A Dying Man, Scared of the Dark: John Wayne in THE SHOOTIST (Paramount 1976)


cracked rear viewer

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THE SHOOTIST is John Wayne’s valedictory statement, a final love letter to his many fans. The Duke was now 69 years old and not in the best of health. He’d had a cancerous lung removed back in 1964, and though the cancer was in remission, Wayne must’ve knew his days were numbered when he made this film. Three years later, he died from cancer of the stomach, intestines, and spine. There were worries about his ability to make this movie, but Wayne loved the script and was determined to do it. The result is an elegy to not only the aging actor, but to the Western genre as a whole.

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The movie begins with footage of older Wayne westerns (EL DORADO, HONDO, RED RIVER, RIO BRAVO) narrated by Ron Howard (Gillom). “His name was J.B. Books…he wasn’t an outlaw. Fact is, for a while he was a lawman…He had a credo that…

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2 responses to “A Dying Man, Scared of the Dark: John Wayne in THE SHOOTIST (Paramount 1976)

  1. Pingback: A Movie A Day #219: Wild Bill (1995, directed by Walter Hill) | Through the Shattered Lens

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