Video Clips Worth Watching: Wayne v. Marvin

Friday, February 17, AD 2017


The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), perhaps the greatest of Westerns, contains this gem of a scene with John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Jimmy Stewart, Strother Marvin, Lee Van Cleef and Woody Strode.  Marvin as Liberty Valance is the archetypal mercenary gunslinger, his days, and the days of his kind, about to come to an end.  Wayne as Tom Doniphon, rancher, is the obverse of Marvin, a man just as tough as Valance, if not tougher, but no bully.  However, his time is also closing.  Their destroyer?   The almost clown like figure of Ransom Stoddard, portrayed by Jimmy Stewart.  He knows nothing about guns, but he knows a lot about law, and law and civilization are fast coming to the range.  This is John Ford’s eulogy to the Old West, and to this type of Western.

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3 Responses to Video Clips Worth Watching: Wayne v. Marvin

  • This is an excellent post. The “Frontier Thesis” was abroad in which many believed that the end of the frontier represented the beginning of a new stage in American life and that the United States.

    An artist’s requiem to the “Old West” can be seen in the works of Frederick Remington – his paintings and sculptures.

  • “Marvin as Liberty Valance is the archetypal mercenary gunslinger, his days, and the days of his kind are about to come to an end.”
    No disrespect here. It occurred to me that the gunslingers and bullies of yesterday have only traded iron for text. Today’s full of the Liberty Valances of yesterday. Some use iron. Cop killers use iron. Berkeley thugs use gasoline and rocks. To me these hateslingers are made from the same mud as Liberty. Different times, same bullies.

8 Responses to John Wayne: Teacher

  • Pray constantly. Holy Mother Church teaches us to patiently bear all wrongs and to willingly forgive all injuries. Know that we are “poor banished children of Eve mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.” The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery (The Carrying of the Cross) teaches us to desire the virtue of patience and to pray for the grace to carry our crosses without complaint.
    Two times (many years ago) I was in need of mood adjustments. Once, I had given-in to feeling sorry for myself and whining. An unlicensed psychotherapist told me, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
    Years later, I was again guilty of the cry-baby routine. Another unlicensed psycho/medical pro told me, “Life is hard. Then, you die.” I often think of both when I feel weak and cowardly. It wakes me up.
    Anyhow, neither man called me, “Nancy.” There would have been blood shed.

  • Off topic: TV watching the Army/Navy game, CBS Sports showed the inspirational scene of a full-bird colonel Catholic Chaplain (in dress blues) kneeling and saying the Holy Rosary behind the Army bench.
    Our Lady of Victory, pray for us. .

  • John Wayne: The Anti-Snowflake.

  • I am no theologian, but one wonders how Jesus taught. I doubt He had any tolerance for poor little snowflakes. Having seen John Wayne instruct a schoolboy in speaking, we may now know how Christ taught the mute to speak.
    Just sayin…..I think that Jesus was a manly man.

  • Ah YES , the Duke – bring back the Duke. A legend of our time.

    No more mamby pamby BS – bring back the Duke.

  • Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

    Jesus rewarded the faithful.

    So your assumption is correct.
    You of little faith is wimpy, however the visuals abound where the lame walk, the blind see, the hemorrhage stops and the servant is healed. “Your Faith has healed you!”

    A courageous faith is the confidence and strength in trusting and believing.
    John Wayne style no doubt.

  • Here, here!!

  • Hey, I just enjoyed these clips. I never even thought of how Jesus would have behaved in similar situations. Something wrong with me?

John Wayne Films For the Fourth of July

Thursday, June 30, AD 2016


This Fourth of July long weekend is made for a trip down American history courtesy of John Wayne films.  Wayne was an American original.  Thirty seven years after his death, in the annual Harris poll of favorite actors, he ranks number four overall, and number one among men voting.  In his day he was never shy about declaring his love of country, and he did so when patriotism was fashionable and when it was unfashionable.  An American icon, the deathbed convert to the Catholic Church is a symbol of this nation, instantly recognizable around the globe.  Here are some of his films set in the history of this land.





  1. Allegheny Uprising (1939)-The film tells the true story of the Black Boys Rebellion against the British in 1765, with Wayne portraying James Smith the leader of this proto-American Revolution.




2.  The Fighting Kentuckian (1949)-John Wayne costars with Oliver Hardy, yeah, that Oliver Hardy, in a tale of veterans of the War of 1812 helping French settlers battle land swindlers in Alabama.   Very loosely based on actual events.  In one scene Wayne explains that his family never had money due to his father’s health being ruined after he spent a winter at a place called Valley Forge.






3.  The Alamo (1960)-The epic story of the battle for Texan Independence.  Wayne’s love note to America and freedom.








4.  The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958)-One of the more successful American diplomats of the Nineteenth Century, Townsend Harris, a native of New York City, became wealthy in the China trade in the early part of the century.  He then turned to public service, serving as the President of the New York City Board of Education from 1846-1848.  He founded the Free Academy of the City of New York, later renamed as the City College of New York, in order to provide college educations to low income people in New York.

In July 1856, Franklin Pierce named him the first American consul general to the Empire of Japan.  He opened the first American consulate in Japan in the city of Shimoda.  Overcoming enormous difficulties, in two years he negotiated what has become known as the Harris Treaty, which established full diplomatic and trade relations between Japan and the US.

On the hundredth anniversary of the treaty in 1958, John Wayne, in one of the oddest films of his career, starred as Townsend Harris in the film The Barbarian and the Geisha.  Few men could have been more unlike John Wayne than Harris, and Wayne appears uncomfortable in the role of the diplomat to me.  The film played up an alleged romance between Harris and Okichi, a 17 year old housekeeper, which has long been a tale told in Japan.  Unfortunately, this aspect of the story is untrue.  Harris fired Okichi after she worked for him for three days due to the fact that he considered her to be an incompetent housekeeper.  However, the look of the film is splendid, even if the film is the usual Hollywood mix of lies and half-truths.




5.  The Horse Soldiers (1959)-In 1959 John Ford and John Wayne, in the last of their “cavalry collaborations”, made The Horse Soldiers, a film based on Harold Sinclair’s novel of the same name published in 1956, which is a wonderful fictionalized account of Grierson’s Raid.

