Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Shootist

"It's not always being fast or even accurate that counts. It's being willing. I found out early that most men, regardless of cause or need, aren't willing. They blink an eye or draw a breath before they pull the trigger...And I won't." -J.B. Books
John Wayne, himself fighting a battle with cancer, portrays the last, dying, Wild West gunman at the cusp of the modern age. The end of an era, in so many ways, all wrapped up in one man.

I really thought I had seen every John Wayne film by now. I'm glad I hadn't.


Bob said...

Earlier in the film, Wayne's character gives his philosophy:

"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."

That's the code a lot of us go by. I have a friend, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, who has those words memorized. It's one of his favorite movies.

FYI, don't bother with the book that the movie is based on. The character played by Ron Howard in the movie is a piece of human trash in the book. It's one of the few occasions that I've regretted reading a book.

Apocalypso said...

I have always loved that movie, remember seeing in the theater, I remember my dad saying something to effect of 'Remember this, because this is probably the last time you will ever see him (John Wayne) on the big screen'

I still remember it to some degree. And yes, that quote is a code to live by indeed.

Earl said...

I read the book first, like the ending in the book better for many reasons, but you couldn't have Oppie shooting the Duke to death on screen. The movie was and is a great one - look at the entire cast, Richard Boone, Hugh OBrian, the lady and the street car driver and the most perfect doctor around. Great movie, you ought to get out more - but you probably saw it at home during your re-comp.

Glad you did see it.

Robert Langham said...

That's a great one.

tjbbpgobIII said...

I didn't like that you couldn't have Opie kill the Duke at the end as in the book. It would have made a great film even better and would surely do good for Opies' street creds. The movie was also a good script for Wayne and also the Scatman.

Eric said...

I like the remark Jimmy Stewart made about not having seen John Wayne for 15 years. That's how long it was since their only other movie together, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

PPPP said...

Many people have said that John Wayne didn't really act much. Or rather, that he never really acted much differently from one character to another, from one film to another. The exception generally being in The Quiet Man.

I disagree. Yes, they were often variations on a theme, but not all of his characters were completely noble. Tom Doniphon in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance shot Liberty from the shadows. Granted, he needed killing, but it went against Doniphon's grain to do it that way. He also shot a paint bucket so that it dumped paint on Jimmy Stewart's character. Mean and petty.

And in Wake of the Red Witch, his character is actually a bad guy! The only one I am aware of that he ever played. Intentionally sank his ship. Of course, he partially redeemed himself (had to - it was The Duke, after all).

But back on topic, I think he probably deserved an Oscar for this one, even more than for True Grit.

PPPP said...

As a followup, I think that quote, even more than the "won't be laid a hand on" one, is one we who carry need to adopt.

When it's "GO" time, we must have already decided. There can be no hesitation, as we are often, if not usually, already behind the curve at that point.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."

Bob stole my contribution to the comment thread...

Mulliga said...

This was one of the first John Wayne movies I ever saw. It's nice to know the Duke went out on a high note.

drjim said...

Yes, a most excellent movie.
"Island In The Sky" and "The Sons of Katie Elder" are two of his other films that I really like.

Matthew said...

I enjoyed the opening flashback using clips from Wayne's filmography to show Books' history of gunfights.

WV; tenogas - "gimme a ..." what you'll say to the pump jockey in the near future for when buying a single gallon.

Glenn B said...

Yes The Shootist was a good movie and Wayne played a good part, one of his better roles. The lines quoted above are all grand but maybe the best move line I heard heard him spout was in True Grit when he said:

"Fill your hand you son of a b----."

And then he proceeded a wild mounted shooting charge.

All the best,

Kevin said...

The Shootist is my favorite of all of Wayne's films, but I have to say my favorite Wayne character is Rooster Cogburn in both True Grit and Rooster Cogburn. No, Wayne didn't have much range as an actor, but he didn't need it, either.

Skip said...

Met the Duke on his boat in Newport once.
Yes, he was real.
Sick as he was, he was. a. man.