Archive for John Wayne

The War Wagon

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

John Wayne and Kirk Douglas spend half of The War Wagon trying to knock one another off and the other half working shoulder to shoulder. Settling an old score with avaricious mine owner Bruce Cabot, Wayne plans to steal a $500,000 gold shipment from his enemy. Douglas, at first hired by Cabot to kill Wayne, goes along with the robbery scheme. Also in on the plan is Howard Keel, superbly cast as a world-weary, wisecracking Native American (it’s the sort of part that nowadays would go to Graham Greene). The titular war wagon is the armor-plated, Gatling-gun fortified stagecoach wherein Cabot’s gold is transported. Thus the stage is set for a slam-bang finale, and director Burt Kennedy isn’t about to disappoint the viewers.

What people are saying:

“…that comparative rarity, a Western filmed with quiet good humor. It is also a point of departure for John Wayne, who plays a bad guy for just about the first time in his career” 4 stars

“John Wayne (in his 162nd film) joins forces with Kirk Douglas in this revenge Western that propagates rather dangerously vigilante justice, a theme Clint Eastwood will carry to an extreme in the Dirty Harry pictures.” 3 1/2 stars

“The expected clash of two headliners in the same Western is not as apparent as expected, it plays out as a mildly amusing adventure with Douglas’ lighter approach helping to offset Wayne who is as ever unchanged in another gunfighter role.” 3 stars

“This is a “caper” film, about what would be a heist in other circumstances. Since the ethics of the perpetrators are those which should have made the authorities make the robbery unnecessary, their act is justified in this situation. This noir western is a bit slick-appearing at some times; but it is physically attractive, has a good cast portraying colorful and somewhat desperate characters, and a strong theme song. Dimitri Tiomkin supplied the very capable score; and Burt Kennedy did a solid job of directing throughout. The very appealing storyline concerns Taw Jackson, played ably by John Wayne, who returns from prison to get back what he can from Bruce Cabot, who stole his ranch and framed him. All he can do is to recruit a group of “mission fighters”, beginning with the man who had shot him 5 years earlier, Lomax, played by dynamic Kirk Douglas-and raid the “war wagon”–his enemy’s vehicle for transporting gold, a Gatling-Gun-equipped armored stagecoach. Taw’s team includes a drunken young dynamite expert he met in prison Robert Walker Jr., Keenan Wynn who is insanely jealous of his young wife, Valora Noland as the wife, Levi Walking Bear in the charismatic person of Howard Keel, his liaison to needed Indian allies, and more. Gene Evans, Joanna Barnes, Ann McRea, Terry Wilson and Frank Mcgrath are among those also doing good professional work in this interesting narrative. Only Noland is a bit weak in this cast. There are some humorous lines and interesting character moments as Wayne assembles his group and plots an attack worthy of “The Dirty Dozen” or “Where Eagles Dare”, involving trees that fall at the right moment, Indians faking an attack as a diversion, dynamite used to block off access to a bridge, and a log that swings down and opens the rolling piggy bank violently. What happens after this successful robbery leads to a compromised denouement and ending; but the film is vividly put together, professionally mounted and decently scripted by Clair Huffaker from his own novel. The film stands as a reminder of what any well-made film about an ethical central character can provide relative to any un-ethical and not-fictional man’s story competing for a cinema viewer’s attention. Moments such as Wayne’s visit to his ranch and his talk with the man who stole it, the recruiting of Lomax, the relations of the group, and the raid itself are all memorable. Underrated and always visually interesting.” 4 stars

“Fun tongue in cheek Western that survives an initial slow start to be entertaining afterwards throughout. Both John Wayne and Kirk Douglas do great and have tremendous on screen chemistry together. Their friendly,competitive rivalry that mirrors their off screen persona’s. Works extremely well and carries what would have otherwise been an average western. Even though they had their differences in real life, such as politics, you can tell they had a real respect for one another, and this movie does a good job of capturing that. One of the few roles that put the Duke on the wrong side of the law. Let down by the Western scenery, but was impressed with Howard Keel. I liked it but seeing Wayne and Douglas jell as well as they did makes me wish they could have joined together for a better Western. Good but unspectacular movie is highlighted by a hilarious bar room brawl and an extremely catchy theme.” 3 1/2 stars

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The Longest Day

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

This Oscar-winning war epic chronicles World War II’s harrowing D-Day invasion. Shot on the beaches of Normandy, France, the ambitious film attempts to cover the historic day from all perspectives, focussing on both sides of the conflict.

What people are saying:

“In my opinion, the best, most amazing war movie ever made! This movie completely puts Saving Private Ryan to shame. SPR’s token scene, the landing at Normandy, pails in comparison… only 20 minutes and light on extras compared to The Longest Day’s hour-long assault and gigantic assault force. SPR is the modern man’s watered-down, narrow-focused, grisly action-centered dish… but The Longest Day is the entire meal, offering the total picture of the D-Day invasion, from the executive planning to the troop preparation to the parachute troops, ground attack, and beach assault. This is THE movie for war and history buffs. Also, if you like SPR, I think you owe it to yourself to see the original D-Day movie that was written and made by the WWII generation. Requires an interest in how the whole D-Day operation played out, as well as the little bit of patience to handle a 3-hour 1962 war movie, but an otherwise HIGHLY recommended movie for anyone, especially war and history enthusiasts.” 5 stars

“The longest movie about the longest day. It’s informative and interesting but certainly could have been done in less time. A bit too much jumping around from the Americans to the Brits to the French to the Germans to get everyone’s perspective of the same scene / event. Some of the actors were obnoxiously overdoing it – like that German pilot Pip. Would have been much more effective to have the French and Germans speaking in their native tongues. I don’t mind subtitles at all” 3 stars

“Greatness from the days when films could commit to a topic and stay with it – where today, u wud have made up romances and other distractions to try to please everyone. Of course the cast is loaded with classic American Actors, but to me it’s the German actors! (who actually speak German, which was not the norm in Hollywood then) who steal the movie scenes and really make the film great and real. The running time of the movie was perfect (to me), given the pace and detail the film covers leading up 2 this historic day. Like any great long film u like, u won’t even be thinking of that and well, u have a pause button if u need it” 5 stars

