She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (John Ford, 1949)


(John Welles) #1

The centerpiece of John Ford’s “Cavalry Trilogy” and quite possibly the best. Beautiful photography compliment what could be, along with The Shootist, John Wayne’s most rounded performence.


(scherpschutter) #2

Beautifully made, but (imo) otherwise dissapointing movie.

Fort Apache is a much better movie. Nevertheless I understand fans of the Duke prefer She wore a yellow Ribbon: Fort Apache is more Fonda’s movie. I guess John Wayne is okay, but I don’t like that churchyard scene most people seem to be very fond of. Actually I could mention several of his performances that I rate much higher (Searchers, Shootist, Angel and the Badman, Liberty Valence).
Good atmosphere, but the film lacks a good storyline.


(Chris_Casey) #3

I’m with scherp on this one. A lot of it looks wonderful, but I just don’t care much about the story, and so on.
But, I am that way with most Cavalry films, to be honest–whether they were directed by John Ford, or not.
As I have stated before, I am not much of a John Wayne fan. I like him in RIO BRAVO, THE SEARCHERS, and maybe a couple of others; but, that is about it.
Additionally, I am not a huge fan of John Ford’s films, either. I know why he is considered a master and I understand his importance to cinema, in general, and the Western genre in particular. But, like I once told LQ Jones…I would rather watch a Budd Boetticher film than a John Ford one any day of the week!


(Dorado) #4

[quote=“Chris_Casey, post:3, topic:2188”]I’m with scherp on this one. A lot of it looks wonderful, but I just don’t care much about the story, and so on.
But, I am that way with most Cavalry films, to be honest–whether they were directed by John Ford, or not.
As I have stated before, I am not much of a John Wayne fan. I like him in RIO BRAVO, THE SEARCHERS, and maybe a couple of others; but, that is about it.
Additionally, I am not a huge fan of John Ford’s films, either. I know why he is considered a master and I understand his importance to cinema, in general, and the Western genre in particular. But, like I once told LQ Jones…I would rather watch a Budd Boetticher film than a John Ford one any day of the week![/quote]
I’m with you all the way on this. The only thing I would ad is that “Stagecoach” is Ford/Wayne’s best film.


(Stanton) #5

Angel and the Bad Man, Scherp? Now that’s a surprise.


(scherpschutter) #6

Is it?

I usually have it on my list of favourite westerns (I’ll check this, if I can find those lists), one of the Duke’s finest movies and a very fine, thoughtful western, one with a heart and a brain. It predates some ideas about pacifism versus legal violence of High Noon.

I agree with Dorado that Wayne is fine in Stagecoach, but the movie is not a real favourite of mine


(scherpschutter) #7

Here’s the list (from October 2008)

In bold are my real favourites (‘bold’ not copied)
I have a preference for more thoughtful westerns, especially those concerned with the passing of time and the end of an era, be it the frontier, free grazing or the indian. I also like demythologising westerns, as long as they don’t try to be preachy.

1947 - Angel and the Badmen
1948 - Fort Apache
1948 - The Paleface
1950 - The Gunfighter
1953 - Escape from Fort Bravo
1953 - Shane
1954 - Johnny Guitar
1955 - Day of the Outlaw
1956 - The Searchers
1957 - Forty Guns
1958 - Man of the West
1959 - Warlock
1960 - Comanche station
1962 - The man who shot liberty Valence
1966 - El Dorado
1968 - Hang 'm High
1969 - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
1969 - The Wild Bunch
1970 - Monte Walsh
1970 - Little Big Man
1972 - Ulzana’s Raid
1974 - Blazing Saddles
1990 - Dances with Wolves
1995 - Wild Bill
2006 - Three Burials

I recently rewatched Day of the Outlaw: fine movie, but wouldn’t be on my list now
I’m rewatching Boetticher: Ride Lonesome my actual favourite, but Comanche Station not yet revisited
I need to rewatch some films: Forty Guns, Hang 'm High
(Apparently I overlooked Blood on the Moon, one of my favourite westerns)


(Stanton) #8

Angel a. t. B. is for me only one of the many indifferent westerns Wayne made between Stagecoach and Fort Apache. But I have seen it only once some 15 or 20 years ago.

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is, apart from the usual silly Fordian humour, a leisurely and often beautiful film. But It was never a favourite of mine. Much better than Rio Grande, but not as good as Fort Apache.


(scherpschutter) #9

Haven’t seen Rio Grande in a while, remember there were some good things in it, but also too much Fordian humour and even a few songs (if I’m not mixing up things)

I’m never really sure, never really feeling comfortable about Ford, even in the favourite films I mentioned, there are needlessly silly things. On the other hand, even in the minor movies, there are often moments of great visual delight or scenes that are simply remarkable. In Stagecoach there are some great things (the Indian attack and Canutt’s stuntwork are still exciting), but overall the film ‘tries too hard to be too smart’


(John Welles) #10

I’m with the general sentiment here: I’m not a big fan of Ford. Fort Apache is good, but I prefere She Wore a Yellow Ribbon because of the beautiful photography.

