Tag Archives: How the West Was Won

Movie Wisdom – James Stewart Edition

25 Jun

My wife and stepdaughter are in Lowell, Massachusetts for a student conference. Therefore, I am holding down the fort. This includes keeping the dog fed and the house standing. It also gives me the opportunity to spend some time with my parents.

Tonight, my dad and I watched Bend of the River, a Western starring James Stewart and Rock Hudson in one of his early roles. It is a pretty good movie with a bunch of character actors from the 1950s. Jay C. Flippen, Harry Morgan, Frances Bavier and Royal Dano are just a few. It is also the first time I have ever seen Stepin Fetchit, a comedian who caused controversy by the racial stereotypes of his on-screen persona.

After watching the movie, I decided to look for movie wisdom in the films of James Stewart. After all, I do not have much else to do.

From Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books.

Great principles don’t get lost once they come to light.

Don’t miss the wonders that surround you.

From It’s a Wonderful Life

No man is a failure who has friends.

Youth is wasted on the wrong people.

From Rope

We all do strange things in our childhood.

From The Stratton Story

A man has to know where he’s going.

From Broken Arrow

To talk of peace is not hard. To live it is very hard.

You should always wipe your hands on your arm after eating.

It is not easy to change, but sometimes it is required.

From Bend of the River

There’s a difference between men and apples.

Never mix marriage with gambling. Percentage is all against it.

From Rear Window

Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence.

Sometimes it’s worse to stay than it is to run.

From The Man from Laramie

Everybody should have a place to remember and feel they belong to.

From Two Rode Together

Sometimes it takes a lot more courage to live than it does to die.

Well, there are some men you just can’t trust to stay where you put ’em.

I can tell when a man walks through that door whether he prefers blondes or brunettes, drinks whiskey or beer, plays blackjack or poker, is a cheapskate or a high roller.

From The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Courage can be purchased at yon’ tavern.

From How the West Was Won

There ain’t much glory in trompin’ behind a plow.

It don’t pay to eat too much on an empty stomach.

There ain’t much glory in lookin’ at a man with his guts hanging out.

From Cheyenne Autumn

Now, as I understand it, a mademoiselle is a madam who ain’t quite made it yet – only younger and friskier.

From Shenandoah

When you love a woman without likin’ her, the night can be long and cold, and contempt comes up with the sun.

A man who eats with his hat on is going nowhere in a hurry.

From The Flight of the Phoenix

Insurance companies move in mysterious ways. Much like God… only far less generous.

From The Rare Breed

You cannot live with dreams.

A man in love is neither lord nor master of himself.

While beauty is skin deep, meanness runs all the way through.

From Bandolero!

There things a man ought never do – spit in church, scratch his self in front of his ma, and pick his nose.

 

 

 

 

Movie Wisdom – Harry Dean Stanton Edition

24 Aug

I am still in the process of breaking my writer’s block, and I am still creating easy posts until it completely goes away. Today’s easy post is part of the Movie Wisdom series that I often use to get through such times.

In the past, we have looked at words of wisdom from leading men, leading ladies and character actors. This time, we are exploring the works of one of time all time character actors, Harry Dean Stanton. The Kentucky native has been in some classics.Harry Dean

From How the West Was Won

There ain’t much glory in trompin’ behind a plow.

It don’t pay to eat too much on an empty stomach.

There ain’t much glory in lookin’ at a man with his guts hanging out.

From Cool Hand Luke

Sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand.

Things are just never the way they seem.

From Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

Comes an age in a man’s life when he don’t wanna spend time figuring what comes next.

From The Godfather: Part II

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone.

Good health is the most important thing. More than success, more than money, more than power.

From The Missouri Breaks

The closer you get to Canada, the more things’ll eat your horse.

From Red Dawn

Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat.

No one can ever go home again.

From Pretty in Pink

If somebody doesn’t believe in me, I can’t believe in them.

If you give off signals that you don’t want to belong, people will make sure that you don’t.

From The Last Temptation of Christ

Change will happen with love, not with killing.

From The Green Mile

People hurt the ones they love.

Sometimes the past just catches up with you, whether you want it to or not.

You can’t hide what’s in your heart.

From Rango

No man can walk out of his own story.

Stay in school, eat your veggies, and burn everything but Shakespeare.

Control the water, and you control everything.

Sometimes you have to dig deep to find what you’re looking for.

It’s the deeds that make the man.

 

John Wayne’s Worst

3 Mar

The other day, there was an interesting comment on one of my posts. Andrew Petcher, who has a great blog, asked my opinion about John Wayne movies. Simply, which is the best, and which is the worst? I have given this question some thought and come to a conclusion

It is easier to pick the worst because there are a bunch of great ones. With that in mind, this post is about the movie that I think is John Wayne’s worst.

