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John Wayne WWII films


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Some people criticize Wayne's performances today, and don't realize that when they say he wasn't so much an Actor as he was a Presence how right they were, but it seems to overshadow Wayne as the actor. No amount of lighting and closeups and clever quips could save him if he was an unlikeable statue; he had to sell it. He had to convince you he was this Presence, and half-measures in his portrayal wouldn't cut it. He can't be a complex introvert with really interesting mannerisms if he's playing a direct, take-action character

 

I don't like Flying Leathernecks and Back to Bataan all that much but I enjoy them. War films were part and parcel of cinema at the time and the demand for Wayne to be in them was undoubtedly high, some films must be better than others

 

But I think that the fact that the films were to a degree formulaic works against Wayne's reputation; he was in a lot of these films, and the Love Story that we are so sick of today is present in these films and it seems to stain an attempt at examining these films with an impartial eye. To me at least it does

 

The films called for a particular thing if Wayne was the star. A strong type, a man of action and decisive manner. Irreverent at times but respectful, and a hint of boyishness too. Bigger than life but at the same time able to be identified with, tough because he had to be but reachable on a human level by the right person. I can't fault Wayne for fitting the bill and playing the role that was called for. Seeing other films by Wayne cements his acting ability for me. I can't watch 'The Quiet Man' and conclude that Wayne was a poor actor or could only handle one type of role

 

Of his war films, I oddly enjoy "Operation Pacific" but I am not really sure why. Maybe it's Martin Milner looking like he was 14 years old when they were filming. I find "They were Expendable" a very lo-o-n--o-n-g film though. It's too bad 20 minutes weren't cut from the film somewhere

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John Wayne gets a free pass from me no matter what. I heard a real deal PTO vet trash Wayne once, and I get it and totally understood his point of view. Those films are pretty danged far from reality at times, and if I was there, I don't know how I'd feel about movies either!

 

That being said, I grew up watching them with my dad, who grew up watching them himself. Something about them, never saw one that I don't like. After reading up on the PT Boat service, I was absolutely floored by how much Hollywood sounding stuff in They Were Expendable was pretty accurately based on reality! Don't know what it is, but for the era, I can always watch a John Wayne movie. I freakin love Donovan's Reef, and goofiness in it aside, Sands of Iwo Jima will always be a favorite of mine. Just after finding out about Pearl Harbor when I was a second grader, the Flying Tigers was pretty much the coolest thing I had ever seen. Other movies from the time period aren't always the case. Remember a few years ago when the WWJD bracelets were all over the place? My phrase was WWJWD: What would John Wayne do?

 

I don't know what it is enough to put into words very well, but John Wayne's OK by me. I do know that my interests might be drastically different were it not for the Duke.

Looking for the following:

452nd and 447th Bomb Group items

Anything 12th Armored- especially uniforms

155th Assault Helicopter Company, Camp Coryell, or Ban Me Thuot Vietnam items[/center]


WWII US Navy Uniforms from the Battle Off Samar: USS Johnston DD-557, USS Hoel DD-553, USS Samuel B. Roberts DE-413, USS Heermann DD-532, USS Dennis DE-405, USS John C. Butler DE-339, USS Raymond DE-341, USS Fanshaw Bay St. Lo, White Plains, Kalinin Bay, Kitkun Bay and Gambier Bay...


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He should have won an Oscar for the 1950's "The Searchers" movie. IMHO Not so much for "True Grit". But I do like that movie. I have never seen any Wayne movie that I did not like, just some more than others.

Terry

You are his witness now, without a witness, they just disappear!

Quote from the movie TAKING CHANCE 2009

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He should have won an Oscar for the 1950's "The Searchers" movie. IMHO Not so much for "True Grit". But I do like that movie. I have never seen any Wayne movie that I did not like, just some more than others.

Terry

Yes, he sure should have.

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With the right director John Wayne was a very, very good actor. A lot of his WWII roles were formulaic, but at that time a lot of performances were over the top, not just Wayne's. Remember, Hollywood was making what were essentially propaganda films, so hard charging figures, shirt sleeve patriotism and bravura personal sacrifice (the old throwing yourself on the grenade and dying heroically bit) was what the studios were after.

 

Wayne's his best acting was in Western roles, particularly those made under John Ford's hand.

 

Watch him in "Stagecoach". His performance (and his breakout role) was outstanding. I think his best roles where those where he wasn't a hard-bitten character. He played Nathan Brittles in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" to a T. Same for "Fort Apache".

 

One of his best roles was neither a war movie nor a western. "The Quiet Man" was one of Wayne's best performances. Ford dragged his stock western actor stable to Ireland, put them in tweed and they all gave outstanding performances. Maureen O'Hara's beauty takes your breath away in the opening scenes.

