Posts by Quiggy

Participate now!

Don’t have an account yet? Register yourself now and be a part of our community!

    Stagecoach is typical of the western genre from the 30's. You have such tropes as a band of people gathered together for a common cause, Indians on the warpath, and the Cavalry coming to the rescue. Really, not much in the plot distinguishes it much from dozens of other western films of the day.

    But the movie transcends those tropes, and most of that can be credited to the dynamic cast. In particular, in my mind is Thomas Mitchell as the alcoholic doctor and Claire Trevor as the woman with a past she'd just as soon leave behind.

    This film is credited for saving the western film from the trash heap of low-budget poverty row oblivion. And it shows. There are some decidedly adult situations here that would have escaped the pre-teens of the 30's who were regular fans of westerns, not to mention the rather subdued hints that Dallas was a whore. (Couldn't exactly come right out and say it in the days of the Hays Code, could they?)

    The fact that John Ford stuck to his guns and cast Wayne as the Ringo Kid, despite studio pressure to have him played by the likes of Gary Cooper (and just imagine how different that would have come off...) is a credit to both Ford, and to Wayne for taking the role.

    Stagecoach didn't make my top 5 (mostly because I am more enamored of the grizzly older Wayne from the 60's and 70's), but I still would make it in the top 10. On Father's Day this year, a theater down the road had it for a one time only viewing. I didn't get to see it on a big screen mainly because I hate sitting on the front row and by the time I found out about it that's all that was left in seating. Maybe next time around.


    I do joke responses on my movie blog all the time. So far I've stayed away from it here. :) It's no joke, however, that I liked Brannigan. Just not enough to make my top 5.

    I really had no intention of ranking the rest of the top movies. There are many I like (and, I admit, a few I'm not enthralled with in the least). But after such an erudite post, I could do no less than go into more detail rather than just list a top 5. I have been a John Wayne fan for close to 50 years. ( am 57, as of this post, but the first 7 years were in development as a movie fan, so I won't say ALL my life...) I couldn't actually say what was the first movie I ever saw starring Wayne.

    In the sixties, during my young years, a good deal of my free time during the summer and on Saturdays during school year were spent watching movies (if I wasn't being pestered by my mother to go outside and play). Some of those Saturdays were spent at my grandparents' place, and Grandpa and Grandma always watched "Saturday Night at the Movies". There was where I was first really introduced to John Wayne, albeit it ws the most current movie they showed, not the classics. It was there that I saw "Chisum", "Big Jake", "The Cowboys" and a few others during the premiere on TV.

    It wasn't until later that I ran across some of the really old ones. Not many of the cheap ones he cranked out for low-market studios like Republic were all that memorable, but some were pretty good, even then. But I really was a fan of those he came out with in his later years.

    So without further ado, here is my list. Feel free to disparage if you think I'm off my rocker.

    5: Chisum (1970):

    This is one of the earliest movies I can definitely recall seeing. We watched it at my grandparents when it first came to TV. Even now many years later I can still remember the strains of "Chisum! Jooohn Chisum!" that stuck in my mind. Wayne plays a big time ranch owner who goes head-to-head and toe-to-toe with an unscrupulous developer played by Forrest Tucker.

    4: The Alamo (1960):

    Although as a Texan and a historian, I take exception to some of the things Wayne got wrong in the movie, (Just to name one: San Antonio, unless a major earthquake happens, is NOT on the Rio Grande...), I still enjoy the rousing tribute to the men who fought to slow down Santa Ana's foray into Texas.

    3: The War Wagon (1967):

    Possibly the second best matchup of great actors with Wayne and Kirk Douglas reluctantly working together to get to a lost shipment of gold. I had to pick either this or "The Train Robbers" and I didn't want to cheat and claim both, so the latter got edged out. (But its still in my top 10.)

    2: The Shootist: (1976):

    So many people signed on to star with Wayne in what was his last picture, it's hard to imagine how much better it could have been. Absolutely love the final shootout, although it tears my heart apart knowing how much pain Wayne was in while trying to get it done.

    And of course,

    1. El Dorado (1966):

    I don't need to rehash what I've said in a separate thread. Suffice to say Mitchum, Caan and Wayne make the best triumvirate of actors on screen in my opinion.


    It's interesting. (To me at least). I didn't like The Searchers when I first saw it. And not because Wayne's character was such a rabid racist. I followed along with the story and really got into it. But the ending where Ethan seems to have a previously unexpected change of heart really got to me. No, I would not have been happier if he had actually shot Debbie. But I thought it was a cop out ending.