“How appropriate to name a movie to the running time! This was way too long for watch during one sitting, but I am sure that’s how WW II felt like for those who fought and lived through it. ” 3 stars

“This film is now over fifty years old, but holds up very well as one of the best films about D-Day. The long list of big name stars are largely used in appropriate roles. Being filmed in B&W was also a better choice than color. The 3-hour running time was necessary to tell the story, although some early scenes before the invasion are gratuitous. Most of the dialogue is decent, although the scene where the screenwriters felt it necessary to make sure we realize that General Roosevelt was the son of T.R. was a little silly because I’m sure that nothing like this ever took place. One of the most memorable roles was Robert Mitchum as Norman Cota. The director also must have sat on Red Buttons to keep him from mugging his way through his role. ” 4 stars

In Harm’s Way

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

John Wayne stars as U.S. Navy Captain Rockwell “Rock” Torrey, a divorced “second generation Navy” son of a career Chief Petty Officer. A Naval Academy graduate and career officer, Torrey is removed from command of his heavy cruiser for “throwing away the book” when pursuing the enemy and then being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Kirk Douglas portrays Torrey’s executive officer, Commander (later Captain) Paul Eddington, a wayward sort of career officer who has resigned as a Naval Aviator and returned to the Surface Navy because of an unhappy marriage. His wife’s numerous “love” affairs and drunken escapades have become the talk of Honolulu and her death during the Pearl Harbor attack – in the company of an Army Air Corps Officer (Hugh O’Brian), with whom she just had a wild fling on a local beach – drives Eddington into a bar brawl with a group of other Army Air Corps officers, a subsequent stint in the Pearl Harbor brig, and exile as the “…officer in charge of piers and warehouses…” in what he calls a “backwater island purgatory.”

After several months of desk duty ashore in Hawaii and recuperation from a broken arm he suffered in the attack on his cruiser, Torrey finds his way into a romance with a divorced Navy Nurse Corps Lieutenant named Maggie Haynes (Patricia Neal), who tells him that his estranged son Jeremiah (Brandon De Wilde) is now an Ensign in the Naval Reserve on active duty, assigned to a PT boat, and dating Maggie’s roommate, a Nurse Corps Ensign. A brief and strained visit with Jeremiah brings Torrey in on a South Pacific island-hopping offensive codenamed “Skyhook”, which is under command of the overly cautious and micro-managing Vice Admiral B.T. Broderick (Dana Andrews). On additional information from his BOQ roommate, Commander Egan Powell (Burgess Meredith), a thrice-divorced Hollywood film writer and Naval Reserve intelligence officer recalled to active duty, Torrey guesses that the aim of Skyhook is to capture a strategic island named Levu-Vana, whose central plain would make an ideal airfield site for Army Air Forces B-17 squadrons. Shortly thereafter, Maggie informs him that her unit is to be shipped out to the same area in preparation for the offensive.

Maggie’s roommate, a young nurse, Ensign Annalee Dohrn (Jill Haworth), has been dating Torrey’s son. Jere is arrogant and conspiring with a superior officer, a former congressman named Commander Neal Owynn (Patrick O’Neal), to do as little as possible in combat. Dohrn’s romance with Jere ends and Eddington develops an interest in her. In the meantime, Torrey’s loyal and resourceful young flag lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander William “Mac” McConnell (Tom Tryon), uses a 30-day leave to get reacquainted with wife Beverly (Paula Prentiss), a civilian observer for the Navy who worries that Mac will be killed in action and wants a child.

Come the summer of 1942, Torrey is promoted to Rear Admiral by the Pacific fleet’s commander-in-chief (Henry Fonda), who then gives him tactical command of Skyhook, an assignment requiring the same sort of guts and gallantry he previously displayed as commanding officer of his cruiser. Torrey personally selects Paul Eddington to be his Chief of Staff, and infuriates Broderick by immediately planning and executing an operation to overrun Gavabutu, an island to be used as a staging base for the invasion of Levu-Vana. Owynn is now Broderick’s aide, with Jere still by his side.

The Japanese have withdrawn their garrisons from Gavabutu, making it an easy capture. But as Torrey turns his undivided attention to Levu-Vana, his attempts to secure more material and manpower are frustrated by General Douglas MacArthur’s simultaneous and much larger campaign in the Solomon Islands. Reconnaissance aircraft prove especially difficult to come by, and surface combatant forces amount to little more than several cruisers and destroyers, including Torrey’s former command. When the mission succeeds, Jere recognizes the disloyalty of Owynn and Broderick and gains a new regard for his father.

Eddington’s instability drives him to rape Dohrn, who is now engaged to Torrey’s son. The traumatized nurse, fearing she might be pregnant, tries to tell him but he doesn’t believe her. She then commits suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills. As the truth is about to be revealed, Eddington – still a qualified aviator – commandeers a PBJ patrol bomber and flies solo on an unauthorized reconnaissance flight to locate elements of the Japanese fleet. Engaged, shot and killed by Japanese Zero fighters, he goes down in a fiery death in a redeeming act of sacrifice, finding and giving advance warning of a large Japanese task force centered around the super-battleship Yamato, on its way to blast Torrey’s much smaller force off the islands.

Despite the new seaborne threat, Torrey nevertheless mounts the invasion of Levu-Vana and proceeds with a nothing-to-be-lost attempt to turn back the enemy force. Tragically, his son Jere is killed during a nighttime PT boat action when he is rammed by a Japanese destroyer. The following morning sees a pitched surface action off the shores of Levu-Vana, with the Americans drawing first blood and the Yamato decimating much of the U.S. force in response. Many lives are lost, Powell’s among them. Severely injured at the height of the battle resulting in the amputation of his left leg, Torrey is rescued by his flag lieutenant, LCDR McConnell, and is returned to Pearl Harbor aboard a Navy hospital ship under Maggie’s care. Expecting to be court-martialed, Torrey is instead congratulated by CINCPAC for successfully repelling the Japanese advance and allowing his Marines to take Levu-Vana. Although Torrey has lost a leg, he is told he will get a metal leg and then command a task force and ‘stump his way to Tokyo’ with the rest of the Americans forces. Torrey is happy for the moment and lapses into sleep.

