the outlaw way / railbenders
I hadn’t intended to do a post on The Shootist until I reached it via my series on John Wayne’s Filmography. But Hugh O’Brian’s passing and his role in the important Western Classic moved it up the ladder. I won’t do a full posting on it here, but there’s some interesting things about this movie and O’Brian’s involvement.
I have to confess I’m puzzled why all these posters are different in coloration?
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
– origin unknown – Often attributed to Mark Twain
Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) says this:
“Contrary to popular belief, John Wayne did not have cancer when he made this film. His entire left lung and several ribs had been removed in surgery on 17 September 1964, and in 1969 he was declared cancer-free. It was not until 12 January 1979, almost three years after this movie had been filmed, that the disease was found to have returned. According to a 2014 biography “John Wayne: the Life and Legend” by Scott Eyman, Wayne had been found to have stomach cancer in 1975 but it had gone into remission before filming began on this movie.”
MFW: The contention here, of course, is that John didn’t know this was his last film/Western. I’m no detective, but I do know that almost the entire cast of The Shootist – including Director Don Siegel – were handpicked and invited by Wayne to be in this movie. Does that sound like somebody that doesn’t know this is the end of line?
Hugh O’Brian’s role in The Shootist is interesting. He seems to get a bit of preferential treatment. His role basically reprizes his previous portrayal of Wyatt Earp from his popular TV series “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp” (1955–1961). Also, in The Shootist, Hugh’s character is a Faro dealer in the saloon. This was Earp’s real life side occupation when he was a Marshall in Tombstone.
Hugh also wears the gentleman’s garb of vest and tie vest – almost identical to O’Brian’s portrayal of Earp in his popular TV series.
Next, when John goes to the bar at the start of the final shootout scene, he pours himself a drink – and salutes only one of the three patrons in the bar: Hugh O’Brian. Ignoring Richard Boone and Bill McKinney. I’d say that’s a hell of a compliment – from the Dean of Western Heroes.
Hugh salutes back. ‘See ya John’.
Epic stuff … all the way around.