Discovering Early John Wayne

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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Phillyrich

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Discovering Early John Wayne

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 10:35 pm

After watching the delightful Republic: "Tall In The Saddle" (1944), I'm eager
for more early John Wayne (pre 1945) at Republic, and even some of his
small studio westerns from the 1930's.

There are so-o-o many Wayne films from the 1930's
and early 1940's, I don't know where to begin. A sea of titles.

Anyone want to recommend some of the better films? (Anything with
Gabby Hayes is a plus.)

Is there a book or website that evaluates the early Wayne films?
.
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R Michael Pyle

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Re: Discovering Early John Wayne

PostSat Apr 14, 2018 6:30 am

I'll recommend these. These are just some that I personally like, and they're not based on any other critical basis. The first three have Wayne in a subordinate role, and star other Western stars, but they're fun to watch.

1) "Range Feud" (1931) with Buck Jones
2) "Texas Cyclone" (1932) with Tim McCoy
3) "Two-Fisted Law" (1932) with Tim McCoy
4) "Randy Rides Alone" (1934) This one has 'Gabby' Hayes, too
5) "Texas Terror" (1935) This one has 'Gabby' Hayes, too

All the "3 Mesquiteers" films (Wayne made several) are half way decent, and "Overland Stage Raiders" (1938) has one of the final film performances of Louise Brooks! (Oh, and, yes, it IS Mesquiteers, NOT Musketeers)

My very favorite of all John Wayne films is "Shepherd of the Hills" (1941). My wife is NOT a fan of this film; so I'd say that it has appeal to some, but not all. Harry Carey, Sr. is a major part of this film.

Just a start.
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FilmGauge

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Re: Discovering Early John Wayne

PostSat Apr 14, 2018 1:30 pm

FYI, "TALL IN THE SADDLE" was made by RKO, not Republic.
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MaryGH

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Re: Discovering Early John Wayne

PostSat Apr 14, 2018 6:36 pm

I can recommend "Stagecoach" 1939 and "The Night Riders" 1939, one of John Wayne's Three Mesquiteers movies.
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: Discovering Early John Wayne

PostSun Apr 15, 2018 3:49 am

The Navy / football movie ARIZONA (1931) is slight, but fun, and exists in very nice condition. The only time I watched it, the upload was most peculiar and I was unable to get it to play correctly. The only way it would play on 4 x 3 was if one was watching it from the back of the cinema. In addition, a couple of minutes were missing at the end, presumably to avoid infringing copyright, but rather silly at that.
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s.w.a.c.

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Re: Discovering Early John Wayne

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 9:10 am

How are those 1930s Wayne films produced by Leon Schlesinger, better known as the overlord of Warner Bros. animation's Termite Terrace? Haunted Gold is one of them, and I think you can get three of them packed on one DVD. I read that they were essentially remakes of Ken Maynard stories, even reusing stock footage from the originals to save a few bucks, but they must have some charms about them.
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s.w.a.c.

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Re: Discovering Early John Wayne

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 9:12 am

Ah, Schlesinger made six films with Duke:

Haunted Gold (1932)
Ride Him Cowboy (1932)
The Big Stampede (1932)
The Telegraph Trail (1933)
Somewhere in Sonora (1933)
The Man from Montery (1933)

I'll get to them one of these days...I recall from a documentary on TT that they provided animation for the title sequence of at least one of these (Haunted Gold, which is why I remember that title).
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Phillyrich

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Re: Discovering Early John Wayne

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 9:25 am

Thanks, everyone for the responses.

One of the problems in tracking down and viewing these early films is the poor public domain transfers--
like the "John Wayne 20 Pack" offered by Mill Creek. So bad, you don't
want to watch them.

I understand that Olive Films has been remastering some of the late 1930's
Three Mesquiteers films in splendid transfers.
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jcp7701

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Re: Discovering Early John Wayne

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 1:33 pm

Speaking of moving past the muddy prints, Olive Films' 'Neath Arizona Skies is a pleasure to watch, even if the film is slight. Ditto Sinister Cinema's Riders of Destiny, from 35mm. The 1935-36 Republics look fine, as well. Can't praise Olive Films enough for that.

I showed Telegraph Trail to some High School students about ten years ago. They loved it. They were too young to associate John Wayne with his 1970's films as some "fat old man," which was the case with my peers growing up (now in their late 30's/early 40's).

West of the Divide and Blue Steel (both with Gabby Hayes) and Westward Ho! are others I really enjoy. The three Columbias with Buck Jones or Tim McCoy, and the first two of his Mascot serials, too: especially The Hurricane Express.
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Re: Discovering Early John Wayne

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 2:11 pm

I like how you can tell Randy Rides Alone was shot in two days, because Wayne has two different shirts in the picture, and sometimes they change from shot to shot, or in the middle of a fight scene.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier

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