REVIEW:

On Friday, I lost a friend who actually fought in World War II. Oh, the stories that man, at 92 years young, could tell. It got me thinking, especially with everything going on in this country over race, gay rights, etc. The “greatest generation” is dying off, and this is what they are seeing in their final days? Ugh! At any rate, I felt I needed to go back to a WWII film, so this is we have In Harm’s Way.

What is this about?

This World War II epic focuses on the effect the Pearl Harbor attack had on military lives. After a failed counterstrike on the Japanese, Capt. Torrey gets shore duty, finds love with a nurse, reconciles with his son and is finally sent back to sea.

What did I like?

On the ground. History is well documented as to what happened December 7, 1941. In movies, pictures, etc., we see the planes flying over, boats ready to attack, and the military springing to action. What we don’t normally see is what happened to the normal people who lived on this island as the attack was happening. Many of them were killed just for living on the island, others ran in fear in hopes of finding someplace safe. I’m sure there are other films that show this aspect of the attack, but this is the first one that really accentuates it, at least that I’ve seen.

Stand still. Patricia Neal is not an actress I would consider “conventional leading lady beauty.” What I mean by that is that she falls somewhere between Peggy from Man Men and a mix of Lauren Bacall and Bette Davis. Not unattractive, just not on the level of the likes of Ava Gardner, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, etc. With that said, one cannot question that she earned this role and held her own with it…and most of her scenes were with John Wayne!!! I was impressed that she was able to do the romantic stuff because the only other thing I’ve seen her in is The Day the Earth Stood Still. The main character in there is devoid of emotions and the man she starts out in a relationship with just has no chemistry with her. I guess nearly 15 years is enough to learn how to emote on screen a bit.

Cast of characters. This is an expansive and impressive cast with names like John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Caroll O’Connor, Burgess Meredith, Patricia Neal, Barbara Bouchet, etc. Those names are impressive on their own, but what is more of a feat is that the script was smart enough to give them each an independent story, without sacrificing screen time. Yes, Wayne is the star, but there’s plenty of room for Meredith and O’Connor’s characters, and more. Maybe some of today’s screenwriters should take note on how to budget out time for each character without losing valuable plot time.

What didn’t I like?

Fight. You would think that in this nearly 3 hour film, I would be chomping at the bit for the action scenes, right? Well, surprisingly, that would be a wrong assumption. Normally, I’d be getting antsy, just waiting for something to happen in a film like thins, but because it is written so well, I found the battle scenes to be nothing more than just some kids out there playing with their toys. Did this have to be? No, but the filmmakers obviously weren’t well-versed in filming action scenes and they just didn’t have that extra punch that was needed to get the audience into the climax.

Rape. There is rape in this film, or at least as much rape as one can get away with on-screen in the early 60s. Kirk Douglas’ character gets agitated at a young nurse on the beach and has his way with her. As it turns out, she gets pregnant and eventually kills herself. Believe it or not, it isn’t the rape that I have issue with, though let me be clear that rape is not something I condone. It is the fact that Douglas is able to get away with it without anyone even suspecting him of anything until it is too late. Basically, he gets away with it! WTF?!?

Period piece. The opening scene is a party of some sort. Ok, this is before the bomb drops on Pearl Harbor, so no big deal, right? Wrong! This is a film set in the 40s, but there were many modern (remember this was made in 1965) clothes and hairstyles to be seen, including the dress that Barbara Bouchet’s character was wearing. This isn’t the only time modern-day made it into this film. Some of the boats and weaponry weren’t period accurate, either. What kind of trick were they trying to pull here?

The last World War II movie, excluding documentaries, that I watched and really enjoyed was Pearl Harbor, I believe. In Harm’s Way may very well be a better film. I need to watch both films again to give a fair comparison. While a bit longer than I feel it needs to be, this a film that tells a tale from the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor to the US entering the war. John Wayne is a scaled back version of what we are used to, as he isn’t playing up the macho hero, instead he is flexing his acting chops (and showing he can do things outside of westerns). This is an incredible film with very few flaws that I highly recommend!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Hondo

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At a remote ranch in the desert of New Mexico Territory, homesteader Angie Lowe (Geraldine Page) and her six year-old son Johnny (Lee Aaker) come upon a stranger (John Wayne) on foot coming towards their ranch, carrying only his saddle bags and a rifle. The man tells them only his last name, Lane, and that he was riding dispatch for the US Army Cavalry. He had lost his horse in an encounter with some Indians a few days before, and offers US Army scrip or work for one of her horses. Angie tells Lane that her ranch hand had quit recently and hadn’t had a chance to break her two horses for riding, so Lane offers to break a horse himself. He also asks where her husband is, and she says he is rounding up calves and cattle in the mountains and should return soon.

Johnny watches with fascination as Lane saddles one of the horses and rides the bucking and untamed animal with ease. Lane also offers to do a few chores around the ranch, including sharpening an axe and chopping firewood. Lane deduces by the neglected work around the ranch that her husband has not been at the ranch for some time, a fact she confesses is true. When night falls and it starts to rain, Angie offers to let Lane sleep in her home on a floor bed in the corner. Angie sees that the butt of his rifle is inscribed “Hondo” Lane, whom she knows had killed three men the year before, but doesn’t know the circumstances. She attempts to shoot him, but due to the first chamber being empty for safety, Hondo is not hurt. He loads the chamber and tells her to keep it that way and keep it high, out of Johnny’s reach.

Hondo leaves Angie and Johnny at the ranch and returns to his Cavalry post, where he meets up with his friend Buffalo Baker (Ward Bond). He reports to his commanding officer that C troop, which was sent to gather and bring in settlers to the north, is not coming back. He found their company guidon on two Indians, whom he subsequently killed. It is now clear to the Major (Paul Fix) that all of the Apache nation is raiding and killing settlers. At the ranch, Angie and Johnny are beset by Apaches, led by Chief Vittorio (Michael Pate) and his main under-chief, Silva (Rodolfo Acosta). Angie is not made nervous by their presence as she has always let them use their water, and they had never attacked her family before. Soon, however, they are manhandling Angie, and Johnny emerges from the house with the loaded pistol and shoots at Silva, nicking Silva in the head and then, as Silva recovers and approaches him, he throws the pistol at Silva. Vittorio is impressed by Johnny’s bravery and makes him an Apache blood brother by cutting Johnny’s thumb with a knife and giving him an Apache name. Vittorio also wonders where Angie’s husband is and she tells him that he’ll return soon. Vittorio tells her that unless her husband does so, she must take an Apache husband because the boy needs a father to teach him to become a man.

