Train Robbers saw Ann-Margret’s feisty widow work alongside three cowboys in recovering a cage of gold that was stolen by her late husband.
Before shooting started, Wayne had fractured two of his ribs, which was so painful he struggled to sleep at night.

This meant that his action scenes had to be scaled down and co-star Taylor remembered Duke being “slightly” infirm during the shoot.
The Time Machine star said the Western legend had trouble with his balance and understandably needed afternoon naps.
train robbers cast

Despite his health problems on the movie, Wayne refused to delay filming and strived forwards.
Ann-Margret had fond memories of her co-star’s tenacity, recalling: “Duke was still a strong, rugged, formidable man, larger-than-life and incredibly personal. He was a big teddy bear, and we got along famously. Duke gave me the confidence I lacked.”
The Viva Las Vegas star appreciated this given that 1972 had been a very difficult time in her life, having been seriously injured when performing in her Lake Tahoe show.
john and ann
Ann-Margret felt John Wayne gave her the confidence boost she needed (Image: GETTY)
train robbers poster
The Train Robbers poster (Image: GETTY)
In terms of the confidence boost she needed, the actress had to overcome her fear of horses as there was much riding needed for her character. It was here that Wayne gave her the support she needed.
The Train Robbers had average reviews and later Quentin Tarantino would comment the film was “so light it’s barely a movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s not amusing.”
Wayne also released Cahill: US Marshall in 1973, which saw a significantly weakened Wayne having to use a stepladder to climb onto a horse.
That year also marked the death of his most famous collaborator, the director John Ford.
Upon news of the filmmakers’ death that August, Wayne told journalists: “I’m pretty much living on borrowed time.”
Duke would go on to make a couple of better-reviewed Westerns in True Grit sequel Rooster Cogburn opposite Katherine Hepburn and The Shootist.
The latter film was his final one and saw him playing a terminally ill gunfighter.
The Hollywood icon himself died of cancer just a couple of years later in 1979.

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