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Motion pictures have long been a safe haven for men of few words, most particularly westerns Gary Cooper said next to nothing in High Noon – My Blog

Hard-working, reliable and charismatic, Bruce Willis is one of the highest-paid actors in motion picture history. But in his new movie 16 Blocks, Willis may have now become the highest paid actor, on a dollars-per-word basis, ever. Willis practically says nothing in this engaging, if predictable, tale of a dirty cop who belatedly decides to clean up his act. Occasionally he makes a phone call; occasionally he issues a threat; occasionally he mutters a few words about man’s inhumanity to man. But mostly he just broods. Since Willis routinely commands $20m a picture, his performance in 16 Blocks is the biggest payday anyone has earned for not saying anything since Marlee Matlin won a 1987 Academy Award for her debut as a mute in Children Of A Lesser God.

Willis’s taciturnity, from the spectator’s point of view, is somewhat offputting because Mos Def, his garrulous co-star, just will not shut up. Ceaselessly running his mouth about the upscale bakery he wishes to open in Portland, Oregon, Def has about 40 times as many lines as Willis, all delivered in an unbearably grating lisp. In some ways 16 Blocks resembles buddy movies like Midnight Run and Trains, Planes And Automobiles, both of which pair a maddening motor-mouth with a strong, silent type who only speaks when he is spoken to. But it has been years since I have seen a film in which a major star not only doesn’t demand all the best lines, but doesn’t seem to demand any lines at all. It suggests that Willis was either deliberately going for the record for most dollars per word, or had just suffered through a brutal root canal.
n discussing the history of well-remunerated male terseness, it is essential to distinguish between films in which movie stars don’t say much because they’re not in the film very long, and those where:
Actors don’t say a whole lot because they don’t appear to have a whole lot to say (Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain).

Actors are being deliberately uncommunicative because stoicism goes with the territory (Gary Cooper in High Noon).
Actors keep a lid on it because of severe cultural taboos against loquaciousness (Max Von Sydow in The Seventh Seal).
Actors clam up because their English needs work (Jet Li in Unleashed, Cradle 2 The Grave, or anything).
Actors bite their tongue because they are pouting, insane, or both (Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now).
Famous instances of films where actors received a staggering level of reimbursement for very little verbalising include Jaws IV, where Michael Caine, seemingly intent on buying a house in Switzerland, briefly appears, makes a few supercilious remarks, and then wanders off, and Superman, where Marlon Brando was paid the then-princely sum of $1.5m to babble a few words about the decline and fall of the Kryptonian Empire during perhaps three minutes of on-camera work. A famous anecdote that is probably not true but ought to be has the famously churlish superstar turning up on the set and behaving with uncharacteristic courtesy to the men, and delivering bouquets of flowers to the women. Asked by the press whether this startling gallantry was an indication that he had turned over a new leaf, Brando replied: “No, but at these rates, the least I can do is be civil.”
Motion pictures have long been a safe haven for men of few words, most particularly westerns. Gary Cooper said next to nothing in High Noon, and even less in The Garden Of Evil, one of the great overlooked horse operas. The peerless character actor Ben Johnson made scores of films during his lengthy career and only said about 137 words in any of them. Neither Steve McQueen nor Yul Brynner had a whole lot to say in The Magnificent Seven, but they were absolute blabberpusses compared to the laconic Charles Bronson and the zip-lipped James Coburn. Bronson enjoyed a supplementary career in France, where in films such as Rider On The Rain he was deliberately given very few lines because he couldn’t actually speak French, and had to learn his lines phonetically. And no one was ever more deliberately uncommunicative than Bronson’s harmonica-playing man of mystery in Sergio Leone’s immortal Once Upon A Time In The West.
It is not necessary for an actor to say much in a motion picture if he has a truly dominating personality, plays a terrifying monster, or is Austrian. Jack Palance, the most famous gunslinger of them all in Shane, keeps a tight lid on things, only occasionally opening his pie-hole to snarl something totally uncalled-for. Boris Karloff, as Frankenstein, mostly grunted his way through a long series of horror movies. Burt Lancaster in Valdez Is Coming plays things maddeningly close to the vest, letting his twinkling eyes and blazing guns do his talking for him. Getting Gene Hackman to say anything in Francis Ford Coppola’s brilliant The Conversation was like pulling teeth. And Arnold Schwarzenegger certainly got the job done with minimal word play in Terminator, as did Sylvester Stallone in the Rambo series.
But ne
ver in the course of human events have more people paid more money to watch one actor say so few words in so many movies than has been the case with Clint Eastwood. Anything but a gasbag in the seminal classics A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, Eastwood brought the art of brooding reticence to astounding new heights in such films as The Outlaw Josie Wales, High Plains Drifter, Cogan’s Bluff, Hang ‘Em High and Pale Rider.
Eastwood’s famous disinclination to vocalise made perfect sense in the context of these movies. But by casting himself as a tight-lipped DJ in Play Misty For Me – his maiden voyage as a director – Eastwood was literally throwing down the gauntlet, saying: “I don’t care if DJs do get paid to run their mouths all night. I’m not that kind of DJ.”
In recent times, the one actor who has delivered the most memorable performance without resorting to much in the way of verbiage is James Caviezel in The Passion Of The Christ. Partially because the film’s dialogue is in Aramaic, motivating the actor to keep the verbal lifting to an absolute minimum, but mostly because Christ probably didn’t have a whole lot to say other than “Ouf!” Or “Hey! Didn’t anyone ever tell you that hurts?” during his real-life Passion, the actor mostly grunts or gasps his way through Mel Gibson’s controversial film. Without question, Caviezel now holds the record for most-dollars-per-Aramaic-word in motion picture history, unlikely to be eclipsed any time soon.
It is one of the ironies of motion picture history that a genre that started out with silent films has now come full circle, with talkies where the protagonist doesn’t talk. It remains to be seen whether Willis’s studied reticence in 16 Blocks is an aberration, or whether it will now become a cornerstone of his acting style. Whatever, here’s hoping his example encourages others to do likewise. If I never had to hear Orlando Bloom or Leonardo DiCaprio say another word, I could live with that.

