Thursday, September 11, 2014

Movie Review: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) with John Wayne



I just saw this for the first time recently and as it’s definitely and deservedly a classic—and already on my heartily enjoyed/to be re-watched list—I couldn’t wait to do a review for Emma Jane’s Legends of Western Cinema Week!

So, you already have my conclusion…shall I proceed with any particulars? Yes, I shall—but no spoilers!


She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is part of John Ford’s cavalry trilogy (the others being Fort Apache and Rio Grande). I haven’t seen the other two, but my brother has and says you can really watch them in any order. (As a note, there are multiple actors who are in all three, but—so far as I know—only one has the same name and role, which can be a little confusing.)


It’s filmed in Monument Valley, of course—and the musical score is positively thrilling…


…and the character development even more so! Part of why it’s so great, is because you really learn who each character is (and what they’re about) as the story progresses and as the character development itself is happening. 


And though the entire story as a whole is tremendously character-driven, it’s yet done with an incredibly understated amount of description.


There are quite a few unexpected twists and turns—including the entire weight of conflict being in a different place than I expected (which was itself one of the twists)!


I can’t say much more without totally giving it away, but I will say it’s about older men having to pass the reins to the next generation—and about younger men maturing to fill their role—and about leadership and trust and responsibility.


And all done with a classic (and again, understated) rough-and-ready, shoulder-to-shoulder camaraderie.

Love this picture!

I really honestly can’t say any more without spoilers…so in ending I shall just conclude by saying that (...ever since watching it my sister Arwen and I have been having periodic ecstatic-sister sessions about it...)—ahem!—by reiterating in short that I most heartily and thoroughly enjoyed it, and can and do most highly and thoroughly recommend it!!


10 comments:

  1. I love John Wayne!! My brothers have almost - if not all - of his films and they love every single one...including She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. I myself have not seen it, but have always enjoyed it because of Mr. Wayne. My favorites are The Sons of Katie Elder, Quite Man, McLintock!, and The Green Berets.

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    1. Sarah, thank you for commenting!! After we watched Yellow Ribbon my sister decided to get a two-disc set with it and Fort Apache together, so I think she has me scheduled to watch the latter with her this very afternoon. ;-) And thank you for all your favorite recommendations...I'll be looking them up promptly in the very near future! :-)

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    2. You're welcome, Heidi. Fort Apache is a good one too - I think that's the one with Shirley Temple...not 100% sure though. :-)

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    3. Yes, it is! And I'm definitely going to be looking up those recommendations of yours... :-)

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  2. This movie gave me such a fondness for John Agar. Well, this and Sands of Iwo Jima. Not the greatest actor, but he has that steady, dependable thing going on. It also helped in my ongoing liking of Ben Johnson :-)

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    1. Hamlette -- Exactly! I loved that "dependable" bit... And the story's fairly simple, but it just kind of "sticks". :-)

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  3. I've heard of this title before, but I'm not familiar with the story. I generally like movies about cavalry scouts, though, so I'm interested! I enjoyed reading your review. :-) Thanks so much for participating!

    ~Emma

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    1. Emma Jane,
      This was actually (hem!) *whisper* my first John Wayne--unless you count How the West Was Won where I don’t remember him. I actually just saw Fort Apache last night--and while it was good--this is still my favorite thus far. :-)

      And oh, you're most welcome! Thank you so much for hosting the party! It was a lot of fun.

      And also...thank you for putting up one of my Emma buttons! Spotting it on your sidebar was a most delightful surprise. ;-)

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  4. Oh, you've seen How the West Was Won! Isn't it charming? It's an odd old western/drama, but I love it. There are so many good actors in it too!
    You're quite welcome, I'm so glad you've enjoyed it. :-) I'm looking forward to your Emma party!

    ~Emma

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    1. Emma Jane,
      Yes, I saw How the West Was Won a number of years ago--and I probably would have enjoyed it more if I’d known who everyone was! But…I didn’t at the time. :P I do know I liked Gregory Peck more in The Big Country, though. And, of course, that one has Charlton Heston in it… :-) In fact, I was tossing around the idea of reviewing TBC for your party (as I liked it and it’s pretty thought-provoking), but I’ve only seen it once and I usually like to have a bit more of a handle on something before going into all the ins and outs and so forth’s (and also as I did skip watching it in a couple places--though there’s nothing tremendously indecent or anything).

      After I saw it, though, Heston’s character fit quite promptly (as in immediately) into the character casting for my current story (which casting, btw, is thoroughly patented! :-)) ....and I’m teasing, of course. ;-) Anyhow, not quite his character, but the depth behind his character…if that makes sense. I actually don’t tend to read up about actors too much as a general rule, but I did about him a bit and was really quite impressed. It was actually kind of neat as (based on the roles he always took) if my story was being made into a movie back when he was acting, I think the character I'd started envisioning him in would actually be exactly the sort he generally liked to take--emphasizing manhood and responsibility, etc. ...So that was kind of neat and fun to find out. :-)

      And I'm so very glad you're looking forward to the Emma party!

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