Barbara Stanwyck and John Wayne, Baby Face
Baby Face (1933) isn’t just worth seeing because it’s a good movie, it’s also worth seeing for the cast, alone. Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Theresa Harris, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Cook, and a very young John Wayne are all outstanding in this one. When I first watched Baby Face (many, many years ago), I had no idea John Wayne (one of my personal favorite stars) was in the movie. When a man shows up in the workplace making eyes at Barbara Stanwyck’s character Lily, I froze and thought, “No way! Can’t be!” – but the camera went in closer and, sure enough, there he was in all his glory… just without a hat and not a horse in sight!
I hate to admit it now, because I’ve grown to like him a great deal, but this is actually the movie that made me a George Brent fan. Before Baby Face, I had only seen him in a few Bette Davis movies and I came away unimpressed each time. Due to the fact that I loved him so much in this movie (and in each one I’ve seen since), I suspect it had more to do with the boring characters he had played than it did with him. He was outstanding in this movie.
George Brent and Barbara Stanwyck
One of this western fanatic’s favorite movies is El Dorado (1966). Directed by the wonderful Howard Hawks, the incredibly (downright perfect if we’re being honest) talented cast includes John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Arthur Hunnicutt, Ed Asner, Michele Carey, Christopher George, Paul Fix, and briefly Johnny Crawford (best loved as Mark McCain on The Rifleman).
A movie is only as good as it’s stars and the characters they play, which is why El Dorado is movie gold. The colorful, larger than life characters this cast gives us is a gift that keeps on giving. I honestly believe I fall more in love with this movie each time I see it. The same is true of another Howard Hawks and John Wayne western, Rio Bravo.
James Caan and Michele Carey
The two lead stars in this western (John Wayne and Robert Mitchum) are excellent as always. There is something so right about watching a John Wayne Western and it’s made even more magical when the stars around him were/are just as larger than life and colorful as he was. In El Dorado, the Duke is surrounded by such stars!
Robert Mitchum and Arthur Hunnicutt go with John Wayne as beautifully as Dean Martin and Walter Brennan do in Rio Bravo. When they’re on the screen together, you’re pretty sure they were born for the moment.
John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and Arthur Hunnicutt
When it comes to supporting stars, El Dorado also has an embarrassment of riches: James Caan, Arthur Hunnicutt, Ed Asner, Christopher George, Michele Carey, and Charlene Holt do exactly what a supporting cast should do.
They simply make the film even better.
James Caan could just as easily be considered a lead star in this film (he gives my favorite performance in the film), he is usually treated as a supporting star… you couldn’t ask for any more support than he gives! The same is true of Arthur Hunnicutt, Christopher George, Ed Asner, and Charlene Holt. This movie wouldn’t be as timeless and perfect without this group of talent.
John Wayne, Christopher George, and Ed Asner
Howard Hawks With Crew and Cast Members, Rio Bravo
One of my absolute favorite directors, Howard Hawks, was BOTD (born on this day) in 1896 in Goshen, Indiana. This talented director was behind some of my personal favorite movies…
- Rio Bravo
- El Dorado
- Red River
- Bringing Up Baby
- Monkey Business
- The Big Sleep
- Only Angels Have Wings
- To Have or Have Not
- Ball of Fire
- Rio Lobo
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
As I see more of his movies, I have NO doubt that other favorites will join the list.
Not only do we owe him a debt of gratitude for his wonderful films, he is responsible for discovering Lauren Bacall. That, alone, earns him my undying devotion!
Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, To Have and Have Not
John Wayne, The Searchers
I’ll have a follow-up post later about the wonderful John Wayne, but I wanted to simply say… as a Western-fanatic… I SO appreciate this man’s career and all he did for the genre.
He’s one of my very favorite actors and I say that without an ounce of hesitation. He gave films everything he had and it was absolutely more than enough.
John Wayne, The Searchers
Many John Wayne Westerns get more attention than Rio Grande but, to my John Wayne loving heart, this is one of his best Westerns. Granted, Rio Bravo, El Dorado, McLintock!, The Searchers, Stagecoach and many others are extraordinary but so is Rio Grande.
Rio Grande was directed by the legend, himself, John Ford. Ford directed John Wayne in quite a few of his films, as well as Maureen O’Hara.
Speaking of Maureen O’Hara (something I, her biggest fan, do many times throughout the day), this was Maureen and John Wayne’s first movie together. I love the fact that, even in this their first film, the magic is most definitely already there. They had something extra special and they had to have known it from the start.