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The reason why John Wayne is labeled ‘Draft Dodger’ in Wor ւ ԁ War II . – My Blog

When actor John Wayne visited American soldiers in Vietnam in the summer of 1966, he was warmly welcomed. As he spoke to groups and individuals, he was presented gifts and letters from American and South Vietnamese troops alike. This was not the case during his USO tours in 1942 and ’43.According to author Garry Wills’ 1998 book, “John Wayne’ America: the Politics of Celebrity,” the actor received a chorus of boos when he walked onto the USO stages in Australia and the Pacific Islands. Those audiences were filled with combat veterans. Wayne, in his mid-30s, was not one of them.

Around the time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Wayne was not the big-name actor we remember him being today. He was fresh off the box-office success of the 1939 film “Stagecoach.”Being drafted or enlisting was going to have a serious impact on his rising star. Depending on how long the ԝаr lasted, Wayne reportedly worried he might be too old to be a leading man when he came home.

Other actors, both well-established and rising in fame, rushed off to do their part. Clark Gable joined the Army Air Forces and, despite the studios’ efforts to get him into a motion picture unit, served as an aerial ɡսոոеr over Europe. Jimmy Stewart was initially ineligible for the draft, given his low weight, but like some amazing version of Captain America, he drank beer until he qualified.In his 2014 book, “American Titan: Searching for John Wayne,” author Marc Eliot alleges Wayne was having an affair with actress Marlene Dietrich. He says the possibility of losing this relationship was the real reason Wayne didn’t want to go to ԝаr.

But even Dietrich would do her part, smuggling Jewish people out of Europe, entertaining troops on the front lines (she crossed into Germany alongside Gen. George S. Patton) and maybe even being an operative for the Office of Strategic Services.Wayne never enlisted and even filed for a 3-A draft deferment, which meant that if the sole provider for a family of four were drafted, it would cause his family undue hardship. The closest he would ever come to Worւԁ Wаr II service would be portraying the actions of others on the silver screen.

With his leading man competition fighting the ԝаr and out of the way, Wayne became Hollywood’s top leading man. During the ԝаr, Wayne starred in a number of western films as well as Worւԁ Wаr II movies, including 1942’s “Flying Tigers” and 1944’s “The Fighting Seabees.” According to Eliot, Wayne told friends the best thing he could do for the ԝаr was make movies to support the troops. Eventually, the government agreed.

At one point during the ԝаr, the need for more men in uniform caused the U.S. military brass to change Wayne’s draft status to 1-A, fit for duty. But Hollywood studios intervened on his behalf, arguing that the actor’s star power was a boon for ԝаrtime propaganda and the morale of the troops. He was given a special 2-A status, which back then meant he was deferred in “support of national interest.”The decision not to serve or to avoid it entirely (depending on how you look at the actor) haunted Wayne for the rest of his life. His third wife, Pilar Wayne, says he became a “super-patriot for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying at home.”

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John Wayne Wanted to Make His Home Alarm a Hilarious Tape Recording of His Voice: ‘I See You, You Son of a B****’

John Wayne Wanted to Make His Home Alarm a Hilarious Tape Recording of His Voice: ‘I See You, You Son of a B****’

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The Man, the Problem, and His Manliest Movies – My Blog

The problematic John Wayne became a fierce force in American cinema as the designated leading man in a series of big budget films. In an era full of trauma and sadness, Wayne as an American symbol, represents a significant contribution to the world during the time of uncertainty and panic.