Of course, there have to be some rules. First, I must have seen the movie. After all, I have not seen all of the Duke’s films, and there must be some clunkers that I have missed (stuff like B Movies and The Conqueror). Second, John Wayne needs to make more than a cameo appearance (stuff like How the West Was Won and The Greatest Story Ever Told).

Now that the rules have been established, I am going to get to the point. In my opinion, the worst to star John Wayne is Rio Lobo, which was released in 1970. This could be your favorite movie, and you might be asking why. Well, the reasons are as follows.Rio Lobo

1. It is like one person wanted to make a Civil War movie and another person wanted to make a Western. Instead of making a decision, they decided to mash both together.

As a historian of the American West, I know that people went westward after the Civil War. However, this movie jars the viewer with a sudden transition. In one scene, John Wayne is a cavalry officer. In the next, he is his old gunslinging self.

2. It is the third time this script is filmed, and it is the worst of the bunch. There is no way that it compares to Rio Bravo and El Dorado. The third time is not the charm when you are telling the same story. Oh yeah, the story. It goes like this.

The bad guy is trying to control all of the land around the town.

The bad guy, or someone related to the bad guy, gets arrested.

The good guys realize that they have to barricade themselves in the jail until help arrives.

One of the good guys gets captured.

There is a prisoner swap, which will give the bad guy freedom to do what he wants.

During the final showdown, something surprising happens to give the good guys the advantage.

There is a sidekick who provides comic relief.

The is also a drunk on the side of the good guys.

On the side of the good guys is a young man with a cool name. In Rio Bravo and El Dorado, they are, respectively, Colorado and Mississippi. In Rio Lobo, they skip the states and go with Tuscarora.

I could go on, but you get the point.

3. The supporting cast leaves a lot to be desired. Although, I am probably being unfair in this point because the actors took later roles that hinder my judgement.

The big bad guy is played by Victor French. Honestly, I cannot get out of my mind that he is Chief Roy Mobey on Carter Country. “Handle it! Handle it!”Carter Country

The crooked sheriff is played by Mike Henry, who would go on to play Junior in Smokey and the Bandit. “Put the evidence in the car!”Junior

Heck, Jack Elam, who played the crazy old drunk guy, was not even a good choice. He was ten years younger than John Wayne.

Luckily, this is not a movie where John Wayne, like in the first two, ends up with a girl who is too young for him. Instead of falling in love with him, they tell him that he is comfortable. However, there is an interesting story about one of the young actresses in Rio Lobo.

Sherry Lansing plays Amelita, who has her face slashed by the sheriff. In the final scene, she kills him. Yep, she shot Junior.Amelita

However, that is not the interesting part. In later years, she became the first woman to head a Hollywood Studio.

Anyway, these are a few of the reasons why I think Rio Lobo is John Wayne’s worst movie. Now, I have a question for all of the fans of the Duke. What do you think is his worst movie? Of course, you might be such a fan that you do not think any of them are bad.

Movie Wisdom – George Peppard Edition

9 Nov

Hollywood did everything it could to make George Peppard a leading man. He appeared in several classic movies but never reached the star status that many had envisioned. In fact, his most enduring role was on “The A-Team”, the action-packed show that introduced the world to Mr. T. Despite this declining career arc, wisdom can be found in the movies of George Peppard.

From Home from the Hill

Be the kind of man that walks around with nothing in his pockets, no identification because everyone knows who you are. No cash because anyone in town would be happy to lend you anything you need. No keys ’cause you don’t keep a lock on a single thing you own. And no watch because time waits on you.

From Breakfast at Tiffany’s

You could always tell what kind of a person a man thinks you are by the earrings he gives you.

It’s useful being top banana in the shock department.

Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.

It’s better to look at the sky than live there.

From How the West Was Won

Well, it don’t pay to eat too much on an empty stomach.

There ain’t much glory in lookin’ at a man with his guts hanging out.

From The Carpetbaggers

Well, a man is judged by what’s in his head, not in his bed.

From Rough Night in Jericho

Forty nine percent of something is better than a hundred percent of nothing.

The difference between an amateur and a professional: a professional figures out a way to cut down the odds before he makes his move.

A man starts choking a woman is looking to go to hell in a hurry.

If you can’t handle whiskey you shouldn’t drink.

From Damnation Alley

All the dead are dead – and the living are dying.

In previous Movie Wisdom posts, I have purposely avoided television series. After all, it is about the wisdom in movies. However, Peppard played a television detective named Banacek who quoted Polish proverbs. If you like, then you should watch this compilation of those sayings.