A night or two later in a saloon, Hondo calls a friend from his poker game, but one of the poker players objects. He and Hondo get into a fight, and Hondo beats up the man badly, driving him out the door. Buffalo Baker tells Hondo the man called himself “Ed Lowe” (Leo Gordon), and Hondo suspects he might be Angie’s missing husband. Feeling guilty, he leaves the fort to return Angie’s horse to her. Seeking revenge for the bar beating, Lowe and an accomplice (Frank McGrath) follow Hondo through the desert as he makes his way to Angie’s ranch. Hondo camps near a river but leaves it when he detects two Indians stalking him nearby. Lowe enters the camp and he and his guide are attacked by the two Indians. The guide is killed, but Hondo shoots and kills an Apache about to kill Lowe. Lowe is briefly grateful but turns his gun on Hondo in retaliation for the bar beating. Hondo defends himself, killing Lowe. Hondo finds a tintype of Johnny alongside Lowe’s body, confirming that Lowe is Johnny’s father and Angie’s husband.

Continuing towards Lowe’s ranch, Hondo runs into an Apache party, who pursue Hondo through the desert. He kills several but they eventually capture him. They take Hondo to the top of a nearby mesa when Vittorio appears. They stake him out and begin to torture and prepare to kill him because he is wearing his old Army hat and they wish to find out the location and number of the Cavalry soldiers. An Indian shows Vittorio the picture of Johnny from Hondo’s saddlebag, and Vittorio thinks Hondo is Angie’s husband. He orders the Indians to untie him; and Silva declares the blood rite as Hondo had killed his brother. Knives are used in the fight of the blood rite. Silva wounds Hondo in the shoulder, but Hondo pins Silva to the ground. Hondo puts his knife to Silva’s throat, and gives him the option to take back the blood rite or die as did his brother. Silva gives in. Vittorio takes Hondo to Angie’s ranch, and when Vittorio asks if Hondo is her husband, she lies, saving Hondo. The Chief warns Hondo to raise Johnny in the Apache way and leaves them.

While Hondo recuperates from his wounds, he shows her the picture of Johnny that he tells her he took from Lowe’s body. She asks if he died well, and Hondo pauses before saying that he had. Over the next few weeks, Hondo and Angie grow closer. Hondo and Angie express their growing love for each other. Hondo attempts to reveal the truth of her husband’s death, but is interrupted by Vittorio’s sudden appearance. Vittorio tells them that the pony soldiers will soon return. He asks Hondo not to join them and to keep the Indian’s location a secret. Hondo promises to do the first but not the latter, and Vittorio shows respect for Hondo’s truthfulness. Angie tells him she loves him, and they cement their relationship with a kiss.

The Army arrives at the ranch, commanded by an ambitious, inexperienced young Lt. McKay (Tom Irish) and accompanied by scouts Baker and Lennie (James Arness). McKay is determined to protect the settlers in the area by relocating them to the Army post and defend the area against Apache attacks. Lennie reveals that he discovered Lowe’s body and matched the horse tracks to Hondo’s horse. He wants Hondo’s Winchester rifle in exchange for keeping quiet about how Hondo bushwhacked Lowe. Angie overhears Lennie’s demands.

Hondo prepares to leave, but before he goes, he tells her the truth about her husband’s death. Hondo is also intent on telling Johnny, but she persuades him not to, telling Hondo she didn’t love her husband any longer and had grown tired of his womanizing and gambling. She says it would be an unkind thing to tell the boy about the true nature of his father’s death and that the secret won’t follow them to Hondo’s ranch in California. Hondo responds to her emotional plea with an Indian word that seals a squaw-seeking ceremony, “Varlabania”, which he tells her means “forever”. The Army leaves to move further on into Apache territory and as promised Hondo refuses to go with them but confirms with Buffalo that he knows where Vittorio and his party are and that the young Lt. is leading them into a massacre. Buffalo knows but he also knows that scouts such as himself have been helping to train young West Point officers for many years.

The Army returns after being ambushed by the Apaches, suffering heavy casualties including wounds to Lt. McKay. Vittorio had been killed, causing the Apaches to retreat so they can regroup and select a new chief. Hondo, Angie and Johnny join the Cavalry and settlers and head to the fort. The group is attacked by the Apaches, now led by Silva, and the group circles their wagons. They escape the encirclement twice but the Apaches continue their pursuit. Hondo loses his mount and is attacked by Silva, but Hondo kills him, retrieving Lt. McKay’s uniform shirt from his body. The Indians retreat again to choose a replacement chief.

Lt. McKay says that General Crook will be arriving in the territory with a large force to pursue the Apache. Hondo sadly notes the end of the Apache “way of life,” denoting that it is too bad as it was a good way. The movie ends with the idea that once back to the fort, Hondo, Angie and Johnny would continue on to Hondo’s ranch in California as a family

REVIEW:

I was doing a little research just now on Hondo and it turns out that this was John Wayne’s return to the western genre after a three-year absence. It is safe to say that if you know anything about John Wayne, it is that he is synonymous with westerns, but the guy has made a few outside of the genre. I may check one of those out soon. At any rate, is Wayne’s return successful and is this a watchable film, or just another run of the mill western?

What is this about?

An antisocial half-breed who splits his time between the white man and the Apache develops an unlikely friendship with a New Mexico farm wife.

What did I like?

Cowboys and Indians. A good ol’ fashioned showdown between cowboys and Indians. Man, it has been some time since I’ve watched a western that pits these two against each other. Think the last one might have been The Searchers, since then I think all the westerns I’ve seen, except for maybe 2 or 3 have targeted the Mexicans. As you can imagine, going back to basics, as it were, it a real treat.

Hint at violence. One would think that with this kind of film, we’d get lots of blood splattered all over the place, but that would be an incorrect assumption. This is going to sound extremely hypocritical of me, especially after praising the violence in Kingsman: The Secret Service, but I actually liked that there was no real violence. Sure there is the gunfight at the end, this is a western, after all. Also, we are privy to murder, a dog being impaled, knife fights, etc. In today’s society, this would have all been shown, perhaps in its bloody brilliance, but as we can learn from these old films, sometimes it is what you don’t show that makes the most impact.