This wonderful Western also stars… among others…. Claude Jarman Jr (wonderful as their son), Ben Johnson, Chill Wills, Harry Carey Jr., and Victor McLaglen, in my favorite of all of his roles. He almost steals every scene he’s in! It was an exceptional story with an exceptional director who was given an exceptional cast.
What more could you ask for?!
You can find Rio Grande on dvd (Amazon link).
Claude Jarman Jr. and Maureen O’Hara
Barry Fitzgerald and Maureen O’Hara, The Quiet Man
We all have that movie (or movies) that are extra special to us. We put it in the dvd player or turn on the television and INSTANTLY everything is wonderful in our little world.
The Quiet Man is one of those magical movies for me. From the gorgeousness of Ireland to the PERFECT cast (Maureen O’Hara, John Wayne, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond, Victor McLaglen…), this movie hypnotizes me each and every time I watch it.
One of the things I love best about The Quiet Man is its beautiful simplicity. John Ford (one of the greatest directors of all time) took a beautiful love story, found a beautiful setting, and assembled the perfect cast…. all while allowing Ireland and its extraordinary people to be front and center.
While I have a busy day in front of me, behind me, and all around me – I just wanted to quickly pay tribute to this glorious movie by making it the pictures of the day.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you!
~ Joi (“Joy”)
Mickey Rentschler, John Wayne, and Evelyn Knapp
When you think of John Wayne, no doubt you (like me) you picture him as a cowboy. Then again, you may picture him as a war hero – I’d wager to guess that most of us either picture him in cowboy boots or combat boots.
Think about it… this man wore a lot of boots!
If you’ve never seen the Western superstar in a role that involved neither a horse, gun, or boots, I beg you to seek such movies out! His Private Secretary (1933) would be a really fun place to start. No boots, no guns, no deputies and the only tank is a fuel tank… but it’s still very entertaining and it is a hoot – a perfect hoot, at that – seeing John Wayne as a regular guy.
(Continued Below the Lobby Card…)
John Wayne, Evelyn Knapp, and Mickey Rentschler
The movie stars the wonderful Evelyn Knapp as Wayne’s leading lady. She even got top-billing in this one because she was better-known at the time. She was a very beautiful and talented actress and one that has always made me wonder, “Why was she not given more roles?!”
Reginald Barlow stars as John Wayne’s dad. Alec B. Francis, Arthur Hoyt, and Natalie Kingston round out the cast.
You can find His Private Secretary on Amazon (links to the Amazon page with dvd options). It’s available on its own or (better still) part of a John Wayne collection of films. Sometimes the collections are at a better price than the individual movie.
John Wayne and Evelyn Knapp
You can find a GREAT selection of Lobby Cards on Amazon. The link leads to a page on Amazon that lists many of their lobby cards (there are many pages of them!). You have to scroll past and through a few gift cards that pop up for some reason, but there are many great lobby cards and they’re often priced very, very reasonably.
John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, Rio Grande
I’m feeling kind of lazy today – as I usually do the day after a big holiday. Not only is fixing all the food exhausting, eating that much zaps your energy too, doesn’t it?!
I do have the gumption to post a couple of pictures of the day, however and… you know me… odds are it’s going to be pictures from a western and most likely one with Maureen O’Hara or John Wayne… or, better yet, both!
Rio Grande is a wonderful Western and one of my favorite these two favorite stars made together. If you’ve never seen Rio Grande, I highly recommend it. You can watch Rio Grande on Prime Video or buy the dvd on Amazon (Rio Grande, links to the dvd, but blu-ray is also available)
John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, Rio Grande
John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara… Perfection!
I’ll just go ahead and say it… people who say there’s no such thing as perfection have never seen The Quiet Man (1952, directed by the wonderful John Ford). If they HAD, they would say, “Outside of The Quiet Man, there’s no such thing as perfection.”
The movie is perfect, the cast is perfect, the director was perfect, the scenery is perfect (what a breathtaking beauty Ireland is), the sets are perfect, the script is perfect, the dialogue is perfect… if it’s aired on television, the commercials are perfect…
Okay, so I got a bit carried away.
If you’ve never seen The Quiet Man – or if it’s been a while since you last saw it – I hope you’ll pop some popcorn, grab a tall glass of raspberry tea (or drink of your choice) and escape with Mary Kate, Sean Thornton, Michaleen Oge Flynn, and Father Peter Lonergan to one of the most serene settings and colorful cast of characters you’re ever going to find.
Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne