For reasons that are obscure to me now, my husband used to refer to my mom as The Duke. When we went to visit, we were going to The Duke’s. (Upon further investigation, The Man called my mom The Duke because of her past reputation of being rowdy in bars. He is referring to an incident she told us once, many many years ago, about how she was asked to leave The Pines because some lady thought she was flirting with her husband.)
Now, I sit here watching The REAL Duke, Mr. John Wayne, in his final film, The Shootist. And I realize that I’ve been very stupid for years.
I never liked John Wayne, except in two movies – The Sands of Iwo Jima and The Quiet Man. Upon further reflection, and the enlightement that comes with age, I understand why people love The Duke, and I’m sorry to have wasted many years disliking him.
He has a fantastic delivery, and even though most of his characters are the same – crochety, grumpy, surly – they also are rather endearing and likable…even as he’s kicking someone’s butt.
I watched The Man that Shot Liberty Valance specifically for James Stewart – and was hijacked by John Wayne.
Thinking about it further, I realize that the only movie of John Wayne’s that I can’t stand is Rooster Cogburn – and it has nothing to do with The Duke – I can’t stand Kate Hepburn in that movie.
Favorite quote from The Shootist: “I don’t think I ever killed a man that didn’t deserve it.”