THE SPOILERS / 1942
Starring John Wayne, Randolph Scott, and Marlene Dietrich
(Spoiler alert: The Goodguy wins)
I count Dennis Hopper’s appearances in at least two Western Classics: Gunfight at OK Corral with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas (1957); and True Grit (1969) with John Wayne. Even if Western movie fans didn’t count these movies as Classic, it would be recognized that Hopper had appeared with three of the Greatest Western Movie Stars of all time: Wayne, Lancaster and Douglas.
Some Western fans may also include Hang ‘em High (1968) with another of the Greatest Western Actors of all time: Clint Eastwood; and The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) with John Wayne (again), Dean Martin and Earl Holliman.
Among Western TV Shows. Gunsmoke and Bonanza would well be considered Classics. Cheyenne ? (Note: Hoppers roles in the TV Westerns were as a Guest Star – not a regular.)
Even so, not a bad legacy for one the legendary bad boys of the Entertainment industry.
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It’s often interesting to read reviews from when the time the film was originally released – and see how they bear up as to how the film is presently regarded.
Several movies that are now regarded as Classics were savagely ripped by reviewers of the day. But time often tells a different story. However …
Wikipedia tells us (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Shot_Liberty_Valance)
“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was an instant hit when released in April 1962, thanks to its classic story and popular stars John Wayne and James Stewart. Produced on a budget of $3.2 million, the film grossed $8,000,000 at the box office, making it the 16th highest grossing film of 1962. Edith Head‘s costumes for the film were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, one of the few westerns to ever be nominated for the award. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has continued its popularity through repeated television broadcasts and the rental market. It is also widely considered to be one of director John Ford‘s best westerns and generally ranks alongside Red River, The Searchers, The Big Trail, and Stagecoach as one of John Wayne‘s best films.”
The Critics liked – and the People liked it.
Below: A nice video presentation with a nice rendition of song The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance written by songsters Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis.
Warning: possible huge spoilers … if you’ve never seen the movie.
Lee makes it to the Top of the Mountain – A Western with John Wayne
… But he’s still 5th on the Bill
Rose and I (and four other folks) took a very bumpy Jeep ride (hang on to your saddlehorn folks) up Schnebly Hill Road. (Theodore Carleton (T C) Schnebly and his wife SEDONA Arabella Miller Schnebly moved to the area in 1901 – guess how Sedona got it’s name?
Eventually we jostled and jerked our way up to a viewpoint near Schnebly Hill Vista … then jumped out for a jaunt. Climbing a short – but steep – little path we arrived at a location overlooking the whole valley. Beautiful!
Here’s where Nick – our Jeep driver – points to a certain tree and tells us “This is John Wayne Tree”. Really!! (He had no knowledge that I had a blog called My Favorite Westerns). There’s a photo (somewhere) of John Wayne posing by this tree when he was filming Angel and the Badman in 1947. I believe I saw that photo once, but after hours of searching the net was unable to locate it.
Nick claims that Wayne posed somewhat like this (above) in the famous photo.
You know … I could almost hear Duke whispering in my ear:
“Get yer hand off my tree pilgrim.”
Sedona … see you again in a few months.
(All photos taken by my lady, Rose)
Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers – Tumbling Tumbleweed
“At least 76 feature films, many TV productions and dozens of commercials have been shot either in full or in part in the Greater Sedona area. For three decades, Westerns were the most popular movies in America. From shoot’em-ups to romance, dramas, and the singing cowboy films, they attracted audiences around the world.
The Movie Room in the Sedona Heritage Museum is dedicated to the many hundreds of actors and crew members who have come to Sedona to make their way amidst the scenic grandeur that makes this such a valued destination.
Moviemaking in Sedona began in 1923, with Zane Grey‘s Call of the Canyon. In 1945, John Wayne came to town for his first stint as producer on Angel and the Badman costarring the beautiful Gail Russell. For this film, Wayne had a western town set built in what is now the Sedona West residential subdivision. Streets there are named after movies made here, like Johnny Guitar, Pony Soldier, and Gun Fury. Stars who worked here include Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Sterling Hayden, Joan Crawford, Glenn Ford, Robert Young, Tyrone Power, Rock Hudson, Elvis Presley, Sam Elliott, Robert Deniro and Johnny Depp.”
