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to all the John Wayne fans out there...

Old 05-11-04, 10:44 PM
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to all the John Wayne fans out there...

Are any of the Duke's pre Stagecoach films any good? I know he made a ton of B movies prior to Stagecoach, but I have not heard any thing about the quality of them.

Anything stand out?
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Old 05-12-04, 03:09 AM
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Fox has released The Big Trail (1930) on DVD, and it was one of the few "A" films Wayne made before Stagecoach
(Some people argue that its box office failure kept the Duke in "B" films for years.)

I haven't seen (or bought) it, myself, but one of my ex-coworkers who specialized in Fox films thought it was pretty good.
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Old 05-12-04, 06:07 AM
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Re: to all the John Wayne fans out there...

Originally posted by Scot1458
Are any of the Duke's pre Stagecoach films any good? I know he made a ton of B movies prior to Stagecoach, but I have not heard any thing about the quality of them.

Anything stand out?
I have always enjoyed is work from the mid to late 30's...they are basically one hour movies if that long. I have always found it easy to get into the storylines as short as they are but I also love watching John Wayne even in his early days. He was at his best in my opinion from the late 40's to the late 60's.
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Old 05-12-04, 07:04 AM
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Most of Duke's movies made in the 30's, that are currently in public domain (the Monogram Westerns and Mascot Serials) were made for the kiddy audience at the time. They are fun, non-offending 60 minute films, where basically Duke enters the action on a white horse, takes out the bad guys, and marries the girl. I enjoy them, not for the stories, but to see young Duke cutting his acting teeth before Stagecoach changed his career.

He did make a few films in the 30s that were not geared to the juvenile audience, but for the most part, these are not out yet. The 6 westerns he made for Warner Brothers between 1932 - 33 were very good, as were the 6 action films he made for Universal between 1936 - 37.

As someone mentioned already, his first major film "The Big Trail" is out on DVD, and has a nice transfer. However, FOX really dropped the ball by not releasing the widescreen version (film in the failed Grandeur process).

So, I'd say go out and purchase some (but stay away from the Madacy ones), and see how you like them. They certainly can be had for a low price....
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Old 05-12-04, 09:46 AM
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Originally posted by Falc04

As someone mentioned already, his first major film "The Big Trail" is out on DVD, and has a nice transfer. However, FOX really dropped the ball by not releasing the widescreen version (film in the failed Grandeur process).

So, I'd say go out and purchase some (but stay away from the Madacy ones), and see how you like them. They certainly can be had for a low price....
I'm passing on BIG TRAIL since they did not have the intelligence to release it in its OAR, and I have an uncut commercial-free copy taped OAR from TV - but it is a good movie!

And (as I do every chance I get) another warning about Madacy - you may THINK you've seen bad transfers, but they excel.
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Old 05-12-04, 09:56 AM
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Just for curiosity value you might want to check out "Overland Stage Raiders" (1938), one of the "Three Mesquiteers" series. It features silent film icon Louise Brooks ("Pandora's Box") in her last film role (according to IMDB). It appears to be available on VHS only.

... although for the life of me I can't remember anything that distinctive about the movie from seeing it many years ago. I remember that Wayne's "Duke" persona seems to be very well established at this point, very similar to his style in "Stagecoach" the next year.
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Old 05-12-04, 11:07 AM
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Thanks guys. Can't get enough of the Duke....
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Old 05-12-04, 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by marty888
I'm passing on BIG TRAIL since they did not have the intelligence to release it in its OAR, and I have an uncut commercial-free copy taped OAR from TV - but it is a good movie!
Since two versions of the movie were filmed, it can be argued that The Big Trail DVD is OAR. It would've been nice if they had put both versions on a two sided disc.

Here's the DVD Talk review of The Big Trail.

Fox Movie Channel has shown the widescreen version in the past, so anyone interested in seeing it should keep an eye on their schedule.
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Old 06-14-04, 11:46 AM
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If anyone is interested in recording the widescreen version of The Big Trail instead of buying the fullframe version, Fox Movie Channel is showing the widescreen version a few times this month.

BIG TRAIL, THE (1930) 2:00:10
6/5/04 4:01:00 PM
6/6/04 6:01:00 AM
6/15/04 8:01:00 PM
6/25/04 10:01:00 AM

Last edited by Dimension X; 06-14-04 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 06-14-04, 12:18 PM
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It would be nicer if they were showing the full 154 minute version that was restored back in the 1980s, instead of the edited 125 minute version.
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Old 09-26-04, 12:12 PM
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I reviewed a set called John Wayne The Duke which was a collection of shorter features he made early on. In retrospect I was too harsh on it but I did note that Wayne fans should check it out.

Anyway, my (admittedly too harsh) review is here: http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=6972

ETA: I remember why I hated this set so much: They added unbelievably bad synthesizer music to almost all the movies. It really ruins whatever charm they should have.
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