Connect with us

John Wayne

John Wayne Wasn’t Willing To Be The Butt Of A Joke For Howard Hawks’ Red River

10 years after his breakout performance in John Ford’s “Stagecoach,” John Wayne found himself the object of some critical derision due to his insistence on giving his audience exactly what they wanted. On one hand, who could blame him? As long as people kept lining up to see him play strong, stolid heroes, why invite box office trouble by going against type, especially when two of the finest directors on the planet, Ford and Howard Hawks, were keen to continue cashing in on his popularity?
It was a pretty nifty arrangement for Wayne, who could work small, yet striking variations on his swaggering persona with two trusted, talented collaborators. He respected these men, and was therefore open to suggestions he might’ve shot down had they been offered by a studio hack. But even with Ford and Hawks, there were lines the Duke was unwilling to cross. Hawks learned this for himself while directing Wayne in the 1948 classic “Red River.”
Don’t ask the Duke to sacrifice a finger for the sake of a laughUnited ArtistsHoward Hawks was already asking a tad extra of John Wayne for his portrayal of Thomas Dunson, an Ahab-like rancher determined to drive his cattle from Texas to Abilene, Kansas. Dunson is a hard man whose pitiless treatment of his men leads his adopted son, Matt (Montgomery Clift), to foment a mutiny and exile him from the drive.
According to Allen Eyles’ biography “John Wayne,” Hawks was eager to inject a bit of humor into Wayne’s performance by having Dunson get drunk so his finger, which had been “mangled between a saddle horn and a rope,” could be amputated. Alas, Wayne had stretched as far as he was comfortable as Dunson, and nixed the idea. Hawks acquiesced, but not before informing the Duke that he’d deploy the bit later with a more versatile actor (that wound up being Kirk Douglas in “The Big Sky”).
Nevertheless, Hawks enjoyed collaborating with Wayne (11 years later, they’d come together for the masterful “Rio Bravo”), and was quick to praise the star’s filmmaking acumen. Per Eyles, Hawks said:
“Wayne is like a big cat on his feet, he thinks quickly and he thinks right. Also he contributes to what other people do. If he sees somebody who is not moving he tells ’em to move, and it becomes part of the story.”
Just don’t ask him to look like a dope who doesn’t know how to rope cattle for the amusement of an audience. Because it was his audience, and he knew they didn’t want to see such nonsense (until 1969’s “True Grit”).

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Wayne

John Wayne Once Revealed the ‘Most Important Thing in Life’

Actor John Wayne had many famous sayings over the course of his life. He went down in history for the legacy that he left on the silver screen, but his importance extends beyond his performances. Wayne had many life quotes that he accumulated over his lifetime, many of which came from the mentors in his life, including his father. The movie star had a motivational saying that talked about the “most important thing in life.”

John Wayne came from humble beginnings

Life portrait of John Wayne leaning against a mantel next to a wooden duck statue.

John Wayne | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Wayne didn’t always live the life of a star in Hollywood. He came from humble beginnings under the name Marion Robert Morrison from Winterset, Iowa. However, his family moved to Southern California, where he ultimately found his love for entertainment. He started as a prop man at Fox, but he had a look meant for the silver screen. As a result, he landed some minor roles.

The actor earned his first major chance in a leading role in 1930’s The Big Trail. However, the Raoul Walsh-directed film bombed at the box office, which set him back. Fortunately, he managed to earn massive success with 1939’s Stagecoach, marking his first leading-role collaboration with director John Ford. Despite Hollywood pressures, he always stayed true to the values, for better or worse.

John Wayne said ‘tomorrow’ is the ‘most important thing in life’

The official John Wayne Twitter account wrote about the quotes that he said over the course of his life. These words carried his morals, but they also put his perspective into context. He always wanted to get the most out of life, always seeing opportunity and hope in the future, even though he had traditionalist values of the past.

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life,” Wayne said. “Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”

Wayne’s fans responded to the tweet, one of which called it “One of my favorite quotes of his.” Another comment said, “I just love this quote. If only we could always remember that tomorrow is a new day and we get to take what we’ve learned with us and do better.”

He brought his morals to the silver screen

John Wayne Never Got the Grave Engraving He Wanted, Got Playboy Interview Quote Engraved Instead

Wayne gained a lot of value throughout his life from the teachers that he had, including his father and Ford. However, he represented a masculine icon on the silver screen that many audiences looked up to. The movie star was very careful about the roles that he accepted, refusing to give up on his values, even when playing a character.

The movie star turned down big roles in movies such as High Noon because he didn’t appreciate how they portrayed America. His morals represented an era that has come and gone that his longtime fans continue to hold onto, loving the heroes that he played, such as John Elder in The Sons of Katie Elder and Sgt. John M. Stryker in Sands of Iwo Jima.

Continue Reading

John Wayne

John Wayne Was ‘Disappointed’ He Didn’t Get an Oscar Nomination For His ‘Best Achievement’

John Wayne made it to the Academy Awards three times over the course of his career. However, he only ultimately won a single golden statue. Wayne was “disappointed” that he didn’t get an Oscar nomination for She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, which he considered his “best achievement” over the course of his career. Here’s a look at how that impacted the legendary Western star.