 

"They Were Expendable" is an interesting movie. By the time it was made Wayne was clearly powerful enough to muscle his way into the lead role. Instead, he stepped a bit to the background and gave Robert Montgomery the lead, and Montgomery's performance was excellent. Wayne was good, too, but to be fair I think Montgomery was the true star of that movie.

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"John Wayne" is an American icon. His WW2 movies tend to be bigger than life "patriotic" films. Which the country needed during that era and into the sixties. There just are no more "heroes", as my father says who grew up during the Depression and served in the Philippines. Maybe that is part of what is wrong with our country today. Look at who and what you see. The Duke was one of those heroes. Most of his movies are pretty predictable, but still there is the presence of Wayne. I have a number of his movies and still watch them.

Long live the Duke

 

Claymore

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I would have to say that "They were Expendable" was probably one of the best war movies of the 1940s, but I would agree the starring role was really Montgomery with Wayne more in a supporting role.

 

It could be a little slow when compared to classic Wayne action films, but the balance was pretty good and they did a good job making it seem as though it were real.

 

"Back to Bataan" is more of the normal Wayne film, it was ok. One of the best parts is the opening during the Cabanatuan raid in 1945, the "extras" were real liberated POW's.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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I too grew up watching John Wayne films since he was my dad's favorite. I Enjoy all of his movies, though I have seen a few that where rather...bad. Most of the movies listed up top I love. I also thought that I would throw out that I enjoy The Fighting Seabees,and Operation Pacific. I do feel that the roles that suited him best were westerns like Mclintock, Red River, Stagecoach, etc.

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He should have won an Oscar for the 1950's "The Searchers" movie. IMHO Not so much for "True Grit". But I do like that movie. I have never seen any Wayne movie that I did not like, just some more than others.

Terry

 

Thats for sure! The Duke thought that The Searchers was his best performance and never topped it during

his entire acting career. He often watch it over and over in his private screening room at home. My personal

favorite. I do like They Were Expendable. It's based on the book by L.L. White. I believe that Montgomery

actually served in the Navy during WWII. It's a typical John Ford film with all the flag waving and his personal signatures. This is one of my favorite "War movies when we were at war." There will never be another Duke.

That is what Hollywood is sorely lacking.

Checkmate King 2
White Rook Out

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wasnt one of his war pictures , but to those who say he was one dimensional check out Trouble along the way

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mf91aYb4UeA

 

I definitely believe he was robbed for the Searchers and Maybe for Sands of Iwo Jima of the Oscar, but then look which movie won best picture in 1998

 

Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan? you've got to wonder if the academy smokes crack sometimes.

 

Also liked him for the Sea Chase But my best is the Quiet man. Im prejudiced to that since my Father named me after his role.

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He also died in "wake of the red witch" "The Shootist" (which I believe craig was referring to), "The Alamo", "The sea chase" and a few others I believe.

Fighting Seabees- Machinegunned on the Bulldozer before it sets off the fuel dump

 

Sands of Iwo Jima- Shot in the back from a spiderhole

 

Reap the Wild Wind- Killed fighting a Giant Squid

 

The Cowboys- shot repeatedly by Bruce Dern

 

The Alamo- stabbed with a Lance in the powder magazine

 

The Shootist- shot by the bartender after killing the gunmen

 

Wake of the Red Witch- Dies as the ship sinks

 

 

The Sea Chase- Hard to say the ending leaves it in doubt

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I think for me, John Wayne films are absolute comfort movies. There is just nothing better than a John Wayne movie on a snowy Saturday afternoon. I really like them all and own several. They bring back great memories every time. His is the only picture of a celebrity that ever hung in my home.

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Collecting WWII Armor and Tank Destroyer Items

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Well I was wrong about how many times he died.

Goes to tell you, you can't always believe the film commentaries before or after the movie.

Perhaps there are other movies we can see a tree dance. :rolleyes:

 

 

I have copies of most of the westerns he made in the 1930's. I'm pretty sure I have seen him square dance in a couple of those. There is one that he sings in. He is a gun fighter and everytime he gets in a high noon type shoot out he walks into the fight singing. I think his name in that was Singing Sandy. There is another one where he was riding through the desert alone and playing a guitar and singing.

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PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER, SADLY, HAS PASSED AWAY

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I have copies of most of the westerns he made in the 1930's. I'm pretty sure I have seen him square dance in a couple of those. There is one that he sings in. He is a gun fighter and everytime he gets in a high noon type shoot out he walks into the fight singing. I think his name in that was Singing Sandy. There is another one where he was riding through the desert alone and playing a guitar and singing.

I remember hearing that his singing was so bad that it was all over dubbed. Didn't he sing in one or more of the Three Mesquiters movies?

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John Wayne gets a free pass from me no matter what. I heard a real deal PTO vet trash Wayne once, and I get it and totally understood his point of view. Those films are pretty danged far from reality at times, and if I was there, I don't know how I'd feel about movies either!