Medusa. Geraldine Page doesn’t have the looks you would expect a leading lady in a major motion picture to have. That sounded really mean, but it is true. However, as you watch her character, you can see that she most definitely has some serious acting chops. No wonder she was nominated for an Oscar in this role. She goes toe to toe with Wayne and delivers a powerful monologue about her feelings towards him and the conflict about her husband. It is the kind of stuff that is sure to blow you away.

What didn’t I like?

Apaches. There was something off about these Apaches. First, let me compliment the film for not spray tanning some actors to make them look like they were Native American, or if they did, at least getting better spray paint. It may have been the costumes they were outfitted in, but I didn’t feel like I needed to run in fear of these Indians. They might as well have been the Go-Go Gophers! I can’t tell you what it is about that made them not intimidating, but whatever it is wasn’t working for me.

Notorious gunfighter. Early on in the film, Geraldine Page’s character comes across Wayne’s gun and the plate on it. It turns out that he is a notorious gunman with quite a few kills under his belt, but that’s all we hear about it. For the rest of the film, not a peep, whisper, or anything is said further about this tidbit of information that was obviously of some importance. Seems to me like it should have been more of a plot point, but what do I know?

Duke. I really hate to say this, but it is becoming more and more apparent that Wayne’s movies follow a certain pattern, especially his characters. I don’t mind him being the tough guy hero, but may times he ends up falling for the widow woman and single-handedly defeats the enemy. If he was around today, we’d want him to put on a pair of tights and be a superhero. Hey, they haven’t announced Vigilante for anything yet. Can you imagine John Wayne as him? Seriously, though, did this guy have any range? I’m starting to question if he did.

All in all, Hondo was pretty enjoyable, albeit predictable. A friend of mine said this could best be described as “a Hot Pocket of westerns”. What she meant by that is it has everything you want and will satisfy you for a little bit, but in the long run, you’ll want something more substantial. Don’t get me wrong, this is a really good flick, just not as good as others in the genre. Do I recommend it? Yes and no. I think you should see it, just don’t go out of your way. Chances are AMC will play it more than a few times this year on their western Saturday block of movies.

4 out of 5 stars

The Sons of Katie Elder

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The four adult sons of Katie Elder – John (John Wayne), who is a famous (or infamous) professional gunman; Tom (Dean Martin), a professional gambler; Bud (Michael Anderson, Jr.), the youngest brother, still in school; and Matt (Earl Holliman), an unsuccessful hardware dealer – reunite in their hometown of Clearwater, Texas, in 1898 for their mother’s funeral, sharing regret that none of them has lived up to her high expectations of them.

The townspeople are unfriendly, to John and Tom in particular. Katie Elder was extremely well liked by everyone in the community, who were all aware of her honesty, her poverty and her undying love for the sons who neglected her. The brothers want to do something for Katie’s sake, and their plan is to send youngest son Bud to college, raising money through a sale of another man’s herd of horses, even though Bud wants to emulate his eldest brother.

Morgan Hastings (James Gregory), a gunsmith and rising entrepreneur, claims ownership of the Elders’ ranch, saying he won it from their father in a game of cards; Bass Elder afterwards was shot in the back, and the killer is still unknown. Hastings hides a hostile attitude towards the brothers and brings in a hired gun, Curley (George Kennedy), just in case. The Elders suspect foul play. Hastings claims Bass lost the ranch in a game of Blackjack, so John, in a ruse, states their father wouldn’t have been caught dead playing Blackjack.

When Hastings learns about the brothers’ investigations, he frames them for murder of the sheriff (Paul Fix). Then, not content with seeing them go to prison, Hastings arranges an ambush in which Matt is killed and Bud seriously injured. John and Tom take it upon themselves to avenge the family.

Tom manages to kidnap Hasting’s weak-willed son Dave (Dennis Hopper), although he is seriously injured in the process. Hastings shoots his own boy in an attempt to prevent him from testifying. In the presence of John Elder and the local judge, a wounded Dave manages to relate the tale of his father’s crimes before he dies. John takes up arms and sends Hastings to meet his maker inside his own gun store

REVIEW:

Well, it is the last day of the year 2014. Guess I should end with something that should theoretically be a good watch, right? Since Netflix is forcing my hand and telling my that The Sons of Katie Elder will be leaving instant streaming tomorrow, I guess I don’t have much choice in the matter and need to get this film watched. What will the verdict on it be, though?

What is this about?

John Wayne stars as the eldest of four Elder brothers who reunite in Texas to bury their mother and investigate the death of their father. But a meddling sheriff and a rival gang have other plans for the brothers, and soon the air is thick with lead.

What did I like?

Brotherly love. Four brothers come together for their mother’s funeral. Given the circumstances in which the two oldest and the youngest left, it is no wonder that they are at each other’s throats. There is hurt there from feelings of abandonment, or maybe it is just sibling rivalry. At any case, the film does a great job of making these guys feel as if they really are brothers but, let’s face it, that is some age gap between John Wayne and the youngest. Not to mention who in the world would believe that Wayne and Dean Martin are brothers?

No shades of gray. It has been said that westerns, especially the spaghetti westerns, cloud the moral code to the point that you can’t tell who is the good and who is bad (or ugly, too?) It is pretty clear who is good and bad with this film. I would go so far as to say the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys wear black, but the sheriff is wearing a black hat. Still, the moral ambiguity that has become commonplace today is not on display. Instead we get characters that clearly portray to the audience whether they are right or wrong.

Scenic Clearwater. Westerns are underrated when it comes to scenery. I say this because most assume that all that can be seen is tumbleweed, dirty towns, and maybe a farm or two. With that said, there isn’t much in the way of a town to be seen in this film, but when they go out into the frontier, well, it is beautiful open space. The kind of land that we just don’t see anymore because America is so “developed”. One has to just take in the beauty of nature, if only for a few seconds.

What didn’t I like?

Just the facts. While this is loosely based on a true story, that is not my issue with the film, but rather the way no one would give our heroes any answers. They all seemed to either clam up or dance around the questions. Why is that? I cannot tell you, but it made for a good mystery. Thing is, this isn’t a mystery film, nor did it try to go down that route. However, going that way may have helped it, as it would have given us something new and different, rather than the same old stuff we typically get from films of this nature.

Little brother. Myself and many of my ilk seem to have a real issue with kids and teenager in today’s film, and society for that matter. They are annoying and disrespectful. I don’t know about you, but had I talked back and cussed out my parents, I’d have been slapped into the next millennium! Today’s kids can do that and if the parents do anything about it, they’re quick to yell child abuse. Ugh! What has our society devolved into? The youngest Elder son, while not that level of disrespectful, does seem to have a hint of it in him. I think this was done to give him some character, but he needs to respect his Elders more (see what I did there), as well as stop complaining about college and go.

Single white female. Aside from the red herring that is the deceased Katie Elder, the only female that is seen or heard from is Mary Gordon. Miss Mary is someone who had a close relationship with Katie and appears to have caught the eye of her eldest son. Thing is, though, she doesn’t serve any real purpose in the film other than to just be a female presence and cause some uncomfortable flirting from Wayne. Does she contribute to the plot in any way? No. Is she eye candy? Well, she’s not an eye sore, but I wouldn’t exactly call her eye candy, at least in this role. Like I said, she’s exists to exist.

The Sons of Katie Elder was quite entertaining and well-made, though I am starting to wonder if John Wayne can do anything other than play the tough guy in thee westerns. On the flip side, Elmer Bernstein provided a great score for this flick, very similar to his work in The Magnificent Seven. While there are better westerns out there, this is still a very good, quality film. For those that want to introduce the family to the genre, but are too scared of the violence, maybe this is one you should consider. Yes, there are fights, drinking, and gunfights, but compared to many of the other westerns, it is quite tame. So, do I recommend it? Yes, very highly!

4 1/3 out of 5 stars

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Senator Ransom “Ranse” Stoddard (James Stewart) and his wife Hallie (Vera Miles) arrive in the frontier town of Shinbone by train to attend the funeral of Tom Doniphon (John Wayne). As they make their way toward the undertaker’s establishment to pay their respects to the deceased, a reporter (Joseph Hoover) and his editor, Maxwell Scott (Carleton Young) approach and ask Stoddard to explain why a United States Senator would make the long journey from Washington just to attend the funeral of a local rancher.

Stoddard’s story flashes back 25 years to his arrival in Shinbone as a young, idealistic attorney. His stagecoach is robbed by a gang of outlaws led by Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). When Stoddard takes Valance to task for robbing old ladies of their heirlooms, he is brutally beaten. In town, restaurant owner Peter Ericson (John Qualen), his wife Nora (Jeanette Nolan), and employee Hallie tend to his injuries, and explain that Shinbone’s townsfolk are regularly victimized by Valance. Link Appleyard (Andy Devine), the town marshal, has neither the courage nor the gunfighting skills to challenge Valance; Doniphon (who loves Hallie and plans to ask her to marry him) is the only man willing to stand up to him.

When Stoddard, the naive “pilgrim” (as Doniphon dubs him), opens a law practice in town, Doniphon and many others believe him crazy for inviting retribution from Valance, who cannot abide any challenge to his “authority”. Force, Doniphan explains, is the only thing Valance understands; he advises Stoddard to either flee the territory or buy a gun. Stoddard maintains he will do neither; he is an advocate for justice under the law, not brute force. He earns the town’s respect by refusing to knuckle under to Valance, and by founding a school to teach reading and writing to illiterate townspeople — including Hallie.

Stoddard does buy a gun, however; and when Doniphon sees that he is trying to teach himself to use it, he brings Stoddard to his house for a shooting lesson. During target practice he shoots a hole in a paint can, splattering paint on Stoddard’s suit, explaining that this is the sort of trickery that he can expect from Valance. Infuriated, Stoddard punches him in the jaw and leaves.

Shinbone’s residents meet to elect two delegates for a statehood convention at the territorial capital. Doniphon nominates Stoddard for one of the positions, because he “knows the law, and throws a mean punch”. Stoddard addresses the group, explaining that statehood will benefit the people of the territory through improvements in infrastructure, safety, and education. The area’s cattle barons, who oppose statehood and the new regulations that it would bring, hire Valance to sabotage the effort. He interrupts the meeting and attempts to bully the townspeople into electing him as a delegate, but Stoddard defies him yet again. The townspeople elect Stoddard and Dutton Peabody (Edmond O’Brien), publisher of the local newspaper, prompting Valance to challenge Stoddard to a gunfight. Doniphon again advises Stoddard to leave town, but Stoddard maintains that he still believes in the rule of law (even though Link will do nothing to help him), and he is willing to risk his life for his principles.

That evening, after Valance and his gang (Lee Van Cleef and Strother Martin) assault Peabody and trash his newspaper office, Stoddard goes into the street to face Valance. Valance toys with Stoddard, shooting a pottery vase near his head, and then his right arm, knocking his gun to the ground. He condescendingly allows Stoddard to retrieve his gun. The next bullet, he says, will be “right between the eyes”; but Stoddard fires first, and to everyone’s shock, Valance falls dead. Doniphon watches Hallie as she lovingly cares for Stoddard’s wounds, then heads for the saloon to drown his sorrows. At his homestead, in a drunken rage, he sets fire to the addition that he has just finished in anticipation of asking Hallie to marry him. His ranch hand, Pompey (Woody Strode), rescues him from the inferno, but the house is destroyed.

At the statehood convention, Peabody nominates Stoddard as the territory’s delegate to Washington, but his “unstatesmanlike” conduct is challenged by a rival candidate. Stoddard decides that his opponent is right; he cannot be entrusted with public service after killing a man in a gunfight. Seeing Stoddard’s reluctance, Doniphon takes him aside and confides that he, Doniphon, actually killed Valance from an alley across the street, firing at the same time as Stoddard. Doniphon explains that he knows Hallie loves Stoddard; he shot Valance to secure her happiness. Reinspired, Stoddard returns to the convention, accepts the nomination, and is elected to the Washington delegation.

