John Wayne Revealed Which Scenes He Wanted Cut From ‘The Alamo’

by Chris Piner
john-wayne-revealed-which-scenes-wanted-cut-the-alamo

While actors and actresses go to some extreme lengths to achieve their status as a pillar in Hollywood, no matter how many stunts and roles they take, it is extremely hard to compare to the legacy of John Wayne. Referred to as the Duke, Wayne dominated the western genre for almost 30 years. On top of that, the actor starred in over 170 films and television productions. Needless to say, Wayne worked harder than most in his industry which led him to be named one of the greatest actors in classic American cinema by the American Film Institute. The Duke even won an Academy Award for his role in True Grit. But while the actor received praise and accolades for his commitment to his craft, it appears Wayne was his harshest critic. 

In archive footage of Talking Pictures, produced by the BBC, John Wayne discussed the first film he directed, The Alamo. Although the film garnered rave reviews from both the audience and critics, the star admitted to some changes he would have made to the iconic film. Starring alongside both Richard Widmark and Laurence Harvey, the Duke, as mentioned above, also directed and produced the movie. 

The Troubles Of Being A Director

Looking at the finished product of the film, John Wayne said that the over three-hour runtime was a little concerning. He added, “Well, I felt that it needed to be that long. We wanted to develop each character, particularly the Travis character, who was not well-known to audiences. Naturally, they’ve heard of Bowie and Crockett, and they’ve developed a picture of him. But in order to set Travis – [he] was played by Laurence Harvey and we thought he was magnificent in the picture. Actually, now that we’ve seen Ben-Hur out and Spartacus and they’re saying, ‘Too long, too long, too long,’ perhaps we should have tempered the time, cut it down.”

Another section of The Alamo John Wayne thought seemed unnecessary dealt with the death of Parsons. The Duke said,  “I had a sequence in which I wanted to set the tenor of a feeling of the men at the end, and I had Parson’s death. But the Parson was not too well-known to the audience. So, actually, I feel that maybe those two sequences we could have done without them, and we may cut them.”

The Thought That Kept John Wayne Up At Night

Due to The Alamo being his first time in the director’s chair, John Wayne explained how he stayed up at night shaking over the chemistry of the actors. “I realized that although I had known my crew for years, and knew each personality, I hadn’t known Mr. Harvey and I hadn’t known Mr. Widmark, and whether or not we would chemically adjust to each other. And about halfway through, when everything was going well, and I realized how well it was going. I started thinking what could have happened, and I spent a night shaking, I’ll tell you!”

In the end, The Alamo won an Academy Award for sound, adding to its Golden Globe for best musical score. 

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