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John Wayne's Way


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About the Author

Douglas Brode is a screenwriter, playwright, novelist, film historian, and multi-award winning journalist. He is the author of more than 30 books on film and the mass media.


Marion Morrison of Winterset, IA, moved to Southern California in 1914 at age seven. He went to the University of Southern California on a football scholarship, which led to bit parts in the movies, and was noticed and rebranded as John Wayne. In 1939, the director John Ford made him a star in the movie Stagecoach. Wayne made two dozen films with Ford and remained a renowned actor until his death in 1979. Eliot, who has written biographies of Cary Grant, Clint Eastwood, and Walt Disney, studies Wayne as an auteur. Eliot's focus is on the films-how they got made, their messages, the acting, and the critical and public response. He particularly highlights Wayne's politics. Unlike most of the big stars of that time, Wayne did not serve in the armed forces in World War II, and Eliot traces his superpatriotism and anticommunist fervor to that fact. The actor detested the 1952 Western High Noon, starring Gary Cooper, as thoroughly un-American and repeatedly pushed a hard-line message in his films such as The Alamo (1960) and The Green Berets (1968). It's a readable, solid book based on library research. Screenwriter and playwright Brode's book is a well-illustrated guide to the Duke's films, describing each with a short life lesson (e.g., the lesson from 1968's Hellfighters is 'A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do; his woman must either accept and live with that or cut and run.' VERDICT Eliot's book is a great account of the star's life more for film buffs in general than for fans of Wayne. Brode's well-done work will make an excellent present for those who love Wayne's films. * Library Journal *
This volume is a chatty, often humorous or pithy, overview of John Wayne and Wayne's characters in film. The author explores the film legacy of the Duke, providing commentary on the lessons learned from the archetypes of the West. * Communication Booknotes Quarterly *

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