John Wayne – Essential 14 Movie Collection

The films in the DVD collection are:

  • Hondo (1953)
  • Island in the Sky (1953)
  • The High and the Mighty (1954)
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
  • Hatari! (1962)
  • Donovan’s Reef (1963)
  • McLintock! (1963)
  • In Harm’s Way (1965)
  • The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
  • El Dorado (1966)
  • True Grit (1969)
  • Rio Lobo (1970)
  • Big Jake (1971)
  • The Shootist (1976)

As he is one of the most popular American actors ever, a John Wayne Collection should be a part of every film buff’s library. The American Film Institute named him number 13 on the list of greatest screen legends. He was a tough and rugged actor who made several classic Westerns and War films. A man’s man that men wanted to be more like and women wanted to be with. Having made 160 films there is a huge catalogue to choose from and this is just one of many collections. This one contains 14 of his most must see films.

Selected Review:

True Grit directed by Henry Hathaway

Teenage tomboy Mattie Ross (Kim Darby – Better Off Dead, Halloween) is looking for revenge against the man who killed her father. She is off in the search of justice. To help her to this end she recruits an old marshal and a Texas Ranger. Rooster Coburn (John Wayne) is a tough old guy who has the reputation for not stopping until the job is complete and La Boeuf (Glen Campbell – Any Which Way You Can, The Cool Ones) is on the job looking for the same man as he committed another murder in Texas. The unlikely trio travel far and wide from Arkansas deep into Indian territory to try and find their man.

A simple tale of justice and revenge and the whole movie revolves around these two themes. Maybe this keeping it simple is what makes it so good. This is a Western at its authentic best. A pure film in what probably was the last successful year for the cinematic Western.

The dialogue is not only authentic, but poetic. It is like it was written by one of our foremost writers which is not usually the case when it comes to this genre. A shame it would be if these well written words were not delivered with equal aplomb. The cast is up to the task delivering their lines with talent and care. From the smallest of supporting roles to the three leads, everyone turns in a superlative performance.

It is quite interesting to see the legendary John Wayne play off character here. A one-eyed, fat, mean, greedy, perennially drunk, and old marshal is not exactly your typical John Wayne role. A farce of all his other Western roles is what this is. The role did make people sit up and take notice of his acting skills. He makes the potentially one-dimensional character a multi-layered one by allowing us to see that he is not just a crotchety old man but uses the toughness to hide his tenderness beneath it. It probably was not his best performance, but he won the Oscar that year (1969) for sentimental reasons and his entire body of work.

Director Henry Hathaway (Niagara, How the West Was Won) keeps the film moving at the perfect pace. He also allows for some focus being placed on character development. It is a stylish Western and for that I credit Hathaway.

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