The flashback ends, and Stoddard fills in the intervening years: He married Hallie, and then, on the strength of his reputation as “the man who shot Liberty Valance”, became the first Governor of the newly minted state. He then served as Ambassador to Great Britain before his election to the U.S. Senate. Scott now knows the truth about Valance’s death; but after some reflection he throws his notes into the fire. “This is the West, sir,” he explains. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” On the train back to Washington, Stoddard informs Hallie, to her delight, that he has decided to retire from politics and practice law in Shinbone. When Stoddard tells the train conductor (Willis Bouchey) that he will write to railroad officials, thanking them for their many courtesies in expediting his trip back to Washington, the conductor replies, “Nothing’s too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance!”

REVIEW:

There’s a song from the 60s or 70s entitled “Who Shot Liberty Valance.” When I first saw this flick in a bargain bin somewhere years ago, that’s what immediately popped in my head. Now, years later, it still pops in there but, after watching this fine film, there may be other things that will accompany that catchy tune when speaking of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

What is this about?

When Senator Ransom Stoddard returns home to Shinbone for the funeral of Tom Doniphon, he recounts to a local newspaper editor the story behind it all. He had come to town many years before, a lawyer by profession. The stage was robbed on its way in by the local ruffian, Liberty Valance, and Stoddard has nothing to his name left save a few law books. He gets a job in the kitchen at the Ericson’s restaurant and there meets his future wife, Hallie. The territory is vying for Statehood and Stoddard is selected as a representative over Valance, who continues terrorizing the town. When he destroys the local newspaper office and attacks the editor, Stoddard calls him out, though the conclusion is not quite as straightforward as legend would have it.

What did I like?

President Stewart. The more and more I see Jimmy Stewart films, the more I realize that this guy was more than just some tall, thin guy that was used to play the put upon roles, but rather someone who can actually act. Imagine that! In this film, we get him as a senator who, as we learn later in the film, has been in every political office one can have in the old west, save for law enforcement or President. Yet, this doesn’t stop him from delivering a series of eloquent speeches and monologues that could have been used in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which I debated about watching this afternoon, strangely enough.

Grounded meat does not spaghetti. Let’s face it, westerns are just another fantasy like sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero flicks. Even when they are real, we turn the characters into such exaggerated caricatures of who they really were, that they become legends. Coincidentally, that topic is touched on in this film. I believe it is Stewart that utters the line, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” It could have been someone else, though. My point is that this is probably the most grounded and believable western I’ve seen in all my days, except maybe for something like The Searchers.

Pilgrim. John Wayne is known as having certain mannerisms and a way of speaking, such as calling people “pilgrim”, if we are to believe Peter Griffin’s impersonation of him from Family Guy. While that is an extreme exaggeration, the basis of it and what many people have come to associate Wayne with over time can be traced back to this film. This is The Duke in his prime, creating a character that commands the audience’s attention when he’s on the screen while not chewing up the scenery, not to mention some nuances involving lost love, tragedy, and just being a hardened lawman. I have to give it to Wayne, while some say that his characters became stale and repetitive, especially in his later years, one can’t deny that he seemed in his element and that he had fun with these roles.

What didn’t I like?

Be the law. So, Jimmy Stewart’s profession before he gets into politics is a lawyer…and teacher at a point later in the film. Here’s the thing, though. The guy goes through a variety of occupations adjusting to life after his attack at the hands of Liberty Valance, but he never really practices law. I guess there is no reason to, and with his law books gone, it would make it a bit difficult, but still, the guy is a lawyer, he should be doing law stuff.

You own a paper? Jimmy Stewart is in town for John Wayne’s character’s funeral, if you can call it that. As he comes into town, being a Senator, the newspaper has to get an interview. He grants said interview and then heads to the undertaker’s. Upon reaching the shop, he is accosted by the newspaper editor who all but demands he tell him the reason for his coming to town. Apparently, even in the old west, media felt they had the right to tell people every little detail of people’s lives, even if it meant disturbing a funeral to do so!

Friar Tuck. Disney’s Robin Hood ranks up there as one of my favorite films. One of those reasons is Friar Tuck. The man who lent his voice to that beloved badger, Andy Devine, seems to be the human version of what Friar Tuck looks like. That isn’t my issue with him, though. He is obviously comic relief, and that’s fine, but it seems as if they made him nothing more than your typical bungler. Had it not been for the drinking problem of the newspaper editor, I’m sure they would have given him that, too. All this is not to mention, he sure seems scared to death to confront Liberty Valance, or any criminal.

There is a hint of irony in the last line of this film, “Nothing’s too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance!”, seeing as how they just spent the whole film discussing said man. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance offers us much insight to our heroes, but not much in the way of telling us about the titular character of Liberty Valance. All we know about him is that he’s a big time criminal in them there parts. Other than wishing for a better understanding of this guy, I felt this was a pretty solid film. I’d say its a highly entertaining flick that needs to be in the collection of any one the collect western DVDs and Blu- Rays. I give this a very high recommendation. Take the time to check it out sometime!

4 out of 5 stars

El Dorado

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Cole Thornton (John Wayne), a gunslinger-for-hire, is hired by wealthy rancher Bart Jason (Edward Asner) to help him in a range war with the McDonald family in the town of El Dorado. The local sheriff, an old friend of Thornton, J.P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum) gives Cole more details that Jason had deliberately left out – including the possibility of having to side against Harrah. Unwilling to fight his friend, Thornton quits, to the relief of saloon owner Maudie (Charlene Holt), who is in love with Thornton (and was for a time a romantic interest of Harrah’s).

The McDonalds learn of Thornton’s presence in town. Fearing that he might come for them, Kevin McDonald (R.G. Armstrong) puts his youngest son, Luke, on guard. When Thornton passes by on his way back from rejecting Jason’s offer, Luke (Johnny Crawford), who has fallen asleep, wakes and fires a wild warning shot whereupon Thornton reflexively shoots him. Luke is still alive when Thornton finds him, but he refuses treatment based upon the belief that a gut-shot man wouldn’t have a chance anyway and commits suicide when Thornton turns his back on him.

Thornton subsequently brings the boy’s body to the McDonald ranch and offers an explanation. The only McDonald daughter, Joey (Michele Carey), impulsively rides off before Thornton can finish his story and ambushes him shortly thereafter. Her shot is not fatal, but the bullet lodges next to Thornton’s spine and in time begins to trouble him by occasionally pressing against the spinal cord, causing temporary paralysis of his right side. The local doctor, Dr. Miller (Paul Fix), does not have the skill to remove the bullet and Thornton soon departs El Dorado for a new job.