Perhaps the most daring and successful Union cavaly raid of the war, Colonel Benjamin Grierson, a former music teacher and band leader from Jacksonville, Illinois, who, after being bitten by a horse at a young age, hated horses, led from April 17-May 2, 1863 1700 Illinois and Iowa troopers through 600 miles of Confederate territory from southern Tennessee to the Union held Baton Rouge in Louisiana.  Grierson and his men ripped up railroads, burned Confederate supplies and tied down many times their number of Confederate troops and succeeded in giving Grant a valuable diversion as he began his movement against Vicksburg.

John Wayne gives a fine, if surly, performance as Colonel Marlowe, the leader of the Union cavalry brigade.  William Holden as a Union surgeon serves as a foil for Wayne.  Constance Towers, as a captured Southern belle, supplies the obligatory Hollywood love interest.

Overall the film isn’t a bad treatment of the raid, and the period.  I especially appreciated two scenes.  John Wayne refers to his pre-war activities as “Before this present insanity” and Constance Towers gives the following impassioned speech:

Well, you Yankees and your holy principle about savin’ the Union. You’re plunderin’ pirates that’s what. Well, you think there’s no Confederate army where you’re goin’. You think our boys are asleep down here. Well, they’ll catch up to you and they’ll cut you to pieces you, you nameless, fatherless scum. I wish I could be there to see it.

Both scenes ring home with authenticity.  Not a bad effort from the usual history manglers of Hollywood.(Although there are still errors enough, including Union soldiers worrying about being captured and sent to Andersonville prior to the POW camp being constructed by the Confederates in 1864.)




6.  The Searchers (1956)-Set in Reconstruction Texas, John Wayne gives the performance of his career as embittered Confederate veteran Ethan Edwards and his vengeance ride against Comanches who slaughtered his family.








7.  True Grit (1969)-Set in Reconstruction Arkansas, True Grit is the only film for which Wayne won an Oscar.  An accomplished actor, Wayne throughout his career made it all look so easy that he was always badly underestimated.  In this film, a skillful mixture of comedy and drama, Wayne was able to give life to Rooster Cogburn, one of the great literary creations of the last century.







8.  Rio Grande (1950)-The final installment in Ford and Wayne’s cavalry trilogy was picked for inclusion due to the above rendition of Down by the Glenside.  The song of course would not be written until 1916, but any viewer with a drop of Irish blood will forgive the historical anachronism.

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6 Responses to John Wayne Films For the Fourth of July

  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is one of my all time favorites…..nuanced and full of symbolism….a true work of art.

  • I would also like to cite ‘Fort Apache’ and ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,’ both spectacular films about the American cavalry in which Wayne gives home run performances, especially in the latter. The scene where he says good-bye to his men is a standing rebuke to anyone who doubts his acting chops.

    One of my favorite bits in ‘Yellow Ribbon’ comes when one of the cavalry officers is killed in an Indian raid and Wayne has one of the camp ladies sew a Confederate Flag for the ex-rebel to be buried under; a glorious moment of honor among soldiers.

  • The actor who portrayed Trooper “Smith”, erstwhile Confederate general, Rudy Bowman, was a friend of Director Ford. He had a throat injury from a shrapnel wound during World War I which made speaking very difficult for him and which made this scene a major achievement for the actor:

  • I was unaware of the Allegheny Uprising movie or the story it is loosely based on. It turns out that much of the original story took place in central Pennsylvania. Western Pennsylvania was, in the mid 18th century, claimed by Virginia. Colonel Bouquet led his troops on the Forbes Road, the predecessor of today’s US 30, to take Fort Duquesne, as the previous attempts led by Generals Braddock and Washington were unsuccessful. There were no significant settlements in the Allegheny Valley at that time. George Washington owned land very close to my house.

    Another movie that is an entertaining period piece is Unconquered, with Gary Cooper and Paulette Goddard. See for more.

  • Unconquered is one of my favorites PF!

  • Mr. McClarey, it’s one of my favorite old movies, too. It is entirely fictional, and Gary Cooper’s character covers more territory on foot than a dozen UPS truck drivers would today. I love the part of the film where Ben Franklin argues with the Virginia contingent over who owns Pittsburgh. Still, it’s a better movie than what Hollywood usually produces today.

One Response to A Thanksgiving Thought From John Wayne

  • “They were men.” Compare them to many of the current occupants of political office in Washington. That bunch never got their hands dirty their entire lives.
    As were the first Catholic missionaries to the present day United States. They were men.
    Compare them to the likes of certain Bishops.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Enjoy your families and a day off from work (if you can).

Happy 240th Birthday to the Corps!

Tuesday, November 10, AD 2015

Some people work an entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference to the world. But the Marines don’t have that problem.

President Ronald Reagan, letter to Lance Corporal Joe Hickey, September 23, 1983

On November 10, 1775 the Continental Congress passed this resolution authored by John Adams:

“Resolved, That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said battalions but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve with advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present War with Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by names of First and Second Battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.”

At the various birthday celebrations by the Marine Corps today, the song given pride of place will of course be the Marines’ Hymn.  The oldest of the official songs of a branch of the US military, the composer of the Marines’ Hymn is unknown, but is thought to have been a Marine serving in Mexico during the Mexican War, hence the “Halls of Montezuma”.  The music is taken from the Gendarmes Duet from the Opera Genevieve de Brabant, written by Jacques Offenback in 1859.

Prior to 1929 the first verse used to end:

” Admiration of the nation,
we’re the finest ever seen;
And we glory in the title
Of United States Marines”

which the then Commandant of the Marine Corps changed to the current lines.  On November 21, 1942,  Commandant Thomas Holcomb approved a change in the words of the first verse’s fourth line from “On the land as on the sea” to “In the air, on land, and sea”.

My favorite rendition of the hymn is in the movie The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)  This film earned John Wayne his first Oscar nomination as best actor.  (Broderick Crawford would win for his stunning performance in All The King’s Men.)   Wayne was initially reluctant to take the role, partly because he had not fought in World War II, and partly because he saw script problems and didn’t like the character of Sergeant Styker as initially written in the screen play.  (There is evidence that Wayne, 34 at the time of Pearl Harbor, and with 3 kids, did attempt to volunteer in 1943 for the Marine Corps with assignment to John Ford’s OSS Field Photographic Unit, but was turned down.) 

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D-Day on Film

Saturday, June 6, AD 2015



There have been surprisingly few movies on D-Day, as indicated by the fact that three out of the five videos looked at below are from television miniseries.  Here are the five best from  a scarce lot:

5. Ike: The War Years (1978)

Robert Duvall as Eisenhower gives his usual riveting performance.  The late Lee Remick  gives a good performance as Captain Kay Summersby, the British driver/secretary assigned to Eisenhower.  Unfortunately the miniseries centers around the relationship of Eisenhower and Summersby, a relationship which is subject to historical dispute.

