Dir. John Ford
Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, based on the short story “The Stage at Lordsburg” by Ernest Haycox
Starring John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Andy Devine and Claire Trevor
I resist John Wayne. I always have and make no bones about why — he’s a rat bastard red-baiting jingoist war-monger and to this common-sense liberal, he’s repulsive. And such is my repulsion that I can barely separate John Wayne the man from the characters John Wayne plays to such a degree I suspect he could play Ralph Nader and the only thing I’d think is, “My, it’s strange how conservative Ralph Nader is.” To me, John Wayne’s a racist old grandpa we should be embarrassed about, not building films around.
Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise I’ve only seen three John Wayne films and have varying attitudes to them all:
- True Grit
- The Quiet Man
- The Searchers
The Searchers, thought to be a classic, hardly registers with me beyond being racist in story and casting. (Ironically, Gone With The Wind plays a similar game with it’s racial elements and yet, I don’t brush it off the same as I do The Searchers. Rather, I’m apologetic of those elements to the point I’ve had to come to grips with being a massive hypocrite.) Continue reading
Directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Screenplay by Fredric M. Frank & Barré Lyndon & Theodore St. John, story by Fredric M. Frank & Theodore St. John & Frank Cavett
Starring Charlton Heston,
It’s a fact: sit around and talk to anybody about the Oscars long enough and eventually you’ll get around to arguing over which was the worst Best Picture Winner – that I s, which was the worst film to win in a given year. Inevitably, people in my generation, or at least those with no sense of history, will make strong arguments for Crash, Shakespeare in Love or maybe Titanic being the worst choices in recent memory. Those with any real sense of history will instead bandy about two other choices:
- Citizen Kane, one of which is arguably the greatest film of all time, being bested by How Green Was My Valley, a film that isn’t even one of the five best films by its own director – for John Ford, his best films obviously include The Grapes of Wrath, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, and one of about ten other films not named How Green Was My Valley.
- The Greatest Show On Earth winning Best Picture over Ford’s own The Quiet Man and a little Gary Cooper movie called High Noon.
Directed by Robert Z. Leonard,
Screenplay by William Anthony McGuire
Starring William Powell, Luise Rainer, Frank Morgan and Myrna Loy
For the first time in this series – in what is my 50th post in this series – we start with a quiz. From the list below, find the outlier and tell me why it’s the outlier:
2005 – Brokeback Mountain
1990 – Goodfellas
1982 – ET
1980 – Raging Bull Continue reading