Books on Duke- Past Discussion (Archive)

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There are 467 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by ethanedwards.

  • those I haven't read myself:

    Original stories:

    STAGE TO LORDSBURG, by Ernest Haycox - the original story to "Stagecoach"

    BORN TO THE WEST, by Zane Grey (aka "Helltown" as a movie)

    Books about the western genre:

    published in Germany: this is really interesting because it contains souvenir programs of 50 classic westerns. The US never had souvenir programs, except for the real "biggies". In Germany (and some other countries, like Sweden) each film got his souvenir program, mostly a neatly done 4-page-program with pictures and synopsis and interesting artwork. Those were then sold right at the movie-house at an affordable price (during the war years and the shortage on paper, they still produced them but cut down from 4 to 2 pages). Among the ones chosen to represent 50 westerns are Fort Apache, Yellow Ribbon, Rio Bravo, Stagecoach...

    BTW, dukefan: I've read the script for "Reap the Wild Wind" - did you know it was partly written by Alan Le May who went on to write the novel "The Searchers"? Would you recommend the original book?
  • Yes, Itdo, I wold recommend the book. I enjoyed it and plan on reading it again. It wasn't one I couldn't put down, but enjoyed all the same. Now Wake Of The Red Witch was better. I highly recommend that one. Great in character depth. Gives you a better look into the characters then the movie could. The love story in it isn't as deep as in the movie, but the personal battle between Sydney and Ralls is more entralling. A great read! Dukefan1
    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "
  • Re: Ralls & Sydney in The Wake of the Red Witch. Could you (or anyone else for that matter) explain it to me a little bit? Sydney seemed like a complete wacko creep to me - one second he wants Ralls dead and the next he's practically in tears because he thinks Ralls IS dead. He seemed sort of effeminate and gay to me too (here we go again! sorry!) which made me wonder if his feelings for Ralls were a bit confused...

    What a strange movie with a completely strange ending - over the top sappy and corny and not at all the way I like to see a Duke film end. If my boy's gotta die, have him die like he did in Sands of Iwo Jima. Now that made me bawl.

    A sidenote: I noticed that some of the kisses between Duke & Gail Russell looked pretty real. Not to be too explicit, but they weren't some of those firm closed-mouth kind of kisses you often see in old films. Then I read that Duke & Ms. Russell were romantically involved. None of my business, of course, just something I noticed in the film.
  • Hi Jen
    would you mean the book "Wake of the Red Witch"? In this topic, the literature only, please, so to finally get the "Definitive list of JW books".

    I'd like to add this one to suggest to check it out - haven't read it myself, but it's a classic and has been made into film several times, once - even before the John Wayne version - starring Gary Cooper:

  • Roland, please forgive me if these have already been mentioned (though I don't think they have).

    I work at a big huge university with a big huge library and thus have access to lots of books on just about any topic. There are probably lots of Duke titles but for now I've got a couple I can share with you to add to your list:

    John Ford's Stagecoach
    Edited by Barry Keith Grant
    Published 2003, copyright Cambridge University Press
    ISBN 0-521-79331-9 (hardcover)
    ISBN 0-521-79743-8 (paperback)

    So far it's pretty interesting - the kind of stuff I think you'd enjoy reading. It consists mostly of critical essays written by various film scholars/historians. For example, "Stagecoach and Hollywood's A-Western Renaissance," "Powered by a Ford?: Dudley Nichols, Authorship, and Cultural Ethos in Stagecoach," "That Past, This Present: Historicizing John Ford, 1939," "A Little Bit Savage: Stagecoach and Racial Representation," "Be a Proud, Glorified Dreg: Class, Gender, and Frontier Democracy in Stagecoach," & "Stagecoach and the Quest for Selfhood." There are also three contemporary (i.e., 1939) reviews of the film.

    The second one I have to mention is called:

    John Ford's Westerns: A Thematic Analysis with a Filmography
    By William Darby
    Published 1996, copyright McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers
    ISBN: 0-7864-0080-3

    As the title suggests, it's all about Ford's westerns. Most of it is critical analysis and I'd say it's pretty well done. The Duke films that are analyzed in depth are The Horse Soldiers, Fort Apache, Rio Grande, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Three Godfathers, The Searchers, and Stagecoach.

    Cheers, matey!
  • "CUT, PRINT - AND THAT'S A WRAP", by Paul Helmick.

