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Remember The Alamo the Duke’s golden run of great films – My Blog

Hit after hit had long ago made him a household name in the United States and far beyond, and if anyone wondered when his glory days would run out, it wouldn’t be any time soon.

The High And The Mighty, from 1954, showed he was still adding to his skills, rather than sitting back and resting on his laurels.
Wayne, in fact, had been pencilled in to produce it – he would co-produce – but when Spencer Tracy dropped out, he stepped in front of the camera.
The whole movie set the standard for an entire genre of films of the future.

Flicks like Airplane! would parody it, of course, but disaster movies such as The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno and even Titanic would borrow from its production values.
Wayne was First Officer Dan Roman, and it’s the tale – like the hilarious Airplane! – of a pilot haunted by a previous crash.
Robert Stack, in fact, would play the serious role here, and appear in the joke versions years later. The movie was such a success, though, John Wayne would certainly never make fun of it!
Another he always adored was done two years later, 1956’s The Searchers — many American critics to this day say this was the greatest film made. Ever.
Certainly, the consensus is that among Westerns, nothing has ever come close, and much of that is down to an utterly commanding performance by John Wayne at the top of his game.
He plays Ethan Edwards, who comes to live with his brother in a remote part of Texas after many years away, and though he is obsessively crazy about his brother’s wife, it’s an undercurrent that is never spoken about.
Many reckoned Wayne was incapable of such a part, but he manages to play it perfectly, alongside his normal hard man, sharpshooting side.
He arrives with a stash of gold coins and a medal from a Mexican campaign, so he has a shady past and doesn’t seem overly keen on talking about it.
His niece has been taken by the Comanches, but she is grown up and one of the chief’s wives by the time they find her, apparently happy and not wishing to come home. Ethan would rather she was dead than living there, and tries to kill her, but he is wounded by a Comanche arrow.
At the end, they get her back home, and Ethan is seen leaving, going on his mysterious way once more, leaving all sorts of troubles behind him.
If you’ve not seen it for a while, it’s well worth another look — like several of The Duke’s best flicks, it seems to age marvellously well and gets better with repeats.
Rio Bravo was a good way to bring the ’50s to a close. Generally thought of as one of Wayne’s greatest films, Angie Dickinson, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson were the perfect supporting stars.
It’s the tale of a sheriff who arrests a powerful rancher’s brother, then has to take on the rancher’s entire gang.
Dean Martin’s plays his character, Dude, the drunk deputy sheriff, very convincingly!
Music fans love it for the chance to see Ricky Nelson perform with just a guitar, while Wayne fans simply reckon it is up there with his very best.
If it seemed a hard act to follow, though, even Rio Bravo was put firmly in the shade the next year — a certain The Alamo saw to that. It had the critics wondering just how good Wayne could get.
At the dawn of the ’60s, he was in the midst of an astounding run of hit movies, and showing he could do far, far more than just play angry cowboys.
The story of the battle for Texan independence, The Alamo was a wonderful story just begging to be told in film. And John Wayne, at the peak of his powers, was just the man to carry it.
Almost three hours long (some versions last over 200 minutes), it was an epic in every sense.
Wayne also produced and directed it, and was handed $12 million to do so, an incredible amount in 1960.
He plays Davy Crockett, one of three Colonels, with Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie and Laurence Harvey as William Barrett Travis. Frankie Avalon is the young Smitty, one of Crockett’s Tennesseans.
With an impressive cast, a massive budget and The Duke in almost complete control, the pressure to succeed was all on Wayne and no one else.
He had, years earlier, quit in disgust when he first tried to make a movie about the Alamo, as the $3m budget wasn’t enough.
Now, however, he was even able to invest almost $2m out his own pocket, so it’s fair to say the big man was rather keen on getting this movie made.
A fortune was spent on the set, which one critic called: “The most authentic set in the history of the movies,” and Wayne was also thrilled with his young star.
Avalon was still a kid, but Wayne said of him, “We’re not cutting one bit of any scene in which Frankie appears. I believe he is the finest young talent I’ve seen in a long time.” From John Wayne, that’s praise indeed.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, another fans’ favourite, was a nice way to start 1962, and to prove that with The Alamo, he hadn’t reached a peak he couldn’t scale again.

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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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