As his career elevated in the midst of WWII, he rose through the ranks as the single most popular actor in Hollywood’s history. The reason that Wayne had become increasingly famous was associated with his no-nonsense characters that male viewers related to and women gravitated towards prior to the cultural changes of the 1960s. He brought to light this persona of elevated masculinity that was culturally striking to watch. From Academy Awards to a rich career that very few have been able to achieve, the praise associated with his on-screen portrayals will live on through generations.
In a successful career spanning over 50 years and 169 movies, Wayne has had his highs, in addition to his fair share of criticism, which is ultimately impossible to ignore. During a 1971 Playboy Magazine interview, Wayne made comments speaking negatively against the African-American community and making a series of homophobic slurs, while directly addressing his belief in white supremacy. Some have marked this up to be a time sensitive issue, with societal problems and norms being completely different from what it is now (or is it?). The truth is, this stuff was said, and it hasn’t gone over well since the interview resurfaced, with John Wayne’s legacy denounced by many.
Taking a moment to separate the man from his artistry is quite a difficult task, and directly addressing the controversies of his past comments creates difficult decisions that can often lead to either supporting art and ignoring prejudice, or completely erasing history. What people can all agree on is that his work ultimately changed the scope of Hollywood cinema, and how masculinity and machismo are portrayed through verbal and physical modes of storytelling. Thus, instead of calling these films his ‘best performances,’ perhaps we should consider these movies to have the most macho roles from John Wayne, a problematic actor who presents culture with a fascinating way to dissect American masculinity.

6 The Barbarian and the Geisha

The Barbarian and the Geisha is based on the true story of Townsend Harris, an American diplomat who was sent to the country of Japan in order to serve as a U.S. consul member. Wayne plays Harris as he is met by residents in the small village of Shimoda who rejects his diplomatic status, prompting a cultural split in Japan’s mistrust in the influence of the west. Through all the social and political clashes, Harris meets a 17-year-old geisha by the name of Okichi, falling in love with her while she aides him in softening the division. Wayne was 51 at the time.
5 Tycoon

Hired by a South American tycoon Frederick Alexander (Cedric Hardwicke) to construct a tunnel through the Andes Mountains, American engineer Johnny Munroe (John Wayne) falls in love with Alexander’s daughter, Maura (Laraine Day). As Munroe faces challenges in making progress in the job he was assigned to complete, he also faces opposition in convincing the overprotective father of Maura (and his boss) that he is a worthy suitor for the man’s (20 years younger) daughter. Tycoon, like The Barbarian and the Geisha, feeds the male ego and fantasy of viewers, presenting Wayne (and the all-American male) as a sex symbol for much younger women.
4 Island in the Sky

Island in the Sky incorporates pieces of experiences from pilot Ernest Gann (later related in his 1961 autobiographical book Fate is the Hunter) emphasizing his flying career. In this World War II movie, Gann and the pilots he traveled with search for a lost pilot of the team in northern Canada. In the film, Capt. Dooley (John Wayne) has to crash-land his plane in the icy landscape of Canada. While setting out to fly supplies in England during World War II, Dooley and his crew fight to survive in the unfamiliar territory. Though it’s an ensemble film, Wayne continues his white-knight heroic approach to narrative form.
3 The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers, a modernized version of the classic tale, finds American fighter pilot Lt. Tom Wayne (John Wayne) traveling to visit his romantic love interest, Elaine Corday (Ruth Hall). Along the way, he gets involved in the war taking place in the Sahara Desert (between the French Legion and a group of Arabic arms smugglers) to rescue a group of legionnaires who were besieged by the opposition fighters. Tom’s new friends recruit him in order to help them efficiently identify the mole secretly working for the Arabic group, so long as they can survive the desert in an almost ‘characters against nature’ way. Again, the film glorifies and romanticizes the heroics of American militarism and the white-knight trope.
2 Allegheny Uprising

Jim Smith (John Wayne) leads a militant group throughout colonial America, setting out to discover who is supplying the area of Native American tribes with various key weapons. Smith suspects Ralph Callendar (Brian Donlevy) to be the traitor among the group, but there has not yet been any proof to support this theory. He strives to pinpoint the corruption among him and his team, as the British commander Capt. Swanson (George Sanders) disregards his concerns. Allegheny Uprising taps into the American fantasy and paranoia of fighting the British and colonizing Natives, and Wayne fits in perfectly.
1 Rio Lobo

The American Western Rio Lobo is set in a post-Civil War environment, and was the last film directed by the legendary Howard Hawks, concluding his American trilogy of Westerns preceded by Rio Bravo and El Dorado, which all uses the West to explore identity. As Cord McNally (John Wayne), a local Union leader, protects an incoming gold shipment, his fellow troops are suddenly attacked by an influx of Confederate forces. In this encounter, McNally looses the gold he was supposed to protect as well as his friend and officer who was killed in the raid. As McNally travels to the town of Rio Lobo, he learns the Confederate forces had direct help from the inside of his team. In his visit, McNally sets out to learn the identity of the traitors. Released in 1970, Wayne was playing to a wholly different American culture that had passed him by, and the film was a box office failure. He would make his Playboy comments the next year.

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