    Written in 2001, Howard Hawks' reliable assistant director and 2nd unit director Helmick tells the tales of his Hollywood years. He was around when they made some of the Hawks classics, as well as the films with Wayne: Rio Bravo (it was him who suggested to cast Dean Martin to Hawks), El Dorado, Rio Lobo. Of special interest I found his descriptions of working in Africa on Hatari. This must have been the techniqually most difficult film to make up to that point! Helmick would go out and shoot animal action (with, yes, the doubles) then call Hawks who would come in the next day and shoot scenes they just made up so they would fit to the things Helmick got in the cane. For the spectacular entrance scene with the Rhino, they just happend to find one that was mean enough to attack Bruce Cabot's double and they got it on film - the double acted as if being horned. So they wrote the whole entrance around it - writing Bruce Cabot out of the film for a large part of it (for all of us who forever wondered why his "Indian" character was in the film anyway). No wonder it took Hawks more than a year to assemble the cut (other Wayne releases before Hatari were actually shot AFTER it, he moved to Africa right after Alamo, and, according to Helmick, was glad to because he wanted to get away from it).

    Helmick also says that him and Wayne never got really friendly, he thinks that Wayne held one incident against him, when Wayne and Hawks were discussing what Ricky Nelson should say when asked by Chance: Pretty young for riding guard, don't ya, and it was Helmick who just came up with the cool line: Just how old you gotta be? Obviously, Hawks didn't tell Wayne that Nelson's response would be just that (he often didn't tell his actors to get a natural response) and Wayne barked: "Since when does the 2nd assistant get to write the dialogue?!"
  • "Les 80 Grand Succès de...
    Films de Guerre
    Film d'Aventures"

    In his series about the different genres, French author Pierre Tchernia selects 80 films from each the Western/adventure film/war movie. Published by casterman. Very nicely illustrated. In "Adventure Films", Wayne is present with "Hatari", in "War Films" with "Green Berets", "Alamo", "Longest Day" (there is a special section for Le Jour Le Plus Long, with color pictures I haven't seen elsewhere).

    "The Ragman's Son":
    In 1988 Kirk Douglas wrote his biography and wrote about his relationsship to his co-star of several films. It seems they never got very close but respected each other. They knew each other before those films. Douglas remembers the premiere of his "Lust for Life"; he played Van Gogh, and Wayne was riding him for playing such a troubled man, he felt that tough guys like Douglas shouldn't portray that for the American audience. Douglas responded that he was just an actor playing a part and "you aren't really John Wayne either, just playing him". He thinks he got Wayne there.

    "Robert Mitchum", by Lee Server
    all about the infamous incident of Mitchum getting fired from Blood Alley and Wayne having to take over. Pilar Wayne had reason to get mad at him years later because that incident spoiled her honeymoon and when Wayne invited Mitchum to a party at his house Mitchum told Pilar at his arrival "Boy, do YOU need a bra". The boy of bad behaviour live quite a life. Worth reading. Funny incidents on the El Dorado set, too. Mitchum always hat his beloved weed with him.

    "Natasha - The biografie of Natalie Wood"
    Interesting insights on the filming of The Searchers. It seems Patrick Wayne took quite a liking in this young girl. His father just advised him: "Look out what'ye doin". Note the bracelet Natalie wears around her wrist. There's one in every picture she appears. An accident on a filmset when she was a child left a scar, and she was frantic about it.
    You probably knew that her own sister Lana played the part of little Debbie.

    In his books "Szenen eines Clowns" and "Eine Farm in Afrika" (don't know if they're published in English) German actor Hardy Kruger tells his life. Hatari! was probably the most important film in terms of how it inflicted on his life. He bought Momella and stayed in Africa. The book Eine Farm in Afrika tells all about his love for Momella. The infamous drinking incident when him and Wayne drank themselves silly one night is in "Szenen eines Clowns". This man knows how to write!