John Wayne played Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles in ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’

'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon' Ben Johnson as Sgt. Tyree and John Wayne as Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles posing with hat over chestBen Johnson as Sgt. Tyree and John Wayne as Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon follows Cavalry Captain Nathan Brittles (Wayne) through the final job of his career before he retires. He seeks to settle an intense situation between the Cheyenne and Arapaho. However, he’s also busy transporting the wife (Mildren Natwick) and niece (Joanne Dru) of his superior. Brittles must do all that he can to stop an all-out war from taking place and get them to safety.

John Ford directs a screenplay written by Frank Nugent and Laurence Stallings. It’s the second installment in Ford’s Cavalry Trilogy, which also contains Fort Apache and Rio Grande. It was one of the most expensive Western movies of its time. Wayne plays a character much older than he was in real life, but Ford trusted him with bringing the character to life.

John Wayne was ‘disappointed’ that he didn’t get an Oscar nomination for ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’

John Farkis’ Not Thinkin’ … Just Rememberin’ … The Making of John Wayne’s ‘The Alamo’ walks readers through the iconic actor’s career. Wayne wasn’t afraid to call out a bad film when he had them, but he also openly talked about the films that he was proud of. His performance as Brittles in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon remains a huge fixture of his career. However, he wasn’t the only one singing praises of his own performance.

“I feel strongly that Duke should have been nominated for an Academy Award for his role in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” co-star John Agar said. “He was just brilliant. Remember, too, I have a lot of scenes with him. He played a guy 20 years older. To me, Yellow Ribbon was the best thing Duke ever did.”

Public audiences even felt a similar way. The movie brought in a stunning $9.15 million at the worldwide box office, making it a huge hit. As a result, Wayne knew that he had something special here that kept him involved in acting.

“For the first time, Pappy was treating me like an actor, and he showed me great respect, which I appreciated,” Wayne said. “I felt that I’d worked hard and long to reach the stage of my career, having been thinking of giving it up.”

Wayne continued: “I was disappointed at not even being nominated for Yellow Ribbon. I had played a man 60 years old, which was 17 years older than I was. I have always believed that this was my best achievement in pictures.”

‘True Grit’ won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon won an Oscar, but Wayne didn’t even get a nomination. Rather, the film won for Best Cinematography. However, the Academy Awards wouldn’t ignore Wayne forever. He would get two nominations and the eventual win.

Wayne earned his first Oscar nomination for Sands of Iwo Jima. Next, he got another nomination for The Alamo in the Best Picture category. Finally, he won his only Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his legendary performance in True Grit. However, he would prove to have a bigger effect on Hollywood than its top award, influencing fight sequences forever.

Continue Reading

John Wayne

John Wayne Once Explained Why He Turned Down so Many ‘Petty, Mean’ Movies

Actor John Wayne is one of Hollywood’s most iconic figures to ever work in movies. However, he was very specific about the roles he would accept and the ones that he refused to involve himself in. Wayne once explained why he turned down so many potentially big movies that he described as “petty,” “small,” and “mean” through the evolution of Hollywood.

John Wayne played particular movie roles

John Wayne in one of his last movies 'The Shootist' alongside Ron Howard. He's wearing a Western outfit and holding a gun, pointing it out standing next to a stunned Howard.L-R: Ron Howard and John Wayne | Bettmann / Contributor

Wayne has over 180 acting credits to his name, spread across movies and television shows. He became a household name for the Western and war genres, ultimately contributing huge star power to the projects later in his career. However, Wayne also wasn’t afraid to speak up when he didn’t like something about the movies that wanted him involved. This held true for both prospective projects and ones that he already signed on for.
The actor ultimately turned down projects that earned attention at the Academy Awards, including High Noon. However, it wasn’t always because he didn’t like the roles themselves. Rather, Wayne was a patriot, who didn’t want anything to do with movies that he deemed insulting to the American image.

John Wayne explained why he turned down so many ‘petty, mean’ movies at the time

The official Wayne Twitter account shared a behind-the-scenes look at one of his movies, The Shootist. He talked about the state of violence in cinema, but he also touched on how he chose what to star in. The film hit theaters in 1976, so it’s worth taking the time period in mind for what he has to say about “modern” filmmaking.

“The whole idea of our business is illusion and they’re getting away from that,” Wayne said. “They’re putting electric squibs in livers and blowing them up in slow motion and then having blood all over everything. I mean, it’s not that there’s more violence in pictures today. It’s that it’s done with such bad taste that people turn their stomachs, not their emotional insides are affected. It turns their stomach. I just don’t want to play anything petty or small or mean. I don’t mind being rough and tough and cruel, but in a big way, no little petty things.”

The actor believed that cinema should be family-friendly

Wayne had a very firm stance when it came to violence in the movies. The rating board once even reached out to the actor to get his input. However, Wayne didn’t want any part in it because he didn’t think a rating system was necessary. He believed that Hollywood should make motion pictures aimed at the whole family.

Wayne starred in a wide variety of movies that included violence, but they never reached the extremes of what he talked about while filming The Shootist. Today’s filmmaking would certainly give him a shock if he were to see how much some movies push the boundaries and make audiences squirm.

Continue Reading