4.  Ike: Countdown to D-Day (1995)

Tom Selleck gives a very good portrayal of Eisenhower in the days leading up to D-Day.  The video does a first rate job of portraying the problems that Eisenhower confronted:  getting prima donnas like Montgomery and Patton to work as a part of a team, concerns about the weather, the deception campaign to convince the Nazis that Calais would be the invasion site, etc.  The video also shines a light on the weight of responsibility which Eisenhower bore, especially when we see him write out a note just before the invasion taking full responsibility on his shoulders if it failed.

3.  Band of Brothers (2001)

The epic miniseries covering the exploits of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne, captures well the chaos of the parachute and glider operations behind German lines that were so critical a part of the Allied victory on D-Day.

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John Wayne and the Sands of Iwo Jima

Saturday, February 21, AD 2015


 They told me to get you into shape so you can handle a piece of this war.

That’s what I’m gonna do and that means I’m gonna tell you what to do every day,

how to button your buttons and when to blow your noses.

If you do something I don’t like I’m gonna jump and when I land it’ll hurt.

I’ll ride you until you can’t stand up. When you do, you’ll be marines.

John Wayne as  Sgt. John M. Stryker, Sands of Iwo Jima

Something for the weekend.  The Marines’ Hymn.  Seventy years ago the battle of Iwo Jima was underway as the Marines took a giant step forward towards Tokyo.  The film  Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) earned John Wayne his first Oscar nomination as best actor.  (Broderick Crawford would win for his stunning performance in All The King’s Men.)   Wayne was initially reluctant to take the role, partly because he had not fought in World War II, and partly because he saw script problems and didn’t like the character of Sergeant Styker as initially written in the screen play.  (There is evidence that Wayne, 34 at the time of Pearl Harbor, and with 3 kids, did attempt to volunteer in 1943 for the Marine Corps with assignment to John Ford’s OSS Field Photographic Unit, but was turned down.) 

Wayne was convinced to take the role because the film had the enthusiastic backing of the Marine Corps, which viewed it as a fitting tribute to the Marines who fought in the Pacific, and to help combat a move in Congress to abolish the Corps.  Marine Commandant Clifton B. Cates went to see Wayne to request that he take the role and Wayne immediately agreed.  (Thus began a long association of John Wayne with the Marine Corps, including Wayne narrating a tribute to Marine Lieutenant General Chesty Puller.)

Appearing in the film were several Marine veterans of the Pacific, including Colonel David Shoup, who earned a Medal of Honor for his heroism at Tarawa, and who would later serve as a Commandant of the Corps, and Lieutenant Colonel Henry Crow who led a Marine battalion at Tarawa.  The Marines’ Hymn is sung in the film after the death of Wayne’s character, one of ten films in which a Wayne character died, and as the raising of the flag is recreated.

Taking part in the flag raising were Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes and John Bradley, the three survivors of the six flag raisers.  (The three men who raised the flag and subsequently died in the battle were Franklin Sousely, Harlon Block and Michael Strank.)  (First Lieutenant Harold Schrier, who led the flag raising party that raised the first, smaller, flag on Mount Suribachi, and who was awarded a Navy Cross and a Silver Star for his heroism on Iwo Jima, also appeared in the film.)  The flag on top of Mount Suribachi could be seen across the island, and was greeted with cheers by the Marines and blaring horns by the ships of the Navy.  A mass was said on Mount Suribachi at the time of the flag raising and I have written about that here.

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Thanks, God, We’ll Take It From Here

Tuesday, April 29, AD 2014

Have you ever heard of some fellows who first came over to this country? You know what they found? They found a howling wilderness, with summers too hot and winters freezing, and they also found some unpleasant little characters who painted their faces. Do you think these pioneers filled out form number X6277 and sent in a report saying the Indians were a little unreasonable? Did they have insurance for their old age, for their crops, for their homes? They did not! They looked at the land, and the forest, and the rivers. They looked at their wives, their kids and their houses, and then they looked up at the sky and they said, “Thanks, God, we’ll take it from here.”

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2 Responses to Thanks, God, We’ll Take It From Here

  • Our southern neighbors are the only ones taking this statement to heart these days.

  • I wonder if Kitt Madden was supposed to be an anti-Ayn Rand, who was shopping her novels around Hollywood at the time.
    –Donald R. McClarey

    I doubt it. It’s a bit like supposing one and only one plantation could have been the model of Tara. Hollywood was thick with novels being shopped around. Still is. Plus the dream of After The War, A New World was the spirit of the times (in Britain, the dreamers unseated Winnie for Clement Atlee). There were many women writing novels and manifestos of a new world to model Kitt Madden on at the time. They had their fan clubs too.

The Three Godfathers

Friday, December 13, AD 2013

An interesting film for Advent or Chistmas is a John Wayne flick.  John Wayne in a Christmas movie?  Yep, The Three Godfathers in 1948!   Another fruitful John Ford and John Wayne collaboration, the film was released in December 1948.  Three bank robbers, John Wayne, Pedro Armedariz and Harry Carey, Jr.,  stumble across a dying woman and her newborn son in a desert in the American Southwest.  The three outlaws, although they are attempting to elude a posse, promise the dying woman to look after her son.

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4 Responses to The Three Godfathers

  • Robert
    Robert William
    Robert William Pedro!

    Wayne & Ford’s last collaboration was also a Christmas movie of sorts, Donovan’s Reef; or at least it takes place during the season.

    Worth seeing, if only for the Nativity Play scene’s three wisemen, the King of Polynesia, (Mike Mazurski), the Emperor of China (John Fong), and the King of the United States of America (Lee Marvin).

  • Donovan’s Reef is another fine example Ernst of Wayne’s dab hand at comedy. A nice comical subplot between Wayne and the local French priest, played by the great French character actor Israel Moshe Blauschild, who keeps giving away money given to him by Wayne and his friends for the repair of the chapel to the poor, “because their need is so great.” By the end of the film the priest is shown finally being able to repair the roof of the chapel. Like all John Ford and John Wayne films the Church is shown with respect and affection.

  • First saw this film when I was eleven and enjoyed it. It has held up well over the years.

  • Much of Wayne’s work has Pete, which is remarkable.

The Alamo, John Wayne and Faith

Friday, September 27, AD 2013

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.

