I first saw the movie, "Stagecoach," when I was around 8 years old, and from then on I featured myself as John Wayne's "baby sister." He was always calling one of the young girls in his films "baby sister," and I kind of liked that; always made me feel as though he cared about me. At any rate, a lot has been written about John Wayne and the parts he played on the screen. He was a hero more often than not in the roles he played; in fact I am not sure he ever played a vile person in any of his films. It was during World War II when the subject of his not entering any of the military services came up. Some writers blamed his director, John Ford, for keeping his star out of the war; others wrote that he was refused by the military because of football injuries. Still there were those who claimed his age, 34 at the outset of the war, was a factor. Though it is true that he was always sorry that he did not serve in the military during World War II, I'm sure that he must have taken some pride in the war films he starred in and also making training movies for the military..
The many westerns and World War II movies that Wayne made comprise a staggering number and are still being shown on television. Though he had been nominated for best actor in films such as "Sands of Iwo Jima," he at last won the golden statue for his performance in 1970 for "True Grit." Among his many posthumous awards was the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Jimmy Carter. That he was and remains to this day a true iconic star and patriot cannot be denied.
The Quiet Man
John Wayne's favorite leading lady must have been Maureen O'Hara, with whom he starred with in many movies including "The Quiet Man". This heart-warming movie was a smash hit with audiences in the United States and abroad. Made in 1952, a scene from the movie was brilliantly used 30 years later in the 1982 film "ET, the Extra -Terrestrial," (pictured above). It is hard to pick a favorite among the many films in which John Wayne starred, but "The Quiet Man" must share top spot in my heart, along with another of his films, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
While "The Quiet Man" was a heart-warming tale of a man returning to his childhood home in Ireland, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" is a tale of violence in the Old West, where a man relies on his prowess with a gun to settle things. This of course was before the railroad and other technological and cultural improvements in the ongoing drama of calming down the "Wild West" into an acceptable civilized community. But way back then, while guns ruled, it was the outlaw who topped the balance of power. In the movie, the outlaw Vance was a crazed power seeking individual who took control of the town of Shinbone through violent threats and blood curdling murder. When one of his victims, Ransom Stoddard, puts aside his seeking justice in a court of law and totes a gun in search of Vance, he is hailed as a hero when the town witnesses the killing of Vance. What the town does not know is that the man who actually shot Liberty Valance is Tom Doniphon (played by John Wayne).
I watched the movie again the other night, and was reminded of the current world situation, where a man such as John Wayne is sorely needed to put backbones in place to stand against those like Liberty Valance who would cower anyone contrary to his crazed will. You see, Tom Doniphon, was the only one who was not nor ever would be cowered by the likes of Liberty Valance.