TailSlate looks at D-Day movies

June 6, 1944. What is now commonly referred to as “D-Day.” The WWII Allies launch Operation Overlord. Over 150,000 Allied troops were involved in “Operation Overlord.” As is the case with most major historical events, we’ve seen D-Day as the … Read more

In ‘The High and the Mighty’ John Wayne takes a long flight to nowhere

[rating=2]Starring: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Laraine Day, Robert Stack, Jan Sterling, Phil Harris, Robert Newton, David Brian, Paul Kelly, Sidney Blackmer, Doe Avedon, Karen Sharpe, John Smith
Director(s): William A. Wellman
Writer(s): Ernest K. Gann

John Wayne stars with William Campbell in 'The High and the Mighty'
John Wayne stars with William Campbell in ‘The High and the Mighty’

This was the second of the John Wayne films I had elected to review recently, and while The High and the Mighty was more familiar to people than Island in the Sky, I think it pales in comparison.

The High and the Mighty is very much like an Irwin Allen disaster flick, but nothing much happens. It’s largely a series of conversations, only a few of them interesting, as each person on the plane deals with the possibly of dying.

Read moreIn ‘The High and the Mighty’ John Wayne takes a long flight to nowhere

John Wayne sours in ‘Island in the Sky’

[rating=3]Starring: John Wayne, Lloyd Nolan, Walter Abel, James Arness, Andy Devine, Harry Carey, Jr.
Director(s): William A. Wellman
Writer(s): Ernest K. Gann

John Wayne (left) headlines 'Island in the Sky'
John Wayne (left) headlines ‘Island in the Sky’

In the last few years I’ve developed a real respect for John Wayne films. The stories are often good, and while Wayne generally plays the same character, there are enough slight variations on the theme to keep it interesting.

What drew me to want to review Island in the Skywas the idea that it had never been released on VHS or DVD. Part of the recent slew of special edition DVDs — fully restored and looking beautiful — that have come out in the last month for Wayne’s movies, the story seemed intriguing. This old black and white from 1953 features an all-star cast, and while it’s probably a little longer than it needed to be, Sky is a strong feature about survival.

Read moreJohn Wayne sours in ‘Island in the Sky’

‘The Quiet Man’ brings ‘Taming of the Shrew’ to Ireland

John Wayne kisses Maureen OHara in 'The Quiet Man'
John Wayne kisses Maureen OHara in ‘The Quiet Man’

[rating=4]Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Victor McLaglen, Barry Fitzgerald
Director(s): John Ford
Writer(s): Written by Frank S. Nugent, Story by Maurice Walsh

The basic story of The Quiet Man is that of Sean Thornton (John Wayne), a native of a small Irish town who has spent most of his life in America (“Pittsburgh, Massachusetts”, as one character claims) and has just returned to his native land to start over.

Read more‘The Quiet Man’ brings ‘Taming of the Shrew’ to Ireland

‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ is John Wayne at his best in classic western

John Wayne with Joanne Dru in 'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon'
John Wayne with Joanne Dru in ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’

[rating=3]Starring: John Wayne, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., John Agar, Joanne Dru, Victor McGlaglen, Mildred Natwick
Director(s): John Ford
Writer(s): Story by James Warner Bellah, Screenplay by Frank Nugent and Laurence Stallings

Few filmmakers have left their mark on American cinema as John Ford has. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon comes second in Ford’s Cavalry Trilogy, between Fort Apache and Rio Grande, and it is perhaps the strongest film of the three.

Read more‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ is John Wayne at his best in classic western