Rudyard Kipling, from Recessional

Interesting that John Wayne, who directed the film The Alamo, would have a religious debate just before the final battle scene.  However, as I have written in a post which may be read here, John Wayne, death bed Catholic convert, had a strong faith in God, even as he realized that in many ways he was not living properly.  The film The Alamo was first and foremost Wayne’s love note to America, but I think Wayne was also making a statement about faith in God.

Wayne’s personal relationship with God is represented well in this clip, beginning at 9:26, that did not make it into the film.


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17 Responses to The Alamo, John Wayne and Faith

  • Beautiful piece of work Donald.
    So true about “time.” In a moment,.or after five decades of humble labor, it’s never ours to decide or judge. He IS who IS, and we the dust on HIS feet.
    I believe that is what makes us his children, an undenibe realization that nothing in this life is ours, except our short comings. He is the King of Kings, the true DUKE, the real HERO.

  • A hunger for God exists in us all Philip. Much of the chaos of our time is because of efforts to deny this hunger or to channel it to new false gods. Wayne was wise enough to understand this hunger and satisfy his before his final curtain call.

  • Donald. In a humble disposition I ask if you could allow me to help in feeding this thirst.

    On Oct. 12th, over 10,950 cities will be united in the Holy Rosary around the world. The following day, the 96th anniversary of Our Ladys Oct. Miracle of the Sun in Fatima. Pope Francis will be consecrating the world to Her Immaculate Heart. Please consider this topic, conversions and helping to give living waters to the thirsty. The site to find a city near you is;

    Thank you for your consideration.

    12 Noon on Oct. 12th.

  • Like Columbo……oh one thing.
    If folks do not find a city or town near them, then by all means they can host the rally. This is my third one. It’s very easy. Please go to; to find out more.
    “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
    Our Lady in Fatima.

  • The funny thing is that Wayne gives much more credit to Santa Ana and his Mexicans than they deserve. Honour to fallen foes was the last thing on their mind, and I would rather not think what they would have done to a woman and a girl-child who had fallen alive in their hands. They would certainly not have let them go alive and untouched, let alone with the honour of arms. It is know from Mexican documents that about half of the defenders, including Crockett, fell into Mexican hands still alive and were butchered while helpless. (That is not a slur on their courage, simply that it is impossible for any garrison to die fighting to the last man. As you know, American troops took many prisoners even at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.) That is the same that the Mexicans did at Goliad. Wayne wanted, for his own artistic and moral reasons, a clash of heroes, honourable and brave and respectful of each other’s honour and courage. That is probably not very historical, but makes for a marvellous movie, which, having originally been butchered by the critics for political reasons, is now being recognized as one of the great Westerns. (I heard the name of Akira Kurosawa being tossed around as a term of comparison.)

  • The woman depicted Fabio is Susanna Dickinson, the widow of Captain Dickinson in charge of the Texan artillery at the Alamo. She and her small daughter were treated with chivalry by Santa Ana after the fall of the Alamo, according to her account, with the self proclaimed “Napoleon of the West” even offering to adopt her daughter and educate her at his expense, an offer declined by Mrs. Dickinson. Santa Anna was a bundle of contradictions and was quite capable of ordering an atrocity one moment and making a generous gesture the next.

    Like most of Wayne’s work, The Alamo has more than stood the test of time, the true test of any work of art.

  • Pingback: What Puts the “Arch” in Archangel? -
  • ‘Looking up at him I thought, this is no actor but the hero of all mythology miraculously brought to life.’

    Louise Brooks on John Wayne

    Regarding his portrayal of Santa Ana , I recall reading years ago that he very much wanted to avoid providing any sort of encouragement to anti Hispanic prejudice.

  • Wayne always had a deep respect for Hispanic culture and spent a large amount of time south of the border, particularly in Panama. He chose as his epitaph: “Feo, Fuerte y Formal”, and it is a shame that has not yet been put on his grave site.

  • I think John Wayne spent his life perfecting a certain range of characters. He tried to step out of them – once as a centurion, once as Gengis Khan – without great success, which shows that his tremendous manhood was not just manly, but specifically American, and nineteenth-early twentieth American at that. Some actors reach their best when stepping outside their usual roles. Helen Mirren, the everlasting Sexy Older Woman, won the Oscar virtually by acclamation for her splendid portrayal of Queen Elizabeth – a woman she did not resemble physically and who could not possibly be played sexy. Ben Kingsley, the positive hero of Gandhi, positively stole Satan’s role in Sexy Beast. Wayne could not have done that. But in what he did, he was supreme. Many great actors, including the best – Bogart, Tracy, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck – have done cowboys or cowboy-type heroes, but nobody has so filled the screen in them as Wayne has, nobody has ever projected that depth of experience and living, that stoical, enduring humanity. Katharine Hepburn, a woman in whose presence other actors trembled (it is said that if you look carefully, you can actually see Judy Hollyday shaking in Adam’s Rib), dedicated one chapter of her autobiography to unstinted, fluent and delighted praise of him as man and actor, ending with: “….Wayne has a wonderful gift of natural speed. Of arrested motion. Of going suddenly off on a new tack. Try something totally unrehearsed with him. He takes the ball and runs and throws with a freedom and wit and gaiety which is great fun. As powerful as is his personality, so too is his acting capacity powerful. He is a very very good actor in the most highbrow sense of the word. You don’t catch him at it.”

  • AT the time of the Alamo, Texas was a Mexican territory. Catholic Mexico had recently abolished slavrey in mexico. Mexico went to the Alamo to enforce the abolition laws. American settlers, protestans and evangelicals in the Texas territory of Mexico warned Mexico not to enforce the anti slavery laws. You want to remember the Alamo? Then remember it was a battle to protect the rights of Americans to hold men in bondage. I have a book that has just been released that tells this whole story

  • Rubbish Steve. Santa Anna was a brutal dictator who had no respect for any form of human liberty. Both Texans and Tejanos opposed his rule. The flag that flew over the Alamo had 1824 on it, in reference to the democratic constitution of Mexico that Santa Anna had suppressed. Texas was only one of seven states that rebelled against Santa Anna, the others being brutally suppressed. Santa Anna was no friend of either liberty or the Catholic Church as this statement by him indicates:

    Say to Mr. Poinsett that it is very true that I threw up my cap for liberty with great ardor, and perfect sincerity, but very soon found the folly of it. A hundred years to come my people will not be fit for liberty. They do not know what it is, unenlightened as they are, and under the influence of a Catholic clergy, a despotism is the proper government for them, but there is no reason why it should not be a wise and virtuous one.