Several months later, Thornton runs into another gunslinger-for-hire named Nelson McLeod (Christopher George) and a young greenhorn called Mississippi (James Caan), who has come for revenge against one of McLeod’s men. McLeod has been hired by Jason for the same job Thornton turned down and Thornton hears from McLeod about how Harrah has turned into a drunk after an unhappy love affair. Thornton decides to return to El Dorado, hoping to save Harrah from being gunned down by McLeod and his men. He is followed by Mississippi who also wishes to help, despite his lack of experience and terrible aim with a gun.

Once Thornton and Mississippi arrive in El Dorado, they hear more of the story behind Harrah’s change. The two men then join with Deputy Sheriff Bull (Arthur Hunnicutt) in order to get Harrah sober and cleaned up. Mississippi contributes an old folk recipe for a hangover that he learned from his old friend and mentor Johnny Diamond. The recipe includes such ingredients as cayenne, mustard, ipecac, asafetida, croton oil and gunpowder, and he promises it will make any man unable to drink liquor for a while. The concoction proves to be violently effective, and leaves Harrah sober and furious. Within a day of their arrival, McLeod and his men also come to El Dorado and are hired on by Bart Jason. When one of them shoots one of the McDonalds, Thornton, Harrah, Bull and Mississippi chase the shooter and his friends into an old church and then into Jason’s saloon. Harrah arrests Jason and takes him to the jail for his part in the shooting of one of the McDonalds. Later that night, Thornton and Mississippi decide to patrol the town in the hope of keeping the peace and are deputized by Bull. There is another shootout with McLeod and his men, which results in a minor leg injury for Harrah.

The next day, Maudie sends a message to Thornton and his friends stating that McLeod’s men are frightening her and her patrons. When Thornton and Mississippi go to help her, they are ambushed and Thornton has an attack that leaves him partially paralyzed and captured by McLeod. Subsequently, McLeod trades the injured Thornton for Bart Jason, a trade Harrah agrees to despite knowing that doing so will mean that nothing will stand in the way of McLeod going after the McDonalds.

Sure enough, McLeod and his men shortly thereafter kidnap one of the McDonalds in order to force Kevin McDonald to sign over his water rights to Jason. Thornton and the others are forced to quickly come up with a plan to rescue Kevin McDonald’s son and neutralize Jason and McLeod. Despite Thornton’s paralysis and Harrah’s leg injury, the two of them along with Bull and Mississippi return to town on wagons. While Thornton distracts Jason and McLeod outside of the front of the saloon, Mississippi, Harrah and Bull attack from the rear. The kidnapped McDonald is rescued, Jason, McLeod and his men are killed (with a little help from Joey McDonald) and order is restored to El Dorado. Thornton also begins to imply that he may discontinue his wandering ways in order to stay in the town with Maudie

REVIEW:

Sometimes, a guy just wants to go back and watch something where men are men. There was honor even among the slimeballs and degenerates, and your one’s reputation went a long way in determining what people perceive of you, especially if you were a gunslinger and/or outlaw. Since I was more in the mood for a western than a romantic drama or biopic this afternoon, I decided it was time to watch El Dorado, hoping it would fit the bill and check off all these prerequisites.

What is this about?

Howard Hawks reunites with Rio Bravo star John Wayne in this classic Western about a hired gun who teams with a sheriff to thwart greedy ranchers.

What did I like?

Friendship. With all the John Wayne movies I’ve seen, I believe this is the only one where he has been almost downright cheerful for the entire picture. The cause of this could be because he has a friend in Robert Mitchum. Nothing like having someone to just joke around and confide in to make your whole outlook better. There is real chemistry between these two. I wonder how close they were when not on the set because they were magic, otherwise.

Youth has advantages. A very young, almost unrecognizable James Caan appears as the token young buck that Wayne gets to slap around and berate into a “better man”. I don’t believe this is his film debut, but it is one of his first roles. With that said, you can see that the acting chops we see from him in later roles such as The Godfather, for instance are there. They just need to be polished a little bit

Invincible. “The Duke”, as Wayne was also known as, was a larger than life personality. If you notice, though, in just about all of his films, he is nigh invincible. Well, the one’s I’ve seen, except for The Cowboys, that is. So, should it come as a surprise that he gets shot and nearly dies fairly early in this picture? Not really, but I think that is what makes this character human, as opposed to some of his others.

What didn’t I like?

Win, Lose, or Draw. So, we have here 3 of the 4 fastest draws in the west, as stated by Wayne’s character at one point during the film, but do we get that ill-fated shootout? Not really. We get a hint at it, but Wayne and Mitchum are so far banged up and crippled that it ruins what could have been. Why couldn’t we get that shootout before, I wonder?

Perfect hair. If you’re reading this, then more than likely you’ve seen a western or two. As such, you know that the women in these films are either tomboys with their hair in pigtails, they are the housewife type, or they are the gussied up prostitute type. The girl who shoots Wayne’s character could pass for a supermodel. She even has perfect hair like she just walked out of a salon! What was up with that? It was almost as if the filmmakers couldn’t decide if they wanted to make her attractive or just another tomboy and compromised by putting her in frumpy clothes, but fancy hair, for lack of a better term.

Bring a knife to a gunfight. In the west, one had to have a gun to survive. At least that is the message John Wayne is giving to James Caan’s character. The big problem with that is that he is obviously really good with throwing knives, so why not just let him keep throwing them, especially since he’s a horrible shot. It worked for Salma Hayek in Bandidas, so what’s so different about this, other than they just wanted him to shoot up the countryside, apparently.

On a list I was reading the other day, El Dorado was listed as one of the greatest westerns. That’s all well and good, except that this film has some pretty major plotholes, like how the girl who shot Wayne’s character and nearly paralyzes if not kill him is forgiven without even batting an eye. To me, it just seems that, as good as this film is, this is something that should have been addressed. That point aside, I did enjoy this film and would still recommend this to any and everyone. So, check it out sometime, why don’t you?

4 out of 5 stars