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Silver Screen Icons: John Wayne Westerns [4 Discs] [DVD]

SKU:32860336
Release Date:05/30/2017
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    Overview

    Synopsis


    The Cowboys
    In one of John Wayne's more interesting late Westerns, "The Duke" plays Will Anderson, a crusty veteran cattleman preparing a 400-mile drive to get a herd of steers to market. Shortly before the trip is scheduled to begin, Will's crew quits when they get word of a nearby gold strike. With little time and few alternatives, Will recruits eleven boys, ages nine through 13, and teaches them the basics of herding cattle and riding the range. Bruce Dern plays a memorably foul villain and cattle rustler named Long Hair, while Roscoe Lee Browne portrays Jebediah, the cattle drive cook, and Colleen Dewhurst is Kate, a madam. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Rio Bravo
    Set in Texas during the late 1860s, Rio Bravo is a story of men (and women) and a town under siege. Presidio County Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne) is holding Joe Burdette (Claude Akins), a worthless, drunken thug, for the murder of an unarmed man in a fight in a saloon -- the problem is that Joe is the brother of wealthy land baron Nathan Burdette (John Russell), who owns a big chunk of the county and can buy all the hired guns he doesn't already have working for him. Burdette's men cut the town off to prevent Chance from getting Joe into more secure surroundings, and then the hired guns come in, waiting around for their chance to break him out of jail. Chance has to wait for the United States marshal to show up, in six days, his only help from Stumpy (Walter Brennan), a toothless, cantankerous old deputy with a bad leg who guards the jail, and Dude (Dean Martin), his former deputy, who's spent the last two years stumbling around in a drunken stupor over a woman that left him. Chance's friend, trail boss Pat Wheeler (Ward Bond), arrives at the outset of the siege and tries to help, offering the services of himself and his drovers as deputies, which Chance turns down, saying they're not professionals and would be too worried about their families to be good at anything except being targets for Burdette's men; but Chance does try to enlist the services of Wheeler's newest employee, a callow-looking young gunman named Colorado Ryan (Ricky Nelson), who politely turns him down, saying he prefers to mind his own business. In the midst of all of this tension, Feathers (Angie Dickinson), a dance hall entertainer, arrives in town and nearly gets locked up by Chance for cheating at cards, until he finds out that he was wrong and that she's not guilty -- this starts a verbal duel between the two of them that grows more sexually intense as the movie progresses and she finds herself in the middle of Chance's fight. Wheeler is murdered by one of Burgette's hired guns who is, in turn, killed by Dude in an intense confrontation in a saloon. Colorado throws in with Chance after his boss is killed and picks up some of the slack left by Dude, who isn't quite over his need for a drink or the shakes that come with trying to stop. Chance and Burdette keep raising the ante on each other, Chance, Dude, and Colorado killing enough of the rancher's men that he's got to double what he's paying to make it worth the risk, and the undertaker (Joseph Shimada) gets plenty of business from Burdette before the two sides arrive at a stalemate -- Burdette is holding Dude and will release him in exchange for Joe. This leads to the final, bloody confrontation between Chance and Burdette, where the wagons brought to town by the murdered Wheeler play an unexpected and essential role in tipping the balance. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

    Fort Apache
    The first of John Ford's "Cavalry Trilogy", Fort Apache stars John Wayne as captain Kirby York and Henry Fonda as Custer clone Lt. Col. Owen Thursday. Resentful of his loss in rank and transfer to the West after serving gallantly in the Civil War, the vainglorious Thursday insists upon imposing rigid authority on rough-and-tumble Fort Apache. He is particularly anxious to do battle with the local Indians, despite York's admonitions that the trouble around the fort is being fomented not by the so-called savages but by corrupt white Indian agents. Thursday nonetheless ends up in a climactic set-to with Indian chief Cochise. He and his men are needlessly slaughtered, but the Eastern press builds "Thursday's Charge" into an incident of conspicuous valor--and York, ever loyal to the cavalry, is not about to tell the whole truth. The bare bones of Fort Apache's plotline are fleshed out with several subplots, including the romance between Thursday's daughter Philadelphia (Shirley Temple) and Lt. Mickey O'Rourke (John Agar), the son of Fort Apache veteran Sgt. Michael O'Rourke (Ward Bond). There's also plenty of time for the expected drunken-brawl humor of Victor McLaglen. Not in the least politically correct, Fort Apache is a classic of its kind, and together with Rio Grande (1950) the best of the John Ford/John Wayne Cavalry films. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Searchers
    If John Ford is the greatest Western director, The Searchers is arguably his greatest film, at once a grand outdoor spectacle like such Ford classics as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Rio Grande (1950) and a film about one man's troubling moral codes, a big-screen adventure of the 1950s that anticipated the complex themes and characters that would dominate the 1970s. John Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a former Confederate soldier who returns to his brother Aaron's frontier cabin three years after the end of the Civil War. Ethan still has his rebel uniform and weapons, a large stash of Yankee gold, and no explanations as to where he's been since Lee's surrender. A loner not comfortable in the bosom of his family, Ethan also harbors a bitter hatred of Indians (though he knows their lore and language well) and trusts no one but himself. Ethan and Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), Aaron's adopted son, join a makeshift band of Texas Rangers fending off an assault by renegade Comanches. Before they can run off the Indians, several homes are attacked, and Ethan returns to discover his brother and sister-in-law dead and their two daughters kidnapped. While they soon learn that one of the girls is dead, the other, Debbie, is still alive, and with obsessive determination, Ethan and Martin spend the next five years in a relentless search for Debbie -- and for Scar (Henry Brandon), the fearsome Comanche chief who abducted her. But while Martin wants to save his sister and bring her home, Ethan seems primarily motivated by his hatred of the Comanches; it's hard to say if he wants to rescue Debbie or murder the girl who has lived with Indians too long to be considered "white." John Wayne gives perhaps his finest performance in a role that predated screen antiheroes of the 1970s; by the film's conclusion, his single-minded obsession seems less like heroism and more like madness. Wayne bravely refuses to soft-pedal Ethan's ugly side, and the result is a remarkable portrait of a man incapable of answering to anyone but himself, who ultimately has more in common with his despised Indians than with his more "civilized" brethren. Natalie Wood is striking in her brief role as the 16-year-old Debbie, lost between two worlds, and Winton C. Hoch's Technicolor photography captures Monument Valley's savage beauty with subtle grace. The Searchers paved the way for such revisionist Westerns as The Wild Bunch (1969) and McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), and its influence on movies from Taxi Driver (1976) to Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Star Wars (1977) testifies to its lasting importance. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Cast & Crew


    • John Wayne
      John Wayne - Wil Anderson
    • Roscoe Lee Browne
      Roscoe Lee Browne - Jebediah Nightlinger
    • Bruce Dern
      Bruce Dern - Asa Watts ("Long Hair")
    • Colleen Dewhurst
      Colleen Dewhurst - Kate
    • Slim Pickens
      Slim Pickens - Anse




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