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 Posted: Fri Oct 27th, 2006 03:02 am
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Doc C
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Just finished Fact as Fiction by Neil York.  Interesting read for cw historians, writers and movie buffs.  Essentially 3 books in one - Griersons raid, Brown's (Griersons Raid) and Sinclair's (The Horse Soldiers) books, John Ford's movie The Horse Soldiers.  The first part fact, the second fact blended into fiction, the third a movie. 

Doc C



 Posted: Fri Oct 27th, 2006 05:39 am
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susansweet
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Doc this sounds interesting .  I am going to have to add it to my pile.  I remember the movie when I was a kid .  Loved it.  Then saw it two years ago in a  Civil War class for seniors in Adult school.  There are some great lines in the movie.  This time I read about Grierson and the actual march after I saw the movie.  What a change.  I also found out there is a chance my great great grandfather was one of the Confederates who skirmished with Gierson as he moved south . 

Thanks for the information .



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 08:13 pm
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When you watch that movie, see how many historical errors you can find.  I've lost track.

The most obvious, of course, is that John Wayne, the cavalry colonel, wasn't named Grierson at all.  Before the war, Grierson was a band leader and music teacher.  Not exactly the Duke's persona.

The movie raid was before Vicksburg, so spring 1863.  The characters talk about that hellhole, Andersonville.

To me, all that doesn't matter one little bit.  It was entertainment, not history.  Big name actors John Wayne and William Holden.  Lots and lots of horses, some fighting, a catchy cavalry tune.

A bridge was blown up, but not by William Holden.

Patty

Last edited on Tue Nov 7th, 2006 08:31 pm by Widow



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 08:29 pm
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Widow
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Another Civil War incident that inspired a movie was the Beefsteak Raid, near Richmond.  Confederate cavalrymen rustled some 2500 head of Union beef for their starving soldiers.

The 1966 movie is "Alvarez Kelly," starring William Holden as the Irish senor who had driven his cattle from Mexico to the Federal army.  Richard Widmark played "Tom Rossiter," the leader of the Rebel "Comanches" (cavalry) who did the rustling.

This movie involved blowing up a bridge.  Seems like William Holden made a career of blowing up movie bridges.

Patty



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 08:52 pm
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Doc C
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Grew up in nothern Louisiana just a short distance from Natchitoches, La (just north of there are the red river battle sites) where the movie was filmed.  My favorite 2 scenes were the union cavalry regiments riding on the levee and the other hiding from the passing calvary regiments across the river.  Another cult southern movie filmed there about 30 years later was Steel Magnolias.  Great place to visit for one interested in southern plantations along the Cane River (actually once part of the Red River and not a river).  Here in the east , pbs is having a 2 hour John Ford anthology program tonight.

 

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 09:20 pm
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Doc, yes, I like that riverbank scene too.  The Confederates across the river ("A full brigade, Colonel!  Horse, foot, and artillery!") were singing "The Bonnie Blue Flag."

I'd never heard that tune until I saw the movie in 1959, and had no idea what it was about.

Now I do, for sure.

That's beautiful country in Louisiana.

Patty



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 11:00 pm
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Doc C
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My mistake the john ford piece is on Turner Classic Movies tonight.  ? What's your favorite John Ford movie?

Doc C

 



 Posted: Tue Nov 7th, 2006 11:43 pm
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Widow
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Hi, Doc,

I saw "Stagecoach" for the first time recently and I loved it!  It moved to the top of my Ford favorites.  I taped it on Turner Classic Movies and transferred it to DVD.

Can I rank Ford's cavalry trilogy together?  "Fort Apache," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," and "Rio Grande" - I like all of them.

Ford assembled a repertory company and I get such a kick of seeing the same character actors over the years, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., Ken Curtis, and a few others.  Those three in particular appeared as older men in more recent westerns with Tom Selleck and/or Sam Elliott.  Both of whom I like a lot too.

"The Quiet Man" isn't on my list, nor is "The Searchers."  One's too green, the other's too dark for my taste.

The Duke wasn't much of an actor, he just played himself, which is OK with me.  I never saw him in a comedy or, perish forbid, a musical, as most movie actors had to do at least one.  On the other hand, I never saw Cary Grant in a western or musical either.

Other John Wayne films which I've always liked are "North to Alaska," "Hatari!", "Rio Bravo," and "McClintock."

