LFS member Gary Rutkowski answers our May John Wayne Questionnaire:
Red River (1948) and The Quiet Man (1952)
2.) What do you consider to be John Wayne’s three best performances?
In order: Red River, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers. Honorable mention: The Shootist
3.) Who’s your favorite John Wayne co-star?
This has to be Maureen O’Hara! For male co-stars, I think his offbeat pairing with Montgomery Clift is part of the reason why Red River is so good.
4.) What do you think is his best decade in movies?
You could easily pick the 40s, 50s, and 60s for this. I’ll pick the ’50s, due to the fact that he made both The Quiet Man and The Searchers in the ’50s.
5.) Would you have voted for him to win the Oscar for True Grit (1969)?
Yes. It was a “sentimental” win against Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, but that’s also not to say that Wayne didn’t deliver the goods in True Grit— that shot of him twirling and reloading his shotgun has been used in countless montages.
6.) Do you have a favorite film of his from his pre-stardom era (before Stagecoach in 1939)?
I don’t think I’ve seen any!
7.) What is your least favorite John Wayne movie?
Probably The High and the Mighty. Leonard Maltin, in his introduction on the DVD, makes a case for “appreciating” this movie, but it’s quite dated. What a great score though. (I haven’t seen the notorious Conqueror ).
8.) What do you consider to be his most underrated movie?
For the 1964 movie poll I was leant a copy of Circus World— a particularly unusual role for Wayne (he doesn’t even throw a punch!). It’s definitely worth a look.
9.) Why do you think John Wayne has remained popular to this day?
No movie star has commanded the screen more— before or since— than John Wayne.
10.) What John Wayne movie you’ve already seen would you like to see again right now?
This might seem an odd choice, but I’m curious to see Rooster Cogburn again— the sequel to True Grit, wherein he co-stars with Katharine Hepburn.