Books postsMonday June 09, 2014
John Wayne By Your Bed
Another from Scott Eyman's John Wayne: The Life and Legend:
No matter how petulant he could be, his employees stayed with him for decades, the same way the public did. The reasons are best conveyed by a story told by Tom Kane, whose wife, Ruth, was in the Motion Picture Home dying of cancer. ...
One morning at 9:15, Kane’s phone rang. It was his wife, sounding like she did before she got sick.
“My God, you sound great,” said Kane.
“Well, how would you feel if you woke up in the morning and John Wayne was standing by your bed?” She went on to explain that Wayne had stayed for more than an hour talking to her. Before he left, he had brushed her hair.
All Men Want to Be John Wayne But John Wayne Wanted to Be Fred Astaire
Again, from Scott Eyman's John Wayne: The Life and Legend:
Wayne told [his would-be biographer Wayne] Warga that he always wanted to be Fred Astaire, and he demonstrated by launching into “Putting on the Ritz.” He danced, remembered the writer, “with all the grace of a freight elevator.”
A Message from John Wayne to Bill O'Reilly
From Scott Eyman's John Wayne: The Life and Legend:
“If you had an opinion about something, he wanted you to state it,” said the character actor Ed Faulkner, who made six pictures with him. “He did not like yes-men. Even if he disagreed with you, he’d want to hear your argument. And he might say ‘I don’t agree with you,’ but he would always let you say your piece."
Why America Will Lose the War
I thought of this scene from Joseph Heller's novel “Catch-22” while watching the Swedish dark comedy “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” at SIFF on Sunday night. The discussion is between an old Italian man in a brothel in Rome, and Nately, a romantic, patriotic American:
“America,” he said, “will lose the war. And Italy will win it.”
“America is the stongest and most prosperous nation on earth,” Nately informed him with lofty fervor and dignity. “And the American fighting man is second to none.”
“Exactly,” agreed the old man pleasantly, with a hint of taunting amusement. “Italy, on the other hand, is one of the least properous nations on earth. And the Italian fighting man is probably second to all. And that's exactly why my country is doing so well in this war while your country is doing so poorly.”
“I'm sorry I laughed at you. But Italy was occupied by the Germans and is now being occupied by us. You don't call that doing very well, do you?”
“But of course I do,” exclaimed the old man cheerfully. “The Germans are being driven out, and we're still here. In a few years, you will be gone, too, and we will still be here. You see, Italy is really a very poor and weak country, and that's what makes us so strong. Italian soldiers are not dying anymore. But American and German soldiers are. I call that doing extremely well. Yes, I'm quite certain Italy will survive this war and still be in existence long after your own country has been destroyed.”
Review up later.
Nately (Art Garfunkel) and the old Italian man in Mike Nichols' movie version. Sidenote: Garfunkel's casting and filming in Mexico led Paul Simon to pen “The Only Living Boy in New York.”
Ward Bond: Oaf, Loudmouth, Anti-Semite
Ward Bond doesn't come off too well in Scott Eyman's biography “John Wayne: The Life and Legend.” He was a member of the Ford-Wayne alchoholic Irishmen club, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about his association with the right-wing Motion Picture Alliance and the Hollywood blacklist. Eyman writes:
Ward Bond was extremely busy; always in demand as a character actor, he now began to function as a self-appointed Inspector Javert, checking out the anticommunist bona fides of various actors, writers and directors.
In 1947, Anthony Quinn came hat-in-hand to Bond. Film parts were falling through for him because he was a member of the Actor's Lab, which the MPA considered a communist organization. “You a commie, Tony, a red?” Bond asked as he sat on the toilet. Right: the toilet. Prefiguring LBJ. Quinn denied it. He said he was true blue. Bond gave him a pass.
Nunnally Johnson, the screenwriter for John Ford's “The Grapes of Wrath,” referred to the MPA as “that Duke Wayne-Ward Bond outfit,” adding:
So many outrageous things went on that made me ashamed of the whole industry ... think of John Huston having to go and debase himself to an oaf like Ward Bond ...
Actor James Lydon piles on:
Duke was just a private citizen and he kept his beliefs private. Now, Ward Bond was a thickheaded loudmouth ... He was the one screaming all sorts of things that nobody else cared about.
It gets worse. John Ford owned eight acres in Receda, which became a rehabiliation center for both veterans of Ford's movie and veterans of U.S. wars. Syd Kronenthal was the supervisor—he was also hired to help Marlon Brando play a paraplegic in his first film role—and he remembers the Ford team getting drunk all the time:
They were all very right-wing, and when they got loaded they'd start spewing anti-Semitic remarks. The worst of them was Victor McLaglen, and Ward Bond was anti-Semitic as hell. They either didn't know I was Jewish or they forgot.
And I'm only up to page 200.
Ward Bond as Bert the cop in “It's a Wonderful Life,” a movie the Motion Picture Alliance would condemn for its negative portrayal of bankers and businessmen.
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