  • I would go futher. Santa Ana became a tyrant BECAUSE he was an enemy of the Church. Starting as an anti-clerical liberal, and frustrated by the Catholic culture of his country, he threw democracy overboard, as many left-wing caudillos have done since. True, some of the issues the Texans had with him had to with slavery – even though very few Texans then or since actually held slaves; they just came from parts where the holding of slaves was seen as natural. But the bigger issue was the loss of representative government and the constitution of 1824, and, as you say, many more federal states revolted against Santa Ana’s usurpation. The Texans were the only ones who succeeded, and, being cut off not only from Santa Ana’s tyranny but also from any liberal or democratic prospects in other parts of Mexico, drifted ever closer to the much closer and more populous Anglo giant to the east. But none of that was fated.

  • Rubbish? your deep held belief in the “Black Legend” is rubbish…
    Did you know the second president of mexico was a black man – his father was of african decent. read this

    Why is it EVERY foreign leader who does not fit the American narrative is a “brutal dictator” The fact is evangelical and prostestants were responsible for all the racial horrors that best this great country .. The Indian Relocation Act of 1831, the trail of tears, slavery, 600,000 dead in a chastisement that General Grant called “God’s punishment’ for the Mexican American war.

  • You are a very silly man. Who was the second president of Mexico has nothing to do with whether Santa Ana was a brute or not. Nor does the Trail of Tears. You simply don’t know how to make a point – nobody has ever taught you that you have to stick to the point, and that irrelevant material is irrelevant. Now go home and sue your old schoolteachers, they deserve it.

  • “your deep held belief in the “Black Legend” is rubbish…”

    Oh yes, I spend my time on this blog perpetrating anti-Catholic bad history, as anyone who has read my many posts on historical subjects on this blog can attest! 🙂

    Your reaction and resort to ridiculous allegations was caused by the simple fact that you were called on your obvious ignorance of the Alamo and the Mexican history surrounding it, and you had no response other than to flail about.

  • Maister B.

    The quote from Katherine Hepburn is new to me. I will make a point of getting hold of the autobiography for my collection. Many thanks.

Randolph Scott vs. John Wayne

Monday, August 26, AD 2013



As long as we are discussing Randolph Scott, I recall that he co-starred with John Wayne in 1942 in two films:  The Spoilers and Pittsburg.  In each film Scott and Wayne had fist fights.  The no holds barred brawl in The Spoilers is one of the most memorable fight scenes of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  Wayne wins.  In Pittsburg they have a return match and Scott prevails.  (One of the very few fight scenes lost by Wayne in his career.)

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One Response to Randolph Scott vs. John Wayne

  • Love the Hollywood nostalgia. I’ve been raising my kids (mostly) on the sort of TV and movie fare that I started off with before cable. I’m not sure we’ve seen these two films yet, so I’ll have to look them up!

John Wayne-Cardiac Catholic

Thursday, June 14, AD 2012

(John Wayne died 33 years ago this week.  It is amazing to me that a third of a century has passed since that sad day when I heard that he had passed.  In his memory I am reposting this post from August 24, 2009.)


John Wayne died on June 11, 1979.  Like many Americans at the time I felt as if a personal friend had died.  Growing up, Wayne was a part of my childhood both on TV and at the local theater.  Remarkably, more than three decades after his demise, he still routinely appears among the top ten favorite actors in polls.  For three and a half decades he dominated American film screens and became the archetypal Western hero.  Frequently savaged by film critics in his life, something which bothered him little, his appearance as a Centurion in the film The Greatest Story Ever Told, the video clip which begins this post, was a special target,  Wayne’s work has endured the test of time.  A staunch conservative, Wayne upheld  love of country when such love was popular and when it was unpopular.  Eventually he became a symbol of America, recognizable around the globe.  What is less known about Wayne is his religion, and, at the end, his conversion to Catholicism.

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25 Responses to John Wayne-Cardiac Catholic

  • Remarkably, three decades after his demise, he still routinely appears among the top ten favorite actors in polls.

    Dude, he’s the Duke!

    Our little Duchess is named partly in his honor, and both her parents are dang kids; I dearly hope that he fully embraced the Church at the end, and that my father will follow in his footsteps. (My dear dad’s sins are too few and private for me to know– my mom’s, I know because I share in them. Gunpowder temper and all.)

    Curse it, now I’m going to have to ask Marion Morrison to pray for my daughter, just on the off chance that he’s there and interested. I dearly hope he doesn’t get a chance to prove he’s a saint from my family!

  • “Dead as a beaver hat”
    Oh how I hope I can remember that line in daily conversation. (Never heard it before).

    Perhaps I can file it with one of my Dad’s favorites: “Hot as a $2 pistol”.

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  • Matthew Muñoz, a priest in the Diocese of Orange County California is John Wayne’s grandson. (Father Matthew Munoz Talks About The Conversion of His Grandfather: John Wayne, Published Wednesday, October 5, 2011 A.D. | By Donald R. McClarey )

  • “Don’t apologize – it’s a sign of weakness.” Nathan Brittles, Captain, United States Cavalry, Retired – She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

    If you must have an example of manhood, you could do a hell of a lot worse than John Wayne (RIP).

    ” . . . and somebody oughta belt you in the mouth. But I won’t. I won’t. The hell I won’t!” – McLintock (1963)

  • Yes – The DUKE.
    Man, he was always impressive – almost larger than the screen in all his films.
    I just liked the rugged, manliness that he portrayed.

    Remainder edited by Donald R. McClarey (I would appreciate the humor of the joke you told in the remainder of the comment in other venues Don, but I decided that for TAC I couldn’t let it through, mild as it might seem on other forums.)

  • It’s nice to hear of deathbed conversions. I hope to make my own someday despite clinging to my agnostic notions. Unlike Wayne, I’m a cradle Catholic and have since strayed from the vineyards. As an actor, Duke made some decent films with with glaring exception — The Green Berets, a blatant piece of Hollywood propaganda designed to quell critics of Vietnam.

    In real life as opposed to reel life, Wayne obtained 3-A status, deferred for dependency reasons — hiding behind the skirt of his wife. Wayne was like like Bush, Chaney and all the other chicken hawks who had connections and skipped service. Cheney said Nam wasn’t in his career path. Dan Quayle golfed through the ’60s and early ’70s and there were other neocons who beat the war drums and sent kids overseas to die while they stayed home and brayed about patriotism, honor, courage, freedom, yada, yada.