Yee Haw !!! I’m off to Sedona for a few days – with stops in Minneapolis and Yuma along the way.
This will be my 3rd trip to Sedona. I went in the 70′s – the 80′s and now in 2012.
I know it’s changed a lot since I was last there. It has resorts, Hotels, Spas, Golf Courses …. etc. that weren’t there before.
I hope to take a dip in Oak Creek (pictured above) like I did so long ago. Weather and water permitting.
I intend to maintain My Favorite Westerns blog while I’m out there. I’m presently working these projects: Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine and a John Wayne Bio. I like to make at least a couple of postings every week.
So … Happy Trails folks …
High Noon and Politics
As a kid watching High Noon, it never dawned on me that there was anything going on ‘behind the scenes’. Lost in the wonder of an epic and heroic tale, I didn’t see it’s (and many Westerns) very strong social and political messages:
Commentaries on the politics behind High Noon:
High Noon, What Happens: Posted by Brent Allard Wednesday, March 28, 2012 http://criminalmovies.blogspot.ca/2012_03_01_archive.html:
“John Wayne (a HUAC supporter – House Un-American Activities Committee) called High Noon Un-American for it’s portrayal of the townspeople and Will Kane’s seeking help and throwing the badge in the dirt. He teamed with Howard Hawks (who called Will Kane “unprofessional”) to make Rio Bravo as a response to the film. In Rio Bravo, Wayne plays a Sheriff who with the help of a only a drunk, a kid, and a crippled man, have to prevent a gang from breaking one of their members out of jail. Wayne’s larger than life enthusiasm, is certainly a sharp contrast to Cooper’s haunted Marshal. Though both films are worth viewing, I find it difficult to side with Wayne’s optimism, although it is a pleasant diversion. Certainly to this day we have arguments about HUAC, but the beauty of western morality plays and film in general is that a good story can transcend the specific events that inspired it. High Noon is a parable for any times, including our own current extremely polarized ones. It’s difficult to live your own life, and its easy to find a justification for any moral position you can think of, or find an opinion from someone else, but ultimately the question it asks is whether or not you can live up to your own code, no matter what it costs, even if no one in the world will stand with you.”
Emanuel Levy: “High Noon: McCarthy and Politics” – http://www.emanuellevy.com/popculture/high-noon-mccarthy-and-politics-9/
“…No matter what perspective one takes, there’s no doubt that High Noon deals with such issues as civic responsibility, active involvement in social causes, and heroic behavior during crises–all problems loaded with political overtones in the early 1950s. Its cynical commentary on the masses’ fear of involvement in controversial issues proved to be prophetic during McCarthy’s political witch hunting. Arguing that people should have nothing but contempt for the cowardice of ordinary folks, the film also spoke for the necessity of joint action, if enemies are to be defeated … “
MFW: I admit that I am not a John Wayne fan. I acknowledge his undeniable onscreen charisma and that he is among the greatest movie stars of all time. I also acknowledge that he made some important and iconic Westerns. Yet I disliked him as a person and disrespected his politics. I found his ‘over the top’ super patriotism and ‘my country right or wrong’ flag waving to be very distasteful – and dangerous. I also disrespected that he refused to fight in WWII – then became a super patriot out of guilt (as one of his former wives stated). Further, Rio Bravo’s response to High Noon (by Wayne and Hawkes) is very weak. It’s ‘a John Wayne movie’. As a Western it has it’s moments - and a great cast (Wayne, Brennan, Martin, Nelson …) but as a political statement it’s pure hokum. It will not make My Favorite Westerns.
YET … as noted, if we can throw politics to the side, it’s interesting that both films still stand up and are obviously enjoyed without any political notions whatsoever.
Bravo to that … if not Rio.