I find Stagecoach to be overrated, most of the supporting performers were all to often annoying. That said the climax with the Indians is very well done. I haven’t seen it for a few years, so maybe I need to rewatch it.


(Starblack) #11

For most of his career, Ford held true to a particular vision of the West and its denizens that obviously had a tremendous appeal - and value - to American audiences who found - and many no doubt who still find - their own values and ideology reflected in the classical Western. Eventually, even Ford found the vision unsustainable, and to my mind his best films are those like The Searchers and Liberty Valance that question much of what he and his fellow myth-makers perpetuated. (Cheyenne Autumn is even more apologetic, but it’s “preachy”, as Scherp puts it, and offputting.)

His godlike status is undeserved, but there’s no denying he was a gifted film-maker (although prone to self-indulgence as the most headstrong directors tend to be) and there will always be a place for several of his movies in my collection.

I’ve never cared much for the cavalry trilogy; they’re too sentimental for my tastes, although I admire Fonda’s performance in Fort Apache very much.

Two books that helped me greatly in my appreciation of Ford are Jim Kitses’ Horizons West - hands down the best book on Westerns that I have ever read - and Joseph’s McBride’s extensive Ford biography, Searching for John Ford.


(John Welles) #12

The Cavalry Trilogy is the archtypical view of the West: where men are men, new recruits to be taught the “true” meaning of the Ye Olde West and Indians to be killed (but this is undercut in Fort Apache). As scherpschutter said, most of us here prefere demythologising westerns, so it’s hardly a surprise that no here is a big fan of John Wayne or the Cavalry Trilogy, as they both show the “mythical” West as opposed to the “real” West.


(Dillinger) #13

Stop! I’m a big fan of the Duke!


(John Welles) #14

I never knew that. It’s pretty strange for a Spaghetti Western fan to like John Wayne as well. What are your favorite films by him?


(Dillinger) #15

The Green Berets!

No, just kiddin’.

I like El Dorado best.


(Chris_Casey) #16

EL DORADO isn’t bad at all. I still prefer RIO BRAVO, probably because I am an unrepentant Dean Martin fan and I think the music is better in RIO BRAVO (I especially like the “Deguello” which was an obvious influence on Leone and Morricone). But, EL DORADO is one of the other John Wayne movies I do like. I also like STAGECOACH.
I must say one thing, though. John Wayne as a person was really great! He did a lot of wonderful things for some of the underprivileged people of Mexico (helped build schools, hospitals, and so on) and he was truly someone who cared about others. I just don’t happen to like his screen presence, personally.

Also, I don’t have anything against sentimentality in films. In fact, I am quite the opposite, believe it or not! I just find films about the exploits of the Cavalry somewhat boring. And, like I said previously, I am talking about ANY pictures about the Cavalry, not just those by Ford.
I do like Peckinpah’s MAJOR DUNDEE, however; but, some would argue that is not really a Cavalry film.


(Starblack) #17

Yes, sentimentality is not a bad thing per se, as long as it’s in moderation (and provoding the object of the sentimentality deserves it…).


(Stanton) #18

I like John Wayne, too. and many of his westerns.

That’s true for Rio Grande, which is a simple, but nicely shot film. But She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is also different. There is respect for the Indians in it.

As scherpschutter said, most of us here prefere demythologising westerns, so it's hardly a surprise that no here is a big fan of John Wayne or the Cavalry Trilogy, as they both show the "mythical" West as opposed to the "real" West.

In fact many, if not most, of the SW are not really demythologising. Or at least not more or less than many US westerns. It seems there are still many prejudices about US westerns in this forum.

The SWs mostly also show a mythical west (albeit from a different point of mythical view), and surely not the real west. The western in general shows a vision of a west which is mostly more rooted in a fantasy world than in the “real world”.
The SW as the US western is build on variations and amplifications of this ideas. And sometimes on demythologising these ideas, which in the end is only a different type of a variation.


(Starblack) #19

Absolutely. I love US Westerns of all stripes, but I have issues with some of them, just as I have issues with many Euro-Westerns.

I can enjoy pretty much any type of Western, from Audie Murphy to Anthony Mann. My comments above were meant to be specific and relate only to Ford and certain of his movies.


(Chris_Casey) #20

[quote=“Stanton, post:18, topic:2188”]In fact many, if not most, of the SW are not really demythologising. Or at least not more or less than many US westerns. It seems there are still many prejudices about US westerns in this forum.

The SWs mostly also show a mythical west (albeit from a different point of mythical view), and surely not the real west. The western in general shows a vision of a west which is mostly more rooted in a fantasy world than in the “real world”.
The SW as the US western is build on variations and amplifications of this ideas. And sometimes on demythologising these ideas, which in the end is only a different type of a variation.[/quote]

Nicely stated, Stanton. I largely agree!