In "How the West was Won," there is a short scene of Generals Grant and Sherman chatting.  Grant, who was 5'8", was played by John Wayne at 6'4".  Sherman, who was 6', was played by Harry Morgan, who was probably all of 5'8".

Recently I picked up some cheap DVDs of really old Wayne movies, when he was in his early 20s.  He had a cute grin, was handsome, slim, and a good rider.  All the plots were the same, filmed on the same location.  I swear I saw the same rocks in every movie.  But again, that's OK, it's just fun entertainment.

Patty

Last edited on Tue Nov 7th, 2006 11:46 pm by Widow



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 12:06 am
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Doc C
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Widow

Wayne played sherman and morgan played grant.  Was one of the better scenes of the movie.  Too melodramatic for my taste even though did enjoy Spencer Tracey's narration.  My favorites are the searchers and the western trilogys.  One of ford's stuntman horseman was killed during the filming of horse soldiers.  Wonder if this one of the persons who did the "roman riding" in rio grande.  As Eastwood did in his movies Ford used many of the same actors in his numerous films and is interesting determining which other ford or even wayne film they were in. 

 

Doc C



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 12:54 am
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Doc,

Thanks for correcting my faulty memory about the tall general and the short actor in "How the West was Won."

The two young actors in "Rio Grande" who did the Roman-style riding were Ben Johnson and Claude Jarman Jr.  Neither was killed, as they both went on to make other movies.  Maybe a stuntman was killed during a practice shoot.

Ben's family owned a ranch near Los Angeles and supplied trained horses to the studios for stunts like that.  Ben got his start as a stuntman, then got speaking parts.

Claude had never done any Roman-style riding.  He just climbed aboard and took off, terrifying the cast and crew.  But he did just fine and they kept the scene.

Patty

Last edited on Wed Nov 8th, 2006 12:56 am by Widow



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 01:17 am
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Doc C
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One of Ford's long-time stuntman was killed while shooting a scene in the horse soldiers.  Was wondering if this was the first rider doing the "roman riding" in fort apache prior to johnson/jarman.  Apparently ford became extremely despondent with this event and lost interest in the film.  Was said to lose interest toward the end of many of his films.  Which character do you prefer Ken Curtis in Ford films or festus in Gunsmoke?

Doc C



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 05:30 am
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Just my 2 cents, but hands down the best Ford-Wayne colloboration is "The Searchers".  Have seen that movie countless times, and I never get tired of it. 

BTW, Ken Curtis, as mentioned already of his fame as Festus on the long running TV Western "Gunsmoke", was and IIRC, an original member of the famed singing group "Sons of The Pioneers".

"Ride Away...Ride Away...Ride awaaaaayyy!"  :)

Regards from the Garden State,

Steve Basic



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 10:55 am
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Howdy from NoVa, Basecat,

You're absolutely right that Ken Curtis sang lead with the Sons of the Pioneers.  In "Rio Grande," they were the regimental singers.  He had a nice voice.  He was in "Rio Grande" and "The Horse Soldiers," both were Ford/Wayne movies.  Many years later, he played an elderly rancher in "Connagher," a Sam Elliott western.  I didn't watch "Gunsmoke" enough to know about Festus.

"Rio Grande" was filmed in Monmument Valley near Moab, Utah, and the river was actually the Colorado.  Monument Valley sprawls across Utah and Arizona, where it lies in the Navajo Reservation.  In the reservation, there were no towns and hardly any roads, so Moab was John Ford's base whenever he filmed in the valley.

"The Searchers" was the darkest of Ford's westerns.  The only part of it I liked was the magnificent scenery.  I saw it several times when in came out in 1956, but I didn't like it.  Fifty years later, I bought the DVD, hoping that maybe my perspective had changed and that I would see it differently, but alas, no.  There's something about it that just sets my teeth on edge.

It has to do with snatching the kidnapped white girl (Natalie Wood) away from the only life she has known among the Comanches and shoving her into the alien and hostile society of the whites.  Her uncle Ethan never asked her what she wanted, he just did what he wanted.  That's the best I can explain my dislike of "The Searchers."

Patty



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 01:06 pm
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Patty you may dislike the Searchers but you understand the theme of the movie .  Ethan goes to get her to kill her because she has been "spoiled"  He doesn't care what she thinks anymore.

I remember seeing the movie when it first came out.  It had Natalie Wood Jeffrey Hunter and John Wayne what more could you ask .  I didn't understand it then.  Of course there were many movies I saw then I didn't understand .  I always tell people I thought Trapeze was about learning to do the Triple .  hee hee. 