    If Duke’s in heaven, that’s fine. Not for me to judge. But let’s set the record straight about what sort of human being he was.

  • “The Green Berets, a blatant piece of Hollywood propaganda designed to quell critics of Vietnam.”

    Nope it was all John Wayne propaganda. He firmly believed in the mission in Vietnam and toured combat bases twice, coming under enemy fire. Hollywood was mostly firmly on the Left by the time of Vietnam.

    As for Wayne and World War II, he was already getting pretty long in the tooth by World War II. At the time of Pearl Harbor he was 34 with four kids. With his bad eyesight, and a football injury that he incurred in college and which curtailed his athletic career, he had zero chance of getting into a combat unit and probably near zero of even being shipped over seas. He did volunteer to serve with John Ford’s film unit with the OSS in the Pacific during the War but nothing ever came of it.

    John Wayne helped save the Marines after World War II. Go here to read the post:

  • Thanks, Don, for sharing the link. I did not mean to be so harsh on ol’ Duke. He did some good things but The Green Berets was a terrible movie in so many ways. For starters it was shot in Georgia and the typography was all wrong. For another, the cardboard characters were irksome and, yes, Wayne was too fat and old for the part. Former fugitive David Janssen, cast as the lefty journalist, was wasted and cliches abound including the hackneyed WWII veteran, the guitar-strumming Jim Hutton, the brave commander, the tough-as-nails with heart-of-gold field grunt, the submissive natives, ad nauseum. It was all so gung-ho, complete with a “fight song.” Other war movies including The Dirty Dozen were ridiculous but at least entertaining. TGB is not one of them.

  • Oh, I agree with you on the Green Berets Joe. Although I agree with its politics, it was a dreadful film, the worst film Wayne ever made, except for The Conqueror. In regard to the Dirty Dozen, a film I greatly admire, Wayne was up for the starring role but rejected it.

  • Yep, Don. The Dirty Dozen is a guy’s movie no doubt and well done. I didn’t much care for Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson torching all the Krauts in the basement, including the gals, but otherwise enjoyed it. Ernie Borgnine is one of my favorite actors along with Telly Savalas who nailed the role. Kojak was a great TV series. “Who loves ya, baby?”

  • Telly Savalas was great as the aptly named Maggot:

  • Despite their flawed personal lives, I regret that “The Duke” and the “Chairman of the Board” are not alive today . I can only imagine what they would be doing and saying about what is being done to America.

  • That’s fine Don.
    After I had hit the “Post Comment” button, I had second thoughts – but, alas, too late. 🙁

  • I roared with laughter when I read it Don! After I recovered I decided that even though it was funny I couldn’t allow it to go through on TAC. Truly funny and bad taste often walk hand in hand! 🙂

  • Joe Green God bless you. You are an interesting person! You say, “..deathbed conversions. I hope to make my own someday despite clinging to my agnostic notions.” Then you go on to talk about other people being chicken hawks.
    I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you, but do you see irony there?

    You HOPE to have a conversion? go ahead and have it– it’s your choice. Dancing around the issue, not making a commitment though your heart is there, your hope is there, does not preserve your freedom but limits your freedom

    It seems we are infatuated with doubt these days. We struggle with idea of accepting that whatever the Church teaches us is true. ( reference post by LarryD) We dither we dance… playing with opposing ideas as possibilites and are unable to claim one as the truth.

    During B16’s visit to this country, I heard a “man on the street” interview in which the man said that he didn’t buy into any religion because religion puts you “in a box”. He was apparently afraid he would have to restrict his thinking if he became Catholic.

    Of course even the most free of the so-called free thinkers, are “in a box” of their own paradigms.
    I wonder if you have already read John Henry Newman Discourse 11, (esp around 220 TO 222) Anyway come on in, the water is fine.

  • Truly funny and bad taste often walk hand in hand!

    That’s us South Pacific, spade weilding, earthy Colonials for you 😉

  • So Grandpa Folger [Yep, real name.] is sitting in a bar in the Beverley Wilshire somewhere in the 1950s and a tall handsome guy sits down next to him and orders a drink. He strikes-up a conversations with Grandpa and then challenges him to flip for the next round. Grandpa wins.

    Guy says the LA Dodger at the plate on the bar tele is no good and gonna strike-out, Grandpa says he’s due and the batter pops one into the outfield. Finally, in exasperation the guy bets Grandpa dinner the Dodgers will lose and they win.

    Step-Grandma walks in from a day with the girls, kisses Grandpa and as he turns to introduce their dinner partner she nearly faints. Yep, John Wayne.

    Wayne dropped anchor in Grandpa’s cove on Vancouver Island many summers thereafter just to enjoy his company. When he was dying of cancer in the early 1970s he sent him a card, I still have: “Folger, get well again soon so we can flip for drinks – Duke”

    Why did Wayne like Grandpa so much? Because he had no idea who Wayne was. Grandpa never watched movies! He liked John Wayne just for himself and couldn’t imagine another side to him.

    Grandpa was also a devout Roman Catholic, attending daily Holy Mass, although he couldn’t receive Holy Communion since he was divorced from Grandma. I wonder what affect his quiet, manly Catholicity had on John Wayne’s conversion?

  • @anzlyne. First to admit I am the misanthrope among you. There’s a character in Sinclair Lewis’ “Elmer Gantry” who says he was “saved” seven times. Yes, I am the doubter, putting St. Thomas to shame, struggling daily to find the peace that Jesus promises to each of us. But it just doesn’t come no matter how hard I pray. In my dreams I am always traveling, seeking and never finding.

    Have you read Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia? There’s a character in The Silver Chair, called Puddleglum. He’s a Marshwiggle, temperamentally disposed to thinking that the worst will probably happen. That’s me. Maybe there are saints in heaven as curmudgeonly as me? Who knows?

  • Joe Green
    “But it just doesn’t come no matter how hard I pray”

    I think it becomes a matter of your will to accept. There is a peace in acceptance.

    For me there is also some enjoyment in the ongoing discussion with God that still continues. I believe Lord help my unbelief…with all my what ifs and yeahbuts and whatabouts

  • Joe I wasn’t careful in my post.I did not mean to say “YOUR will to accept” specific to you– but including myself and all others too I should have said “one’s will to” or “my will to..”

