Clark Richards All of the credit in the world goes to John Wayne for making this film. Books arrives to Carson City in 1901, the day Queen Victoria died in England. Of course, the entire existence of the gunfighter is predicated on the inevitability that once you reach top there is always going to be someone looking to knock you off your pedestal. Wayne challenges local tough Bill McKinney, old enemy Richard Boone, and faro dealer and dead shot Hugh O'Brian to meet him. This is a powerful, entertaining and enjoyable film, regardless; however, it is further ennobled by it being the Duke's final performance. He had a long professional relationship and personal friendship with Clint Eastwood , who has often said that everything he knows about filmmaking he learned from Don Siegel.
She doesn't like his kind but when he tells her of his condition, she empathizes. It is unfortunate his colleagues did not make up for that error by repeating the honor for what was truly a great performance in The Shootist. Besides this plot point, there is the mature twilight romance between J. Wayne went first to get a medical diagnosis known to everyone as cancer. Books tries to tell him that killing is not something he wants to live with.
However with his name nothing is quiet and he is quickly paying the price for the life he has lived up till this point. The picture pays tribute to John Wayne with none of the indulgences , humor and irony that permeated ¨True Grit and Rogster Cogburn ¨. The action is fast, and the plot thickens as an old prospector divulges a secret that weighs heavily on our hero. A true professional - he had little patience with actors who did not show up on time and did not know their lines. He is a man who has killed thirty men and shows no remorse. He says Books has a month maybe two left.
The first jolt of sadness comes when we see Wayne visiting with the town doctor, played by Jimmy Stewart. Opening with clips from his earlier movies we join Wayne as Books as he ends his life. This not only provides some strikingly beautiful images, but also has a double symbolic meaning. It gave the movie a deeper meaning and made some of the scene's more emotional. Even Clint Eastwood, who had seemed to be the heir-apparent to Wayne's crown as King or should that be Duke? In a way this also shows some parallels with Wayne's death, when he died a piece of the genre Western died with him as well.
Brooks he plays in the movie only add a poignant sadness. It was strange to watch this movie knowing that this was John Wayne's last. To me, this film is special, because you are seeing in real life, a dying icon make his farewell. This was John Wayne's last film, and it sees the Duke as an aging, ailing but still tough as steel gunslinger named John Bernard Books. It didn't happen, sad to say, but they don't get better than The Shootist.
Support from people like Boone, Crothers, Carradine and others is roundly good but it is Wayne's film and he fits it pretty well and gives a performance that, although not perfect, will certainly please those familiar with him. A fitting end to Wayne's career. She's such a reliable, remarkable actress. It still does enough though, and Books is an amiable character that I was able to care for and get to know albeit not as much as I would have liked. Director Siegel brought an entirely new approach to the Sci-Fi field Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956. However, despite all his faults, he shows himself to a gentleman of the old school. It is his persona and his charisma that carries and controls the film.
Worthy of the five stars I awarded this series of stories, after I finally warmed up to the very interesting episodes of our old west. I am viewing this film 27 years after it was made, and there is 'something' it had which is absent from movies today. Those who fill message boards with complaints that Wayne was just a simple performer with a few catchphrases and a swagger will find that this film is yet another reason to perhaps reconsider because he is strong here. In the three years left to him on earth it was rumored that John Wayne was interested in a few film projects, like maybe he was being saved for something even better. Wayne is quite simply perfect of course he was also dying while the film was being made, which adds another level of poinancy to the story. John Wayne is an icon, and so many viewers seem to use his work as a referendum on the larger geo-political issues of our time.
I try to see The Shootist at least once every couple of years. I really, really like this movie a lot and have liked it from the first time I saw it. A place that held death, destruction, love, desire and greed. It's a really good film, one of the best of the 1970s, one of Don Siegel's best, and one of John Wayne's best, too. I would have liked more depth and dark but it is serviceable enough and serves as a good way for Wayne to bow out without sentimentality or showboating. Back in 1969, the Academy, realizing it had never appropriately honored John Wayne and fearful that time was running out to do so, gave him Best Actor for one of his weaker performances and poorer scripts.
John Books an aging gunfighter goes to see a doctor he knows for a second opinion after another doctor told him he has a cancer which is terminal. Torrent, and his new love interest Margaret Wilson, head for Arizona to help Buck and Campy save their hotel from a bad gang of cowboys. It is a film addressing mature themes for one thing, but it had a pacing, and made time for it's dialouge--it was never dull, never slow, but proceeded towards it's climax with the sort of gravitas you very rarely see in today's cinematic roller coaster rides, which have become little more than special effects vehicles. The time of year is significant in another way. Early on, Books is told by his old friend Dr Hostetler that he is dying of terminal cancer, and the film chronicles the last week of his life, from 22nd to 29th January 1901, his search for a dignified death in accordance with his own code of honour.
Gray Wolf returns to the Apache and is sent on a mysterious and deadly mission to Mexico. Tying to overcome his bloody past, John Wayne shows, in the film, the other side of the 'Shootist,' his human side. Wayne is diagnosed with an incurable cancer. If winter comes, can spring be far behind? What's really touching about this film is that you know that major, major actors took smaller roles in order to be in a movie with Duke Wayne. There are two of his scenes that stand out for me: 1 Listening to John Wayne and Scatman Crothers haggle over the selling price of Wayne's horse.