Legendary producer-director Howard Hawks teams with two equally legendary stars, John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, in this classic Western drama. Mitchum plays to perfection an alcoholic but gutsy sheriff who relentlessly bat... more »tles the dark side of the wild West, ruthless cattle barons and crooked "businessmen." The Duke gives an equally adept performance as the sheriff's old friend who knows his way around a gunfight. Filled with brawling action and humor, El Dorado delivers the goods. James Caan and Ed Asner co-star. Ranking with Stagecoach as one of the greatest of its genre, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is the modern-day Western to beat all Westerns. John Ford, whose very name is synonymous with "Westerns," directed the ideal cast. Jimmy Stewart plays the bungling but charming big-city lawyer determined to rid the fair village of Shinbone of its number one nuisance and Bad Man: Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). And as if all that weren't enough, the biggest star that ever aimed a six-shooter plays the Man of the title: John Wayne. Super-sincere Stewart and rugged rancher Wayne also share the same love interest (Vera Miles). One gets the gunman but the other gets the gal. Afflicted with a terminal illness, John Bernard Brooks (John Wayne), the last of the legendary gunfighters, quietly returns to Carson City for medical attention from his old friend Dr. Hostetler (James Stewart). Aware that his days are numbered, the troubled man seeks solace and peace in a boarding house run by a widow (Lauren Bacall) and her son (Ron Howard). However, it is not Brook's fate to die in peace, as he becomes embroiled in one last valiant battle. Katie Elder bore four sons. The day she is buried they all return home to Clearwater, Texas, to pay their last respects. John Wayne is the eldest and toughest son, the gunslinger. Tom (Dean Martin) is good with a deck of cards and good with a gun when he has to be. Matt (Earl Holliman) is the quiet one - nobody ever called him yellow...twice. Bud (Michael Anderson, Jr.) is the youngest. Any hope for respectability lies with him. Directed by Henry Hathaway (True Grit), an acknowledged master of the Western, the story has a dual theme: not only is this a he-man's story, but it is also a drama of the maternal influence of Katie Elder, movingly portrayed from beginning to conclusion. In 1970, John Wayne won an Academy Award. for his larger-than-life performance as the drunken, uncouth and totally fearless one-eyed U.S. Marshall, Rooster Cogburn. The cantankerous Rooster is hired by a headstrong young girl (Kim Darby) to find the man who murdered her father and fled with the family savings. When Cogburn's employer insists on accompanying the old gunfighter, sparks fly. And the situation goes from troubled to disastrous when an inexperienced but enthusiastic Texas Ranger (Glen Campbell) joins the party. Laughter and tears punctuate the wild action in this extraordinary Western which features performances by Robert Duvall and Strother Martin.« less
"While a Western 'purist' would certainly prefer seeing a 'dream' boxed set of John Ford/John Wayne's 'Cavalry' trilogy, "Stagecoach", and "The Searchers" released together, the "John Wayne DVD Gift Set" is an excellent collection of some of the Duke's finest westerns from his last two decades.
The classic of the collection is "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", John Ford's 1962 'deconstruction' of the genre he'd helped to create. A visually simple, yet deeply layered tale of how a western legend was born, the film echoes Ford's "The Last Hurrah", as well as taking a tongue-in-cheek 'jab' at critics of his more idealized earlier westerns. While Jimmy Stewart, at 55, is far too old to play an idealistic young lawyer, his confrontations with desperado Lee Marvin, and pragmatic (yet ultimately doomed romantic) Wayne are terrific. And don't miss Edmund O'Brien's 'takeoff' on actor Thomas Mitchell, in support...Ford's directorial 'style' was never better than in this remarkable film.
"The Sons of Katie Elder" is an important film in Wayne's career, as it marked his 'comeback' after losing a lung to cancer. While much of his dialogue had to be 'looped', and oxygen was kept nearby throughout the filming, Wayne proved that he could still play an action hero believably. Certainly, he looked all of his 58 years, and the idea of Dean Martin being one of his brothers is farfetched, but when Wayne first appeared on the screen, 1965 film audiences stood and cheered...and his dominating presence still makes the film 'work', today.
"El Dorado" is, if you are unfamiliar with the film, simply a reworking of 1959's Hawks/Wayne classic, "Rio Bravo", but it stands very well on it's own merits, beginning with the terrific chemistry between Wayne and co-star Robert Mitchum. A very young James Caan offers a funny counterpoint to the two veteran stars, and wonderful character actor, Arthur Hunnicutt (who, for trivia fans, played Davy Crockett in 1955's "The Last Command"...thus making this a unique opportunity to see TWO Davy Crocketts in one film!) plays a rustic variation of Walter Brennan from the earlier film. With plenty of Howard Hawks' signature comraderie, the film is very entertaining.
