American film legend John Wayne did love a lot of movies, even his own. But there was one classic flick that The Duke did not like at all.
Consider him not a fan for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. And John Wayne was part of the cast, too. IDMb offers up a synopsis of the film: “A senator returns to a western town for the funeral of an old friend and tells the story of his origins.” Toss in that James Stewart was also in this film, and Wayne director John Ford was behind the camera.
What gives, Duke? Let’s get some information about his distaste for the movie with some help from the British publication Express.
John Wayne Could Not Keep Taking Constant ‘Needling’ From John Ford
Wayne and Ford would get involved in a back-and-forth on the movie set. Ford reportedly would shame John Wayne. But co-star Woody Strode said that Wayne would heap all of his frustration on him. Strode would recall that Ford “kept needling Duke about his failure to make it as a football player.” He even compared The Duke to Strode a former NFL player.
More grief for John Wayne included Ford mocking the actor for not enlisting in World War II. That sent a heap of guilt onto Wayne’s shoulders.
How did he feel about all of this mess? In Michael Munn’s book, John Wayne – The Man Behind The Myth, Strode said Ford’s criticisms “really p***ed Wayne off, but he would never take it out on Ford.”
No Way Would Wayne Let Ford Know About Being Upset Since Director Made Him a Star
Why? Well, Ford had made Wayne a movie star. Strode said that Wayne “ended up taking it out on me.” For example, both actors filmed an exterior shot on a horse-drawn cart.
It was John Wayne who was close to losing control of the horses. Strode tried to help him, but The Duke knocked him away. The horses stopped and Wayne actually tried to punch Strode. Ford yelled, “Don’t hit him Woody! We need him!”
That led to Wayne telling Strode, “We gotta work together. We both gotta be professionals.” Ford filmed other Westerns with John Wayne in color like The Searchers and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. This 1962 film was shot in black and white.
Cinematographer William H Clothier said, “There was one reason and one reason only… Paramount was cutting costs. Otherwise, we would have been in Monument Valley or Brackettville and we would have had color stock. Ford had to accept those terms or not make the film.” And it’s considered a film classic, too, with the Gene Pitney-sung theme song, too.