Posts Tagged ‘John Wayne’

3 Godfathers

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

John Ford’s 3 GODFATHERS is a nice Christmas western. It takes place in the desert and the titleistical trio of outlaws are dying of thirst for most of it, but it’s mentioned that it’s Christmas time, and there are allusions to the three wisemen, the star, and other aspects of the Nativity story.

Robert Hightower (John Wayne), Pedro “Pete” Rocafuerte (Pedro Armendariz) and William “The Abeline Kid” Kearney (and introducing Harry Carey, Jr.) are riding into the small town of Welcome to rob a bank, but they stop to make fun of a guy (Ward Bond, RIO BRAVO, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE) because the name on his house says “B. Sweet.” He goes by Buck, but his wife calls him “Perley” in front of them and they think that’s a hilariously “perty name” too. They’re being mean, but Mrs. Sweet (Mae Marsh, BIRTH OF A NATION) brings them coffee, makes small talk about where they’re from and growing up with red hair, and also mention to important plot points (the location of a watering hole and that there’s a town called New Jerusalem).

It’s all nice and good until Sweet puts on his vest and everybody sees his sheriff’s badge. Everybody puts on their “oh this” faces except Sweet, who puts on his “yeah, that’s right, I know what you dipshits are up to” face.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Rooster Cogburn

Monday, April 12th, 2010

tn_roostercogburnIn ’75, six years after John Wayne won his Oscar playing Rooster Cogburn in TRUE GRIT, they figured on bringing the character back. Not a bad idea, actually. Maybe not as good as my idea of spinning off his cat, but still, it works. He’s a marshall who goes after outlaws, obviously he’s gonna have other adventures. That’s what this is, this ROOSTER COGBURN, it’s not a stripped down drama about him getting old like ROCKY BALBOA was. (And if you’re looking at that picture thinking man, Mattie Ross got old fast, don’t worry, it’s a different character.)

This particular adventure (subtitled “(…and The Lady)” on the DVD box) starts out like an old west Dirty Harry movie. The judge is outraged by Cogburn’s unorthodox methods. He shoots too many people and isn’t good enough at kissing authority figure ass. So he gets his badge taken away. I thought it was kind of funny to have John Wayne doing this when he actually turned down DIRTY HARRY, but when I read True Grit: The Book I learned that this scene is sort of based on something that happens at the end of that book. (That doesn’t explain McQ, though.)

Of course the judge has to come crawling back to him because a gang stole some nitro glycerin for robbing a bank, and Rooster’s the only one with the skills, knowledge and balls for the case. On the trail he comes across a small church where the gang killed some people. The survivors are the preachy spinster Katherine Hepburn and a young scout who dreams of becoming the first Native American marshall. Of course Rooster reluctantly takes them with him and eventually comes to care about them. (read the rest of this shit…)

True Grit

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

tn_truegritThis movie’s gettin a squeeze of the ol’ limelight again on account of the Minnesota Coens are doing another version of the same book.

In this first version John Wayne plays U.S. Marshall Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn, who everybody talks about as a mean old bastard but let’s be honest, he’s really a lovably eccentric curmudgeon. I mean even if he says no at first it doesn’t take a whole lot to convince him to go on a bounty hunt with a 15 year old rich girl. And then he doesn’t rob her or slap her around or anything. In fact the big turning point in the story is when the Texas Ranger who’s going along tries to spank the girl with a switch, Rooster decides to put his foot down and enforce an anti-spanking policy.

I see plenty of room for Coen humor here with Mattie Ross, the spanking victim in question who hires Rooster to catch her father’s killer. She has a Barton Fink sense of entitlement (“My family owns property and I want to know why I’m being treated this way!”) and her repitition of the word “grit” (“I’m looking for someone with grit,” “I hear he has grit?” “Is this what you in Fort Smith call grit? Back in Yell County we have a different word for it,” etc.) would be right at home in any Coens movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Rio Bravo

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Recently a reader named David Lambert sent me a very accurate email:

“…I’ve loved your site for almost a decade now, but my one complaint is the almost complete lack of reviews for Westerns.

The Western is the most bad-ass genre out there and it’s a huge hole in your ‘reviewography.’

How can a guy calling himself ‘Outlaw’ Vern not represent the genre that the term ‘outlaw’ comes from?”

You got me, David. I knew he was right so I pledged to “at least review RIO BRAVO or something,” and he gave me a variety of other suggestions that could come in handy if I am to strive for this particular type of excellence. (read the rest of this shit…)


Sunday, May 27th, 2007

In the movie McQ, John Wayne plays McQ, a cop trying to find out who killed his partner and why. I’m not sure if McQ is short for McQuaid or McQueen, or if it is his real name like McG. Actually, they usually just call him Lon.

McQ was made in 1974, the director was John Sturges, the style seems to be DIRTY HARRY. Except John Wayne was actually offered the real DIRTY HARRY after Frank Sinatra dropped out. He turned it down because he didn’t want Sinatra’s leftovers. Instead, he would prefer to do a rip-off of Sinatra’s leftovers.

Actually, it’s not like DIRTY HARRY. It’s a little more like MAGNUM FORCE because it turns out the other cops are dirty and there’s a coverup. But still it’s not the same type of movie, because instead of the liberal West Coast port city of San Francisco it takes place in my beloved liberal West Coast port city of Seattle. And instead of a funky Lalo Schifrin score it’s a funky Elmer Bernstein score. So it’s totally different. (read the rest of this shit…)