  • I am embarrassed that I have not read the Chronicles of Narnia– but I do remember Arlo Guthrie talking about The Last Guy ( as in the poor guy who is at the end of the list of ;there is always somebody worse off than you;…) you are prob not the Last Guy in curmudgianity

  • “Curmudgianity” — love the coinage, Anz.

  • I think I am a believer, but I keep sinning . . . The friars at St. Francis of Assisi on 32nd Street have heard it all. Every time I need to be humble and pick myself up and try to do better.

    Jesus tells us to lay down our heavy worldly (fleeting) burdens and take up his yoke which is light: to love God with all your heart and with all your might and to love others as yourself. Then, take up your cross (whatever you need to do to be saved) and follow Him.

    There is the 100% likelihood that we will die. We need to increase our odds of being saved. We can’t do that without God’s grace.

    Obviously, I don’t read much.

    I (imperfectly) remember my 1950’s Baltimore Catechism. God made me to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him so that I may be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

    Jesus tells me my Faith must be like that of a little child.

  • ‘ We also have this line from John Wayne as Davy Crockett: “It was like I was empty. Well, I’m not empty anymore. That’s what’s important, to feel useful in this old world, to hit a lick against what’s wrong for what’s right even though you get walloped for saying that word. Now I may sound like a Bible beater yelling up a revival at a river crossing camp meeting, but that don’t change the truth none. There’s right and there’s wrong. You got to do one or the other. You do the one and you’re living. You do the other and you may be walking around, but you’re dead as a beaver hat.” ‘

    Have been noticing the smiles and eyes on the faces I see and have been connecting them to either true, warm, living, good and right or false, cold, dead, bad and wrong. John Wayne was a man, with a powerful smile even when he was wasn’t just actively ‘smiling’. The Grace of God shows through.

The Fugitive (1947)

Tuesday, June 5, AD 2012

A Fugitive: I have a question, Lieutenant. When did you lose your faith?

 A Lieutenant of Police: When I found a better one.

The film For Greater Glory has reminded me of director John Ford’s forgotten The Fugitive (1947).  Very loosely based on Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory (no priest in an American film in 1947 was going to have the moral failings of Greene’s whiskey priest) the film did poorly at the box office and soon fell into oblivion, except among film critics who regard it as one of Ford’s more interesting works.  Ford said it was  his favorite film.

The film is set in a nameless country, obviously Mexico where the movie was filmed, where religion has been abolished by the government.  Henry Fonda is the last priest hunted by a police lieutenant, played maniacally by Pedro Armendáriz.  Armendariz is a whole-hearted convert to atheism, and views the capture of Fonda as a noble task.  

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7 Responses to The Fugitive (1947)

  • Yeah, this is the film I meant! It’s got some gorgeous, gorgeous scenes in it.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen the beginning of the movie, though, because TCM was always airing it at weird times.

  • “All in all, an interesting film. However, I wish Ford’s main leading man, John Wayne, had been cast in the role of the fugitive priest. While he is on the run he rounds up a hard riding band of Cristeros. In the climactic fight scene he leads the Cristeros in liberating the village, taking out the police lieutenant in a mano a mano epic fight, and ends the film saying mass for the newly liberated villagers! Whatever the critics might have said in after years about the film, I guarantee it would have been a smash hit at the box office!”

    Yea, Donald, and I wish that Mel Gibson would have had the lead in The Passion and led the apostles and his followers in a violent revolt against the Romans like in Braveheart and instead of being captured and killed at the end he would have cut off all their heads like he and Homer Simpson cut off the heads of all the other senators when they remade Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

    With all your militaristic ramblings Donald . . . do you get the point of the Gospels.

  • Glinda, how long have you suffered the dreadful malady of being humor impaired, and have you sought treatment for this grave affliction?

  • Glinda,

    What you write about what happened during Christ’s first coming is absolutely correct. Below is what is going to happen when He comes again, and it is going to make the Cristeros’ rebellion against an evil and vicious atheist dictator look like a child’s game of Cowboys and Indians. Buckle up, “baby”, because the wrath of God is going to come. He will not indefinitely tolerate baby murdering to the tune of 1 million per year in this country, and the heretical nuns who give assent and approval for the same. His justice is the other side of the coin whose head is love; and He loves babies, He loves His Church, He loves righteousness and holiness.

    11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:


    17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”

    19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

    Revelation 19:11-21 [ Did you read that, Glinda? – it’s agonna be horrible because that’s what sin does. ]

  • Mr. McClarey, thanks for the heads-up. I’d never heard of this film before,
    and I’ll be sure to check it out.

  • I think you will enjoy it Clinton. It is a film that is worthy of careful examination since, at least in my case, there are nuances that flew right by me the first few times I watched it.

John Ford, John Wayne and Grierson’s Raid

Friday, May 25, AD 2012

Well, you Yankees and your holy principle about savin’ the Union. You’re plunderin’ pirates that’s what. Well, you think there’s no Confederate army where you’re goin’. You think our boys are asleep down here. Well, they’ll catch up to you and they’ll cut you to pieces you, you nameless, fatherless scum. I wish I could be there to see it.

   Miss Hannah Hunter of Greenbriar, portrayed by Constance Towers in The Horse Soldiers 



One of my commenters at Almost Chosen People, the American history blog I run with Paul Z, noted my post on movies for a Memorial Day weekend and directed me to a review he had written of The Horse Soldiers (1959), the classic retelling of Grierson’s Raid during the Civil War by John Ford, and the last of the “cavalry collaboration” films between Ford and John Wayne.  I enjoyed the review, and Fabio Paolo Barbieri, the author, has given me permission to repost it here:

