Monday, March 22, 2010

The Shootist

John Wayne's last film. And it is brilliant. It is especially significant considering Wayne's deteriorating health and the loss of Bacall's husband a couple years before.
Part of that significance and brilliance is brought to light by the actors. Wayne and Bacall are from the older generation of Hollywood. They are stars for a reason. There is a particular scene that I love. When Wayne tells Bacall that he has cancer. It is so powerful. You can see them channeling emotions and it is really touching. Then you have the younger set - the up and coming Hollywood - including Ron Howard. You also have Henry Morgan and James Stewart, how much better can you get? This movie really seemed like a death of some kind. The end of an era of filmmaking. You have to see the movie to understand how amazing it is.
It is iconic. It is also beautiful and it makes a couple of statements worth making. About the essentials: life, death, and dignity. This movie has more meaning in one scene than most do in an entire film nowadays.
It also has some of the best lines. One of my dad's favorites: Once Wayne gets confirmation of his condition: Wayne "You told me I was strong as an ox" Stewart "Well, even an ox dies." Then there is a lot of fun banter between Bacall and Wayne. The best is: Bacall: "John Bernard, you swear too much." Wayne: "Like Hell I do."
Its such a wonderful film. That last day - I can't help it, I cry - every time.
See it - it is a masterpiece of film making and one of the best last films a person could make. The movie is John Wayne's whole career in a single movie. An icon. John Wayne goes out with class.
5 out of 5 stars

I leave you with one last quote - because I think it is so important - a creedo of JB Brooks: "I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them." Granted this is coming from a "shootist" but it is a standard of dignity, of requirement of respect from people.

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