Saturday, August 2, 2008

"Never apologize. It's a sign of weakness."

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon is on TCMEncore Westerns tonight, followed by the wonderful Johnny Guitar.

The John Ford western features some of the most wonderful photography in cinema. Orange lights and low-lying mist, mesas and big skies, panoramas and tight squeezes.

And John Wayne was only six days away from retirement. I wonder if that was cliché back then.

He was 42 at the time. Still slim.

A lot of troopers in this movie, but no Trooper York....

Speaking of which, one of these robot blog amalgamations swipes from TY's blog and says:

Trooper York ( has great Rosie O'Donnell news, photos, videos and more


Johnny Guitar is a Joan Crawford movie set in the old West with Joan Crawford doing her Joan Crawfordy things. Melodrama and horses. Arch dialogue, almost camp at times, but earnest as a horse opera version of Gilda.

Both recommended.


  1. I noticed SWaYR was on and DVR'd it last night. Never seen it before.

  2. She Wore A Yellow Ribbon is one of the seminal works of John Ford's true cavalry trilogy along with Fort Apache and Rio Grande (which is where Trooper York appears). Captain Nathan Brittles is one of Wayne’s best roles as he plays the ultimate warrior who is unable to complete his task because of forces beyond his control. It has the entire Ford Stock company with such favorites as Victor Mclaglen as the trusty sergeant, Ben Johnson as Trooper Tyree a former Confederate officer serving in the ranks as Sergeant Tyree, John Agar and Harry Carey Jr. as young shave tails, Mildred Natwick as the wise wife of the company commander played by the great George O’Brien.

    The photography was posed and composed based on the frontier sculpture and paintings of Fredric Remington who was the most popular artist working in the themes of the American West that has remained the standard to this day.

    It has humor, romance and action in the best tradition of the old school and beats the hell out of a lot of the more explicit crap that we have out today.

    Francis Ford, who was John Ford’s smarter older brother, has another uncredited role as the barman in the fight scene where Sgt. Quincannon is being encouraged to retire. One of the many times he gives a silent performance in a talkie.

    An interesting note is that the Apaches are played by Navaho’s whose dialogue is basically obscenities and things like “Your mother has sex with dogs” in the Navaho tongue.

    The Duke gives a performance where he is still recognizably John Wayne, but he still plays a character. One of his top five performances in my book.

    It’s one of my favorite movies. Enjoy.

  3. You can't beat Johnny Guitar for over the top lesbian cowgirl fun.

  4. Ah, yes, you figure that's a lesbian subtext between Mercedes and Joan?

    It does seem to have a lot of sexual tension.

  5. The Boy was noticing that he has more trouble getting into older movies precisely because they don't get in your face.

    With his sisters running around causing havoc, it's much harder to focus on a movie that's basically characterization and dialogue in between the action, versus action-action-action-loud noise-action-etc.

    Wayne really towers over everyone, almost literally as well as an actor and a star.

    And the fight scene is awesome.

  6. Victor McLaglen was reputed to be the only actor who won the Academy Award as well as the heavyweight championship which he held as a member of the British Army. The comic fight scene is a staple of Ford which of course is best illustrated in my favorite movie of all time The Quiet Man.

  7. Joan and Mercedes were reputed to have been actually getting on during the filming of the movie, so Nicholas Ray was just working with what he had much like John Ford and the rainstorms in She Had a Yellow Ribbon. If it's right there in front of your face, you might as well use it.

  8. Troop,

    Have you ever seen John Carpenter's "They Live"?

    Best part of the movie is a Quiet Man homage with Roddy Piper and Keith David fighting.

  9. You know, if just half the stuff they said about Joan Crawford was true...

    Sort of like Angelina Jolie. I'm suspicious.

  10. Also,I had not put together that Nicholas Ray was at the helm on that film.

    My old prof Raksin scored his movie Bigger Than Life and said that for the seen where James Mason is climbing the stairs to go kill his family, Ray wanted a triumphant march on the score.

    Fortunately for film history, Raksin talked him out of it.

  11. "Trooper York" makes his appearance in "Rio Grande". I like "Yellow Ribbon" but I've always been partial to "Rio Grande" because of Maureen O'Hara.

  12. Are you telling me there's a Keith David and a David Keith??


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