James Warner Bellah

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Fort Apache Review


Extraordinary
Fort Apache is a John Wayne vehicle often mentioned on the short list of best westerns (The Ox-Bow Incident, Shane, The Wild Bunch, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and High Noon lead the posse). Typical of John Ford westerns, but more adventurous than most of them, Fort Apache offers Ford's trademark mix of solid entertainment, soap, occasional shoot-'em-ups, and reverie.

In this one, the Duke is a cavalry officer stationed in Apache territory who is sympathetic to the Indians' plight. He is forced to choose between challenging the Apaches and disobeying his commanding officer, a hapless Northeasterner (Henry Fonda). The straight-arrow role arguably fits Wayne better than the conflicted heroes and bad guys he played in The Searchers, Red River, and other films.

Continue reading: Fort Apache Review

Fort Apache Review


Extraordinary
Fort Apache is a John Wayne vehicle often mentioned on the short list of best westerns (The Ox-Bow Incident, Shane, The Wild Bunch, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and High Noon lead the posse). Typical of John Ford westerns, but more adventurous than most of them, Fort Apache offers Ford's trademark mix of solid entertainment, soap, occasional shoot-'em-ups, and reverie.

In this one, the Duke is a cavalry officer stationed in Apache territory who is sympathetic to the Indians' plight. He is forced to choose between challenging the Apaches and disobeying his commanding officer, a hapless Northeasterner (Henry Fonda). The straight-arrow role arguably fits Wayne better than the conflicted heroes and bad guys he played in The Searchers, Red River, and other films.

Continue reading: Fort Apache Review

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Review


Very Good
James Stewart and Lee Marvin square off in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the Citizen Kane of westerns -- about a Senator (Stewart) from the old west who returns who for the funeral of an old cowboy friend (the inimitable John Wayne), whereupon he is quizzed about his rise to power as a politician, thanks to his slaying of the evil highwayman Liberty Valance (Marvin). What follows is an unraveling of the legend behind the infamous shootout, when Stewart's pantywaist lawyer somehow outdid the rough-and-tumble villain.

A classic John Ford film (and one of the last black and white westerns to be made), Wayne and Stewart make a great Odd Couple in the podunk town of Shinbone. Unfortunately, the middle of the film sags under the overly patriotic history lessons we are given when Stewart takes it upon himself to teach the locals how to read and write. The ensuing fight for statehood isn't much better, except when Valance comes a-knockin'.

Continue reading: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Review

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