    I have since watched it several times more, and I actually have come to like it. I can actually see hints of the potential for change of heart, and it is an excellent movie.

    There is a theater chain called Alamo Drafthouse that ran this movie a few years back. Unfortunately for me it was at a time when I had no car. I would have liked to seen it on a big screen. You just can't get the scope of the vistas on a 12 inch computer screen. But I wasn't ambitious enough to pedal a bicycle 25 miles to see it. Hopefully it will get another return sometime soon.

    As a kid growing up in the late 60's and 70's, we had the three major networks, NBC, ABC and CBS. Before cable the only alternative was whatever UHF stations came in clear (via primitive antenna) UHF stations had no regular programming so at night and on Saturdays and Sundays they ran old movies. My sister and I shared the big TV and if it was her turn to pick she always picked crap, so I went to the other room and watched whatever movie was showing. Got to see John Wayne and Universal horror movies that way first and the two genres are my favorites now.

    I visited the Gilcrease when I was in Tulsa a couple of yeas ago. Must've been after they took his stuff down. I think I would have remembered.

    I never really warmed up to this movie. I have stated before elsewhere that it was a shame that this was the final Howard Hawks movie, because everyone, including Wayne, seems to be just going through the motions. In particular I singled out Jennifer O'Neill. She may have been better in other movies (I actually can't recall any other movie except "Scanners" which I watched because I love movies of Philip K. Dick's work). But here I thought she was pretty bad. I'm on record as saying she could have been replaced by a mannequin and no one would have noticed the difference.

    I'm not entirely down on Christopher Mitchum, but he wasn't the equal to his daddy, that's for sure. Jorge Rivera was pretty good, but, really, a Mexican officer in the Confederate army? Maybe I just don't know my history, but it doesn't seem likely. Maybe a private...


    I actually had to look it up. Thank God for the internet. John Gabriel was "Pedro" in the film. Which is a credit to his acting ability since I thought the actor was actually Hispanic and I don't think Gabriel is.

    One thing I did know about the opening was that Olaf Weighorst (who played "the Swede") painted those opening pictures.

    OK. I'm going to go out on a limb here and risk alienating the cognoscenti. If you look at my profile you'll see that El Dorado is listed as my favorite movie of Duke's movies.

    This means, of course, that I consider it better than a lot of other top choices, but it also means that I rank it better than the movie that preceded it and is what El Dorado is considered a remake, Rio Bravo.

    It's not that I don't like Rio Bravo. Its just that I have several factors that make El Dorado seem better in my opinion. For one thing I think that Robert Mitchum pulled off the drunk sheriff much better. (Dean Martin was great in The Sons of Katie Elder, but I just didn't warm up to "The Dude")

    Second (and really this should have been first) I found the sing-a-long scene in Rio Bravo to detract from the story. I realize this was necessitated by the presence of Martin and Ricky Nelson, but it did not compute that these guys would have a sing-a-long while dozens of gunmen are outside threatening their lives.

    On the positive side of El Dorado, aside from the fact that Robert Mitchum is #3 on my list of favorite actors (behind Wayne, of course, and Burt Reynolds), I loved the Caan character. James Caan still needed a little more work to be as good as he was a few years later as Sonny Corleone, but he was good. And Christopher George was really good. Angie Dickinson was a better potential love interest than Charlene Holt (and better looking), I'll concede that point to Rio Bravo.

    This, of course, is only my opinion, and I welcome any dissenting comments, but that's the way I feel.


    "My name is Jim, but most people call me...................Jim." (My favorite quote from a movie, Blazing Saddles, is not a John Wayne movie, but Mel Brooks did try to recruit Wayne to play the Waco Kid at one point.)

    OK, so I was told by the moderator to introduce myself. My real name is Jim but I blog a movie review blog (strictly older movies, and not necessarily all John Wayne movies) on a website "The Midnite Drive-In" under the moniker of "Quiggy". (Not sure if the rules allow me to post a link, but you can Google "Midnite Drive-In" if you are interested. Be sure to use the right spelling of 'MidNITE' however as there are posers...)

    I have a very extensive John Wayne catalog. Nearly every movie that is available. I was a Wayne fan long before, but I started collecting in the early 90's because my barber shop always had a Wayne movie in the VCR when I went to get a haircut. Now the VHS tapes I started out with have been replaced by DVD. My absolute favorite Wayne movie is "El Dorado".

    I realize this is an old thread. I looked at while I was researching the film. Personally, I think the best assets in this film are in front of Janet Leigh.... That and it has some darn good aerial photography.