 

That being said, I grew up watching them with my dad, who grew up watching them himself. Something about them, never saw one that I don't like. After reading up on the PT Boat service, I was absolutely floored by how much Hollywood sounding stuff in They Were Expendable was pretty accurately based on reality! Don't know what it is, but for the era, I can always watch a John Wayne movie. I freakin love Donovan's Reef, and goofiness in it aside, Sands of Iwo Jima will always be a favorite of mine. Just after finding out about Pearl Harbor when I was a second grader, the Flying Tigers was pretty much the coolest thing I had ever seen. Other movies from the time period aren't always the case. Remember a few years ago when the WWJD bracelets were all over the place? My phrase was WWJWD: What would John Wayne do?

 

I don't know what it is enough to put into words very well, but John Wayne's OK by me. I do know that my interests might be drastically different were it not for the Duke.

 

RE: They Were Expendable": It was realistic in part, because Robert Montgomery and John Ford were both Naval Officers and Montgomery had served in the Pacific as a naval officer. It was said that Duke was very distraught being in this movie with the 2 Navy veterans and he had not served. Regardless , the Duke was "larger than life" to me growing up. As a personal note, my father enjoyed watching Duke's movies, but commented on more than one occasion that he had not served in the war (like my father and a good portion of his generation). They don't make male movie stars like they used to: Wayne, Holden, Fonda, Cagney...Oops, I am dating my self again.

JEFF

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For me JW movies are about the dialoge. He had lots of classic lines, but my favorite was from "Sands of Iwo Jima", and I used it in Leadership Training, "Every body makes mistakes, but when we make mistakes, some body don't go home". Paraphrased, but you know the line. And in "Operation Pacific", the speach after the Chief Got Killed trying to make a rescue where JW tells Martin Milner that Chiefs have been taking care of Sailors for a long time, or something like that. Used to show that sceane in CPO training. Actually, OP-Pacific" was made up of a series of actual event's, like "Expendables".

 

Steve Hesson

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Some people criticize Wayne's performances today, and don't realize that when they say he wasn't so much an Actor as he was a Presence how right they were, but it seems to overshadow Wayne as the actor. No amount of lighting and closeups and clever quips could save him if he was an unlikeable statue; he had to sell it. He had to convince you he was this Presence, and half-measures in his portrayal wouldn't cut it. He can't be a complex introvert with really interesting mannerisms if he's playing a direct, take-action character

 

I don't like Flying Leathernecks and Back to Bataan all that much but I enjoy them. War films were part and parcel of cinema at the time and the demand for Wayne to be in them was undoubtedly high, some films must be better than others

 

But I think that the fact that the films were to a degree formulaic works against Wayne's reputation; he was in a lot of these films, and the Love Story that we are so sick of today is present in these films and it seems to stain an attempt at examining these films with an impartial eye. To me at least it does

 

The films called for a particular thing if Wayne was the star. A strong type, a man of action and decisive manner. Irreverent at times but respectful, and a hint of boyishness too. Bigger than life but at the same time able to be identified with, tough because he had to be but reachable on a human level by the right person. I can't fault Wayne for fitting the bill and playing the role that was called for. Seeing other films by Wayne cements his acting ability for me. I can't watch 'The Quiet Man' and conclude that Wayne was a poor actor or could only handle one type of role

 

Of his war films, I oddly enjoy "Operation Pacific" but I am not really sure why. Maybe it's Martin Milner looking like he was 14 years old when they were filming. I find "They were Expendable" a very lo-o-n--o-n-g film though. It's too bad 20 minutes weren't cut from the film somewhere

Why they had to add a love story to each movie baffles me. Wayne was to star as MOH winner Joe Foss. When Foss saw the love story they had written in Joe said no way as he was a married man and the movie was never made. Robert

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Yeah, no kiddin'. I saw The Fighting Seabees the other day, what the heck was that woman doing going INTO the combat zone??? Last time I saw it was as an 8 year old, I think. I still liked it, but man, there was a bunch of not-quite-right stuff going on there!

 

Why they had to add a love story to each movie baffles me. Wayne was to star as MOH winner Joe Foss. When Foss saw the love story they had written in Joe said no way as he was a married man and the movie was never made. Robert

Looking for the following:

452nd and 447th Bomb Group items

Anything 12th Armored- especially uniforms

155th Assault Helicopter Company, Camp Coryell, or Ban Me Thuot Vietnam items[/center]


WWII US Navy Uniforms from the Battle Off Samar: USS Johnston DD-557, USS Hoel DD-553, USS Samuel B. Roberts DE-413, USS Heermann DD-532, USS Dennis DE-405, USS John C. Butler DE-339, USS Raymond DE-341, USS Fanshaw Bay St. Lo, White Plains, Kalinin Bay, Kitkun Bay and Gambier Bay...


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