Post by maphillips3 on Dec 19, 2009 21:34:05 GMT -5
I have been a big fan of "John Wayne" for many years, and was wondering what your thoughts on him are. He is in many peoples eyes the number one movie star of all time, so what are your thoughts on John Wayne?
Wayne was an institution in the industry for years and I can still sit down and watch most of his movies with enjoyment (even if there are more than a few clunkers in there). Think a lot of that has to do with his easy interplay with so many great co-stars (Robert Mitchum and Lee Marvin for example; and Ben Johnson is a real favorite of mine).
John Wayne was great playing John Wayne, but think he was at his best when he was serious and playing the anti-hero. "The Searchers" remains a classic and "Red River" and "The Sands of Iwo Jima" were pretty good too.
Think Wayne became an established part of the industry and found a formula that worked, especially with his westerns. A lot of his movies have interchangeable casts (Bruce Cabot, Ben Johnson, Mike Mazurki, etc.) and think that's part of his appeal. He had a wide audience and played to his strengths. You knew he'd punch out somebody's lights and win the gunfight at the end and for the most part his films were fun rides populated with fellow actors that brought a smile with their appearances.
Post by maphillips3 on Feb 14, 2010 16:05:52 GMT -5
Why is that so hard now to find that formula CHANEY? So many actors, if they do the same movie, get type casted, then blasted by the critics, and there career falls apart, but back then guys like Wayne and Cary Grant still flourished. What is it about now that actors, can't get type casted, because it is just a bad thing?
Think there are a few factors working here. One is the old studio system that was in place back in the 30's through the early 60's. To a large degree they controlled the actors' careers, which is why John Wayne was put in westerns and war films, Cary Grant in light comedy, James Cagney, George Raft, and Humphrey Bogart in gangster pics, etc. The studios typecast the actors and the performers were basically stuck working in that genre until they became big enough stars to begin their own production companies. Even then, with their own money riding on the line it would make sense to put most of their money in a known commodity. It's been said Wayne had most of his own money in "The Alamo" and when it wasn't a huge success it meant that he basically had to do 3 pictures a year for the next decade to get back on top. Wayne and the others all tried to break out into other types of films to a degree but without much success and those aren't the movies we remember them for in their large bodies of work.
Another big factor is the way movies are marketed today. They used to be tiered regionally and move from one market to the next around the country and overseas, building on reviews and word of mouth. Even as recently as the past few decades it was a given that Burt Reynolds movies played well in the south and there was the patience to concentrate a good ol' boy Reynolds film there and realize it wasn't going to make a lot of money somewhere like New York. Today there's so much money in these movies that they open on one big weekend and if it isn't a blockbuster with winning reviews out of the gate it's sunk, as is the star.
There's also so much instant media now, with all the talk shows and celebrity news shows and websites with the actors themselves basically telling everyone how much they would love to do comedy, romance, etc. Back in the old days the actors showed up at local rodeo events and stuff like that when a film was opening in that town. If they were saying what a remarkably skillful and varied performer they could be, only a handful of people were hearing them or paying attention.
Off the top of my head I would say one of the few actors out there today still doing action who isn't necessarily typecast is Bruce Willis. He's been pretty canny about doing all kinds of films and roles (even bit cameos). Some of his films have tanked but he's had enough proven blockbusters to keep him afloat and still above the titles for the tough cop type films he specializes in. I'm not a big Willis fan but his career is still going strong after 20 plus years, a lot longer than Arnold, Van Damme, Seagal, Norris, etc., with the exception of Stallone (even though he's had long dry spells).
Just saw Mel Gibson's new movie "Edge of Darkness" and it was pretty good. He's another one who has avoided typecasting but can go back to a tried and true formula. Mel looks a lot older and it's his first film in a number of years after a lot of bad personal press, but very much echoing strong memories of his portrayals in "Mad Max", "Lethal Weapon", and "Payback". If you liked Mel in those, chances are you'll enjoy this film.