My favorite John Wayne movies are Big Trail because somewhere in it is my father, a 18 year old dam worker hired to do extra work because he could ride a horse. ,

Stage Coach   It has the perfect set of western chracters and there is that great Yakima Cannutt stunt with the stage and horse.

The Searchers because it I think is close to how it really was .  Ever hear of Cynthia Ann Parker? 

Rio Bravo  Hey I was a teenager when it came out and it has Ricky Nelson. 

They were Expendable  the non western in the group of favorites . Well it is a Western just set in World War 2. 

Susan



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 02:10 pm
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Not only was The Searchers "loosley" based on the capture of Cynthia Ann Parker, John Wayne's charachter was based on the civil war soldier who recovered her. Confederate Brigadier General Lawrence "Sul" Ross of the 6th Texas Cavalry and Ross's Brigade of Texas Cavalry. He fought here at Corinth as a Colonel, right out side the back door actually. He later became the Gov of the Lone Star State.

My favorite John Wayne flick, and I too count all 3 movies as one, is the cavalry trilogy. Ben Johnson is just great, I used to trick-or-treat at his house in the 60's.

My favorite John Ford film is "Mister Roberts".

Trivia time: Ward Bond thought he had a huge rear end and hated any shot which revealed it. Check out just how many times John Ford did just that to tick him off. Apparently Ford, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Merian Cooper were all in on the joke.



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 02:43 pm
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Hi, all you Searchers fans,

Susan, you said "you may dislike the Searchers but you understand the theme of the movie .  Ethan goes to get her to kill her because she has been "spoiled"  He doesn't care what she thinks anymore."

Well, I completely missed the whole point of the movie.  Duh-me.  I'd better try again, hm?

I'd heard of Cynthia Ann Parker, but I didn't connect her story with the movie.

And calcav, that's fascinating about basing the Wayne character on a real Texas general.

Coolest of all was that you went trick-or-treating at Ben Johnson's house.

See wha'cha learn in this place?

Patty



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 02:57 pm
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Doc C
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Carying on with the movie theme, my favorite Ben Johnson flick is The Last Picture show.  I believe he won best support actor for it.  Think it really captured him as an aging modern cowboy, lost dreams, past loves.  Also the cinematography of that small texas town was incredible to me.  Grew up in such a small town similar to that and had a room mate in college who was from such a town in Texas.  Can still remember going to my home town theatre when the 3 of us would be the only ones in there.  Bogdonavich made a good decision in filming in black and white.

Doc C



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 03:04 pm
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Patty the mgazine True West did an article on the movie the Searchers recently .  Reading the article helped me understand it .  That theme of vengence was what was discussed in the article.  I sure didn't see it as a kid when I saw the movie the first time.  

Cynthia Ann Parker is the mother of the chief Quanah Parker.  Her story is very interesting . 

 

Calcav did you make it Los Angeles last month and to the Drum Barracks.  We have a whole new display upstairs.  Wayne Sherman and others put together some bunkbeds based on design plans he found Everything in the room now is as if soldiers were quartered there.  

Open House is  the first week end in December . 



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 03:06 pm
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Doc , the Last Picture Show is one of my all time favorite movies. 



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 03:15 pm
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As long as we're talking about old westerns and Civil War movies based loosely on facts, I'll throw in a few Jimmy Stewart pictures.

"Bend of the River," made in 1952.  The real star was Mount Hood, Oregon.  In every shot, and stole every scene.  Stewart played a man with a dark secret.  But Arthur Kennedy recognized his name as one of the Kansas-Missouri border raiders.  There was tension to see if Kennedy would denounce Stewart to the leader of the wagon train and spoil Stewart's chance to start a new life.  Rock Hudson had a small part.

"Shenandoah" (1965) was supposedly set in the Valley of Virginia.  Of course it wasn't filmed here at all.  A Virginia farmer who didn't believe in slavery, secession, or war was caught up in the Civil War, by both sides.

"Winchester '73" (1950) wasn't based on anything historical.  Two young actors with small speaking parts were Rock Hudson as the Indian and Anthony Curtis as the private.

"The Man from Laramie" (1955) was a hoot.  My brother and I were born and raised in Laramie.  We were so disappointed that there wasn't anything about Laramie, or even about Wyoming, except that Stewart was FROM Laramie.  My brother is retired and lives in France.  Their British friends get a kick out of calling him "the Man from Laramie."  So he talks cowboy and gives them a big laugh.

Patty



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