“Yes, ma’am, just as hard as I could.”*
Well, the films of John Wayne are featured on TCM all day today, so set your DVR!
I am especially looking forward to Tall in the Saddle (1944) which I have not seen in quite a while.
My mother always liked Tall in the Saddle, because she liked Ella Raines who plays the female lead. I think she thought she was more “normal” looking than a lot of the stars of the 1940s–i.e. pretty without the need for elaborate hair, extensive makeup and penciled on eyebrows.
She also has a good part to play in this western–a tomboy who gets to ride around on horseback and kick symbolic dust at the goody-two-shoes who is competition for John Wayne’s affection, Audrey Long.
The reviewer for the New York Times called the film “a regulation rough-and-tumble Western”, complete with a thundering stage coach ride through sagebrush country, fist fights, shootings, and “the customary romantic clinch”. The reviewer acknowledged that Wayne saves the film from its predictability:
Mr. Wayne has to fight his way through every inch of this film, against toughies like Ward Bond, a crooked judge; Harry Woods, a no-account rustler, and Russell Wade, a weakling gun-happy young rancher. Even Ella Raines sends some bullets whizzing perilously close to our hero’s head … Mr. Wayne walks into a mess of trouble in Red Rock, but in eighty-seven noisy minutes he bowls over the opposition, turns up the murderer of his cousin and has Miss Raines purring in his arms. Just take Tall in the Saddle for what it is, a rousing old-fashioned Western, and you won’t go wrong.
Yes, Mr. Wayne saves the day and the movie.
All the movies showing today are worth viewing for their star. That cannot be said for a lot of the movies shown this month on TCM’s Summer Under the Stars.
Anyway, The Quiet Man (1955) is on tonight, followed by The Searchers (1956) and Rio Bravo (1959). So enjoy!
Here is the schedule.
*John Wayne in response to the statement, “I saw you hit that poor man!”