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The complexity of John Wayne

John Wayne in The Big Trail
Fox Film Corporation
/
Wikimedia Commons

43 years after his death, John Wayne is still among America’s most popular and revered movie stars. Today, we’re talking about his life, roles and legacy.

Wayne’s first leading role, at age 23, was in Raoul Walsh’s film, “The Big Trail.” The picture bombed at the box office and took nearly 10 years before Wayne got another big break — in John Ford’s “Stagecoach.” From then on, Wayne was a hit, starring “True Grit,” “The Searchers” and many other of the medium’s most iconic and beloved Westerns. For some viewers, those roles have melted together, leaving the impression that John Wayne only played variations of the same character over and over again. But the film scholar Andrew Nelson says the complexity and depth of Wayne’s career isn’t given enough credit. He joins us to talk all things John Wayne.

Andrew Patrick Nelson, Chair of the Department of Film and Media Studies, University of Utah. His book is “Still in the Saddle: The Hollywood Western, 1969-1980”. [Amazon| Bookshop | Indiebound]

Airdate: Friday, Aug 19, 2022 at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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