I watched The Shootist this weekend for the 50+ time.
He really wasn’t the best actor but John Wayne was the best icon for the United States. I felt privileged to have been part of his time and saddened ,all over again,that he is gone.
The man,actor and legend were all one, inseparable. What you saw was what he was, a patriot, cowboy and human to a fault.
I enjoy watching most of his movies but I agree with many critics that The Shootist was his best. The cast begged to be a part of this tribute. Lauren Bacall , Jimmy Stewart, Hugh O’Brien,and Richard Boone all offered their talents just for the privilege of being cast members. Ron Howard’s was the only part never considered for someone else. At first, George C. Scott was slated to portray John Bernard Books. John Wayne was already in failing health from his own battle with cancer but overcame his physical failings to play the part. He was often absent from filming for days at a time. The movie was filmed without his presence but for a few days.
The cowboys were my own personal heroes during my childhood.
John Wayne was the very best.