"True Grit" is, of course, John Wayne's Oscar-winning role, as pot-bellied, one-eyed Rooster Cogburn. While many believe Wayne won for his career longevity rather than his performance, the film is, in fact, very entertaining and lyrical, and Wayne's portrayal is the glue that holds it together. Certainly, Glen Campbell offers a less-than-stellar performance, but it is more than compensated for by Kim Darby and Robert Duvall, and Wayne, guns blazing, reins clenched in his teeth, provides an image that has become classic.
Finally, there is "The Shootist", Wayne's final film. Shot as the Duke's health was declining, dramatically, the production was a difficult one, with director Don Siegel struggling to work with the ailing actor (Co-star Ron Howard would say he learned more about directing from this film, than any other). Because of the Duke's fragile condition, many friends took roles at far below their usual salaries to work with him a last time (including James Stewart, Richard Boone, and Lauren Bacall). The finished film is a labor of love, from the "Classic Wayne" film clips that open the story, to the final gunbattle, with Wayne's character, the cancer-ridden John Bernard Books, going out in a blaze of glory. It may not have been among Wayne's 'best' films, but it was certainly a most fitting end to his career.
It's easy to see why this is a worthy Wayne collection to own...But don't take my word for it; buy it, and see for yourself! "
A great collection of John Wayne's Westerns
bixodoido | Utah, USA | 06/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This splendid collection of John Wayne's Westerns is a must-have for any fan or would-be fan of John Wayne (if you don't have these films already, that is). It contains some of the Duke's best movies, at an affordable price and in an attractive packaging. All of these movies are great:THE SHOOTIST was the Duke's last film, and is truly a door-closing sort of movie. It is a fitting end to a very long and very great career. Wayne plays an old, dying gunfighter who is ready to hang up his guns but just cannot be left alone to die in peace. THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER: Wayne stars as John Elder, the eldest son of a woman named Katie who has just died. John and his three younger brothers (one of them played by Dean Martin) return to their hometown to mourn their mother and to set things right with the people who wronged her.TRUE GRIT: Old, fat, and ornery. That describes Rooster Cogburn (played by Wayne) as well as anything. Duke one an Oscar for his performance in this film. Truly, this is a unique character for Wayne, and a good film.EL DORADO: This is one of my favorite of Duke's movies. He plays a gunfighter-turned-deputy, and fights to aid his alchoholic friend (the sheriff) of a gang of outlaws infesting the town. Features James Caan in a great performance as 'Mississippi.'THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALLANCE: Wayne stars opposite James Stewart in this John Ford classic. Wayne's character (Tom Doniphan) is a rancher/gunman whose noble spirit saves the life of a young lawyer (Stewart) come to bring 'order' to the small territorial town of Shinbone.These are five great films by the Duke, three of them (Liberty Vallance, the Shootist, El Dorado) among the Duke's best (in my opinion), and all of them very enjoyable. This box set makes a great addition to any home DVD library."
THE DUKE IS THE GREATEST EVER!
bestseller92 | Southeastern Oklahoma | 09/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There never has been and never will be again a movie star like John Wayne. Miles above everyone else. These are five of his greatest films, including his Oscar-winning role as "Rooster Cogburn" in "True Grit", and his last film "The Shootist", for which he should have won an Oscar and which Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly calls "The best western I've ever seen." Highly recommended."
The gift of John Wayne
Daniel Lee Taylor | GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas United States | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five excellent John Wayne movies that span the latter portion of his career. Each movie in this collection is special in its own way. Liberty Valance has the great pairing of John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. Throw in a terrific bad guy by Lee Marvin and a host of familiar characters and you've got magic. Katie Elder has action, suspense and Dean Martin. True Grit, an Oscar performance, also feature a young Glen Campbell and Robert Duvall, always fun to watch. The Shootist is the capstone of Wayne's career. Wayne went out with his boots on, in the movie and in his career. Finally there is El Dorado, my personal favorite. Relaxed, conversational dialogue, action packed plot, characters you can like and care about form the basis of great movie making. Sure the story was done before,even by John Wayne in Rio Bravo, but who cares?? All in all this is a great set for the John Wayne fan or for the person who wants to know what he was about."
Avid Reader | 03/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this as a gift. My brother in law loved it and so did I, since I asked to borrow them so I can see them too!"