"He doesn't look like an actor - he looks like a real man."
- gushed one anonymous female movie goer when asked to explain the appeal that movie star John Wayne (1907 – 1979) had on women. She was not alone.
This three page article appeared at the very doorstep of the Fifties - the decade that was uniquely his. The uncredited Hollywood journalist who wrote this column was doing so in order to announce to the reading public that Wayne was coming remarkably close to being the top box office attraction:
"Wayne reached this eminence by turning out film after film for 18 years. Working with a steady, un-nervous strength for four studios: Republic, RKO, Argosy and Warner Brothers. - he shifts back and forth between Westerns, sea-epics and war pictures. With each movie he makes (most of them re-hashes of of standard action-film plots, but a few of them film classics), his fans grow".
As fond of the Duke as we are, we too find such perplexing irony over his efforts to evade the draft during the Second World War. There were poorer men with bigger families who answered the call or volunteered - Wayne fought like ten tigers to stay out of it. This topic is nicely handled on this site...
Author Michael Munn explained in his 2005 tome, John Wayne: The Man Behind The Myth that in the late 1940s, Joseph Stalin was terribly upset with the actor and ordered the KGB to kill him. It seemed that Stalin and his fellow travelers in the West were inconvenienced by Wayne's leadership in a patriotic Hollywood group called the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals; this organization was succeeding in its efforts to force Red sympathizers out of Hollywood and Stalin would have non of this. Munn explained that the would-be KGB assassins were able to breach the movie lot where the Duke was working - but were very soon picked-up by Hoover's G-Men who had been tipped-off some time earlier.
John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth
Click here to read a few Japanese opinions about the movie Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)...