    "Me", by Katharine Hepburn
    Katie had a soft spot for the Duke. In her biografie she writes about the making of Rooster Cogburn. A woman of many talents, she also could write wonderful books. One of the best books about the making of a film is her book about the African Queen: "How I went to Africa with Houston, Bogie & Bacall and..."
  • THE MEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES, by Richard Schickel

    contains interviews with Hitchcock, Capra, Minnelli, Cukor, Vidor, and, of most interest to Wayne afficionados, Howard Hawks, Raoul Walsh and William A. Wellman.
    A great interview book. Finally, those giants got enough time to talk about what they liked best and did best: direct motion pictures. There are no questions printed, just answers, so those long interview really sound like those directors would write their biography. For instance, Hawks talks about how he would write dialogue to make a point without the audience realizing that; and how they invented that special camera to film the action in "Hatari". Wellman tells how he found the story to "The High and the Mighty" and how he got Wayne to buy it even before it was published (I like the way he tells the story of how he was talked into doing "The Story of G.I.Joe"; Ernie Pyle talked him into it). And finally, with Walsh we hear in his own words about that special day he stopped on the Fox lot when he saw that tall young man sweating it out as a prop boy, offering him an actin job on the spot, and how tough it got on location of "The Big Trail". All those greats have since then passed (the book was published in the mid seventies).
  • Hi
    To add to your list

    (Scarecrow Press 1988)
    A heavyweight book dealing at length with all of Duke's films by genre.

    (McFarland and Co 1990)
    Another interesting book going deeper into Duke's personna comparing him at the time with soldiers in the time of the Vietnam conflict.

    (Greenwood Press 1992)
    A strange book which lists nearly every book written about Duke up to that time and gives a complete version of the playboy interview

    Citadel Press 1996
    A must for all Duke fans.

    A TRIBUTE TO JOHN WAYNE - Editor Peter R.A.Fryd
    One of many brochure published after Dukes death.

    Robson Books 2003
    The latest book as far as I know, drawing on the authors conversation with Duke in London whilst making Brannigan and subsequent telephone and personal conversations with many of his co stars. It is this book that reveals the Communist plot to assasinate Duke in the 1950s and 60s. I have just finished it and it is quite a good read.


    (St Martins Press 2003)
    Another heavyweight book but very interesting reveals some unusual facts and destroys some legends.

    JOHN FORD - Joseph McBride and Michael Wilmington
    (Martin Secker and Warburg 1974)
    Begins with Ford's funeral.


    JAMES STEWART - Donald Dewy
    (Little Brown and Company) 1996

    (Funk and Wagnells New York 1975)
    Deals a great length with the autors relationship with Cecil B DeMille but includes a chapter on the Making of Reap the Wild Wind and reveals that the squid scene was an afterthought virtually made up on the spur of the moment to appease DeMilles anger and provide an ending to the film.
    Walk Tall - Talk Low

    One additional book I should have included in my last:-

    (Grove Press New York 1997)
    A great book dealing at length with Dukes relationships with his co-workers some of whom he got on with, and some whom he didn't. Great in depth narrative of the making of Hatari
    Walk Tall - Talk Low
  • Steve,

    I haven't read all his books, but the one I really liked with very adequate bio on Duke is: John Wayne: American by Randy Roberts & James S. Olson ISBN 0029238374.

    A list of movies from Duke is: The Complete Films of John Wayne by Mark Ricci, Boris Zmijewsky, & Steve Zmijewsky. ISBN 0806509457.

    Go to this site and get a very good list from itdo on the books of John Wayne.

    Cheers, Hondo B)

    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"
    - John Wayne quote
  • Hi again
    Christmas has come and gone and although I haven't had a chance to read it yet I have one small addition to make.It's a text book from YORK film notes entitled STAGECOACH. It is an 88 page text book written by acknowledged experts on film and media and ideal for A level and undergraduate media students. The general editor is Peter Bunten Head of English and Drama Tupton Hall School Chesterfield. The book gives

    Film Reviews

    Background to the film

    Biographiesd of key players

    Form and Narrative

    Style and Technique

    Culture and Cinematic contexts

    Bibliography for further study

    Glossary of cinematic terms.

    The book is available from

    York Press
    322 Old Brompton Road
    London SW5 9JH
    Price £5.99

    First indications appear that it is an interesting book well suitable for the serious JW historian.

    Another book that briefly mentions John Wayn is 'RADICAL HOLLYWOOD - THE UNTOLD STORY By Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner.
    This book deals with the Communists and Left leaning artists in Hollywood during the 1930s and 40s culminating in the Blacklist era. Page 236 deals with the Director Edward Dmytryk and the making of 'Back to Bataan'
    Walk Tall - Talk Low