Sunday, October 18, 2009

Riding with John Wayne

My wife Holly and I often watch John Wayne movies, some of them pretty often. We watch Hatari and Donovan's Reef on a regular basis (we watched the latter last night). If you ask what she wants to watch, Rio Lobo is usually mentioned. We've watched Rio Bravo and El Dorado twice each within the last month or two.

We'll watch Rio Grande, Rio Lobo, El Dorado, Angel and the Bad Man, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon or perhaps Stagecoach. I often want to watch The Quiet Man or The Hellfighters, and we'll settle on McQ, The Sons of Katie Elder or Tall In The Saddle. We watch McLintock two or three times a year.

Holly never wants to watch The Searchers, Red River, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence or Hondo. Or The Cowboys. Perhaps she perceives them as violent. In the case of The Cowboys or The Shootist, maybe she doesn't want to watch Wayne's character die. I watch them alone, same with True Grit, when she's at work, although she did watch Hondo with me a few months ago.

It's funny, but she mentioned last night that she liked Hondo because of Geraldine Page; they didn't pick an unrealistic beauty, like Grace Kelly in High Noon. Maybe she's warming to Hondo. Personally, I like John Wayne, Michael Pate (the Indian chief) and Ward Bond. Pate also played in McLintock, and he and Wayne referred to the "remembered fight" in Hondo. Pate was British, I think, but he made a wonderful Indian.

I have Trouble Along the Way with Donna Reed, Chisum, Big Jake and Islands in the Sky, an eclectic group of movies. I also have the Train Robbers and the Comancheros.

No, I don't watch all of Wayne's movies. Some of his early movies were terrible, and I've never cared to see the Voyage Home or the Green Berets.

I wasn't a big John Wayne fan when I was a kid. Now, I watch his movies regularly. Now, I am a big fan.

Or maybe I just like watching a guy named Marion Morrison.

NOTE: Tears came to my eyes when I just re-watched True Grit. I'd seen it before, when Mattie invites Rooster Cogburn to have a spot beside her in the family plot. But this time it got me; she had invited him to be family.

Trivia: The Boston Celtics' John Havlicek was nicknamed Hondo because he was a John Wayne fan.

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