 John Ford’s THE HORSE SOLDIERS.  About half of this movie is one of the greatest war films ever done; indeed, one of the greatest that can possibly be made – more, perhaps, may be made, but not better.  It would, in my view, be impossible to give a better, a more painful, a more affecting and tragic view of war.  War is one of the greatest subjects in the arts, and it affords a virtually infinite field for reflection and for emotion; and it is my view – or rather, I think, my experience, that the authors of this movie reached to its very bottom.  More ketchup sauce, more plastic severe limbs, more and more savage special effects, could not possibly increase its impact, because that impact is not on the gut and the nerves, but on the emotions and on the mind.  It is a work of thought, as well as of magisterial narrative control.
(That, incidentally, is why I find The Bridge on the River Kwai overrated.  It collapses at its very last frame, when the American character describes everything that has gone on until then as “madness, madness”.  Whatever its implications and its emotional content, it clearly was not madness; and the impact of those final words is that of a simple refusal to think about what the movie had shown – an inexcusable retreat into irrationalism.  That any reflection would be very painful is an explanation but not an excuse.)
Great narrative artists think in plot structure, and the plot structure of that half of The Horse Soldiers – the significant half, the masterpiece half – is both unique and extraordinarily well realized.  The climax of the story is not where we expect it to be; and both the false and the true climax are worked up to with exacting, time-burning care, for maximum impact.  The story concerns a U.S. cavalry raid – said to be a real historical event – to destroy an important Confederate railway line and depot and so deny besieged Vicksburg vitally needed supplies.  The cavalry column, led by a former railway worker promoted to Colonel on the battlefield, will be moving from beginning to end in enemy territory, and have to keep its mission secret down to the very moment in which it will accomplish it.  The movie does an excellent job of displaying the difficulties and the dreadful exhaustion of such a mission; indeed, it is typical of the way in which every narrative element is used to build up, that the meeting of officers with which it starts takes place in a downpour  – this immediately informs us that this mission will be no joy ride.  (And because John Ford is economical and does not abuse story elements, the downpour is not repeated – although the cavalrymen enjoy the pleasures of forced marching, bug swarms, swamp rides, injuries, amputations without anaesthetic, fever, battle deaths, sunstroke and exhaustion.  To inform the public that this story is to be taken seriously is one thing; to repeat oneself unnecessarily is another.)
Dodging Confederate forces and possible spies (but pausing to rescue one decent Southern sheriff from two villainous defectors – a charming scene), the cavalrymen reach their target, which they find virtually ungarrisoned, its few soldiers under the command of an armless veteran who once was the friend of one of the Union officers (a fine touch, reminding us of what a civil war actually does).  Indeed, just as they are sitting in the captured village, a Confederate train appears on the line – as if just coming to fall right into waiting Union hands.
It seems too good to be true, and it is.  Quick inquiries by the suspicious ex-railwayman colonel (John Wayne) bring out the fact that the captured enemy commander had been found in the telegraph office.  A minimum of rushed orders send the practiced Union veterans scurrying to set their own trap, around the only road down which the enemy must charge; and when the Confederate soldiers of which the train was full come charing out, they are met with murderous fire on all sides and slaughtered nearly to the last man.
As I said, there is no abuse of ketchup sauce or flying body part; this is not Quentin Tarantino.  But Ford makes damn well sure that we understand, first, that these are extraordinarily brave men – they go on charging at an impossibly entrenched enemy as long as there is one of them left standing; and, second, that their only reward for their bravery is agonizing death or lifelong deformity and mutilation.  Not only is the battle itself a model of perfect staging and shooting (indeed, throughout this movie, Ford’s always luminous photography reaches an especial pitch of inspiration), but he takes some considerable time after the battle scene to give us an account of the desperate and mostly unavailing medical care given the injured Confederates by medics of both sides.  At the same time, not to miss any opportunity for bitter and powerful contrasts, the Union cavalrymen are carefully destroying, with considerable and rowdy good humour, every bit of railway they can reach and the whole content of the local depot.

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Father Matthew Munoz Talks About The Conversion of His Grandfather: John Wayne

Wednesday, October 5, AD 2011

Hattip to Matthew Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  I have written previously on the deathbed conversion of John Wayne:   John Wayne-Cardiac Catholic.  His grandson, Father Matthew Munoz, has recently talked about his grandfather’s conversion.

“My grandmother, Josephine Wayne Saenz, had a wonderful influence on his life and introduced him to the Catholic world,” said 46-year-old Fr. Muñoz, a priest of the Diocese of Orange in California.  

“He was constantly at Church events and fundraisers that she was always dragging him to and I think that, after a while, he kind of got a sense that the common secular vision of what Catholics are and what his own experience actually was, were becoming two greatly different things.”

Fr. Muñoz’s grandparents married in 1933 and had four children, the youngest of whom – Melinda – is his mother. The couple civilly divorced in 1945 although, as a Catholic, Josephine did not re-marry until after John Wayne’s death. She also never stopped praying for her husband’s conversion – a prayer which was answered in 1978.

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2 Responses to Father Matthew Munoz Talks About The Conversion of His Grandfather: John Wayne

  • its great to hear father matthews story about his grandfather. My father is 78 and he belives in god but he has not been to a church in 67 yrs my mother prays every day that he gives the lord a chance so he can see what a bliss the house of the lord is. About father matthew i want to share what he did for me last yr. I had not been to church in 30 yrs i also believed in god but like my father i never went to church that morning was christmas eve life had taken its tole on me i didnt want to live any more i decided to go to church that morniing and then come home and take a bunch of pills that i had to take my life because i didnt want to live any more well after mass out of know were father matthew came from behind some rose bushes in front of our church well i went up to him and asked him to please say a prayer and bless me because i was going to take my life he took the time to pray and talk to me that morning that by the time i got home my life felt diffrent his blessing and prayers touched my heart after that day i go to mass monday threw friday 6:30 mass and on sundays i take my little girl tammy and i also work 3 masses helping out. thanks to father matthew taking the time that day my little girl has a mom and i belive in god 100 percent. i just got back from the holy land and that made my life complete the only wish that i want to see is that some day i get a chance to thank father matthew in person he left our parish in cypress ca never saw him agin but i hope and pray that some day i can tell him that thanks to him and god im still here and my daughter has a mom that believes in god 100 percent.

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James Arness, Requiescat in Pace

Saturday, June 4, AD 2011


For all of my childhood, James Arness, and the show he starred in, Gunsmoke, were a constant presence.  The television show, a sequel to the radio show of the same name, came on the air in 1955 and ran for 20 years.  I was born in 57 and graduated from high school in 75.  Each week my family would watch the show, even the reruns.  We  had a slight personal connection to the show, my grandfather, a shoemaker, making a pair of boots for James Arness to wear in his role of Matt Dillon. 

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One Response to James Arness, Requiescat in Pace

  • This made me feel old all of a sudden. I remember watching James Arness’ Gunsmoke and Festas. I can’t seem to recall when that was really. Because of TV today I seldom watch television. Recently I discovered the RTV programs that in fact come from earlier times. I’m finding it hard to spend time with TV except for the so-called news today. When I want to relax I turn to the RTV TV programs, “A-Team” and “Night Rider” (so far); that fall in my “end of day” time.
    Thanks for this information. It set me to thinking how terribly fast the time gets away from us. I believe that because of his moral bent, Matt Dillon has a place in heaven.