Posts from Paula in thread „Books on Duke“

    Here's another new book that popped up on Amazon when I was looking around today. If anyone here reads it, would love to hear your review!

    From the publisher's webpage:

    1966. The year of change. The year of division. The middle of the 1960s, the great dividing line between what America had been, and what it became. All of it, in all its color, glory, and ugliness, came symbolically together on a hot, humid weekend in Austin, Texas.

    The protagonist? None other John “Duke” Wayne, the larger-than-life movie hero of countless Westerns and war dramas; a swashbuckling, ruggedly macho idol of America; the very embodiment of what the United States had become—the new Rome: the most powerful military, political, and cultural empire in the annals of mankind. Wayne, like the nation itself, stood astride the world in Colossus style, talking tough. Taking no prisoners.

    In September 1966, John Wayne was in Texas filming War Wagon while the integrated Trojans of the University of Southern California arrived in Austin to do battle with a powerhouse of equal stature, the all-white Texas Longhorns. The Duke, a one-time pulling guard for coach Howard Jones at USC, was there, accompanied by sycophants, and according to rumor, with spurs on.

    Wayne arrived in Austin the night before the game. Dressed to the nines, he immediately repaired to the hotel bar. He had a full entourage who hung on his every word as if uttered from the Burning Bush. So it was when the Duke ordered his first whiskey. Thus surrounded by sycophants, John Wayne bellowed opinions, bromides, and pronouncements. What happened next is subject to interpretation, for this weekend and many other details of the Duke’s “Trojan wars” are revealed and expounded upon by longtime USC historian Steven Travers.

    This book is a fly-on-the-wall exploration of this wild weekend and an immersion into the John Wayne mythology: his politics, his inspirations, the plots to assassinate him, his connections to Stalin, Khrushchev, and Chairman Mao, and the death of the Western.

    Another biography of John Wayne is on the way. The author is Scott Eyman, who wrote Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford and many other movie-related books. Publication date is April 1, 2014.

    Drawing on interviews that author Scott Eyman conducted with John Wayne before his death and more than 100 interviews with the actor’s family, co-stars, and close associates, this revelatory biography shows how both the facts and fictions about Wayne illuminate his singular life.

    John Wayne died more than thirty years ago, but he remains one of the five favorite movie stars of contemporary audiences. Yet, there has never been a comprehensive biography worthy of the man as well as the star. Until now.

    The beloved Hollywood icon comes fully to life in this complex portrait by a master biographer whose skillful prose has been hailed as “outstanding” and “compulsive reading” by reviewers from The New York Times to The Hollywood Reporter.

    The Washington Post Book World called Scott Eyman “one of the most distinguished and reliable of popular film historians.” In Eyman’s hands, this enduring symbol of American grit gets the biography he deserves.
    Exploring Wayne’s early life with a difficult mother and a feckless father, Eyman makes startling connections to his later days as an anti-Communist conservative, his stormy marriages to Latina women, and his notorious—and surprisingly long-lived—extra-marital affair with Marlene Dietrich.

    In addition to his interviews with those who knew Wayne best—many of whom had never spoken on the record before—Eyman draws on the actor’s own business records to weave a rich tapestry of American cultural history: the story of a man who went from college football to romantic lead on the silver screen, and who ultimately became the dominant—and often domineering—symbol of his country at mid-century, the quintessential American male against which all other screen heroes are compared.

    Through it all, the author provides a nuanced and sympathetic portrait that is as charming, compelling, and complicated as the Duke himself.

    Product Details

    • ISBN-13: 9781439199589
    • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    • Publication date: 4/1/2014
    • Pages: 512

    There is some information in Jensen's Ben Johnson bio not readily available on the web, mostly about his parents and Ben's early years in Oklahoma and stunt years prior to meeting John Ford. The errors I've found in it mostly have to do with incorrect movie plot descriptions or some other minor details. But Jensen didn't have an axe to grind with Ben, as far as I can tell.

    The John Wayne bio sounds like another kettle of fish entirely, however. (I haven't read it.)

    Dean Smith is one of the legendary stuntmen. He was chosen to double Ben Johnson in Cheyenne Autumn -- Ben had broken his foot and couldn't do the leap onto the back of the horse Harry Carey, Jr. was riding (Dobe was not doubled). So that's Dean Smith running up to the horse and leaping onto it. ;)

    It is one thing to support the enemy (a la Jane Fonda) but it is another thing entirely to exercise one's Constitutional freedom of expression to openly oppose a war even while it's being waged. Are we all just supposed to shut up and go along with what the government is doing even if one is adamantly against it? What about veterans who have fought in various wars and then come back and oppose them publicly even while they're still going on? Anyway, this probably belongs in the Politics thread by now so if anyone wants to continue this conversation, let's move it over there. ;)

    Well, there is that one Ben Johnson bio, The Nicest Fella, but it came out over two years ago, so it's not exactly news anymore. I have heard some info about other Ben bios in the works but it's all pretty much faint rumor rather than actual news.

    I am definitely looking forward to the Ford/Wayne/Bond book! :)

    Not sure yet if I'll be able to get to Winterset this year but I'll know later on in the spring. :) I'd sure love to be able to tell Miss O'Hara thank you for everything from a fan -- and then get a quote from her about Ben Johnson! ;)

    Speaking of John Wayne books, I just got that big doorstopper of a coffee table book John Wayne: The Man and the Legend and it's worth every penny. Not much text but what's there is really nice, and the oversized pictures are to die for! (Although, not one with Ben in the entire book, at least as far as I can see.)

    -- Paula the girl with the one-track mind ;)

    Martin Scorsese is an incredibly perceptive writer and thinker about film. I have not liked every movie he's made but some I have loved. I will always hold a warm place in my heart for him for his tireless work in promoting and restoring the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, two of my favorite filmmakers. (I do not understand his obsession with Leonardo DiCaprio, who has the same effect on me as fingernails down a blackboard.)

    The films of John Ford and John Wayne the actor have been huge influences on Scorsese since he was a boy. The Searchers is on the list of Scorsese's top ten best American films, and the screenplay for Taxi Driver (written by Paul Schrader) was inspired in part by The Searchers. Wayne is on the cover of Scorsese's book A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (a companion volume to a documentary).

    What exactly makes Scorsese anti-American? Specific examples or analysis please, not just "he's a liberal" or his movies are "violent."

    Lasbugas -- I had already tried to find this Photoplay on ebay but without any luck. I'm not sure what you mean by "I did not cover this Photoplay" but if there is any additional information you can give me as to what issue this came from I would greatly appreciate it. That would help me find a copy for my collection.