She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
|She Wore a Yellow Ribbon|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Ford|
|Narrated by||Irving Pichel|
|Music by||Richard Hageman|
|Editing by||Jack Murray|
|Release dates||October 22, 1949|
|Running time||103 minutes|
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is a 1949 Western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne. The academy award winning film was the second of Ford's Cavalry trilogy films (the other two being Fort Apache (1948) and Rio Grande (1950)). With a budget of $1.6 million, the color film was one of the most expensive Westerns made up to that time. It was a major hit for RKO.
The film takes its name from "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", a popular US military song that is used to keep marching cadence. A frequently quoted line from the film, spoken many times by John Wayne, is "Never apologize and never explain--it's a sign of weakness."
The film was shot on location in Monument Valley utilizing large areas of the Navajo reservation along the Arizona-Utah state border. Ford and cinematographer Winton Hoch based much of the film's imagery on the paintings and sculptures of Frederic Remington. The film won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 1950. It was also nominated by the Writers Guild of America as 1950's Best Written American Western; the award was won by Yellow Sky.
On the verge of his retirement at Fort Starke, a one-troop cavalry post, aging US Cavalry Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles (John Wayne) is given one last mission: to take his troop and deal with a breakout from the reservation by the Cheyenne and Arapaho following the defeat of George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Brittles task is complicated by being forced at the same time to deliver his commanding officer's wife and niece, Abby Allshard (Mildred Natwick) and Olivia Dandridge (Joanne Dru), to an eastbound stage and by the need to avoid a new Indian war. His troop officers, 1st Lt. Flint Cohill (John Agar) and 2nd Lt. Ross Pennell (Harry Carey, Jr.), meanwhile vie for the affections of Miss Dandridge while uneasily anticipating the retirement of their captain and mentor.
Assisting him with his mission is Capt. Brittles' chief scout, Sgt. Tyree (Ben Johnson), a one-time Confederate cavalry officer; his First Sergeant, Quincannon (Victor McLaglen); and Maj. Allshard (George O'Brien), Brittles' long-time friend and commanding officer.
After apparently failing in both missions, Brittles returns with the troop to Fort Starke to retire. His lieutenants continue the mission in the field, joined by Brittles after "quitting the post and the Army". Unwilling to see more lives needlessly taken, Brittles takes it upon himself to try to make peace with Chief Pony That Walks (Chief John Big Tree). When that too fails, he devises a risky stratagem to avoid a bloody war by stampeding the Indians' horses out of their camp, forcing the renegades to return to their reservation.
The movie ends with Brittles being recalled to duty as chief of scouts with the rank of lieutenant-colonel and Miss Dandridge and Lt. Cohill becoming engaged.
- John Wayne as Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles
- Joanne Dru as Olivia Dandridge
- John Agar as 1st Lt. Flint Cohill
- Ben Johnson as Sgt. Tyree (aka Captain CSA)
- Harry Carey Jr. as 2nd Lt. Ross Penell
- Victor McLaglen as First Sgt. Quincannon
- Mildred Natwick as Abby Allshard ("Old Iron Pants")
- George O'Brien as Maj. Mac Allshard
- Arthur Shields as Dr. O'Laughlin
- Michael Dugan as Sgt. Hochbauer
- Chief John Big Tree as Chief Pony That Walks
- Fred Graham as Sgt. Hench
- Chief White Eagle as Chief Sky Eagle
- Tom Tyler as Cpl. Mike Quayne
- Noble Johnson as Chief Red Shirt
- Rudy Bowman as "Trooper John Smith" (aka Brig. Gen. Rome Clay, CSA)
- Paul Fix as Gun-runner
- Francis Ford as Connelly, Fort Stark Suttlers Barman
- Ray Hyke as Trooper McCarthy
- Billy Jones as Courier
- Fred Kennedy as Badger
- Fred Libby as Cpl. Krumrein
- Cliff Lyons as Trooper Cliff
- Frank McGrath as Bugler / Indian
- Peter Ortiz as Gun-runner
- Post Park as Officer
- Jack Pennick as Sergeant Major
- Mickey Simpson as Cpl. Wagner (blacksmith)
- William Steele as Officer
- Don Summers as Jenkins
- Dan White as Trooper
- Harry Woods as Licensed Suttler Karl Rynders
Director Ford initially was uncertain who to cast in the lead role. However he knew that he did not want John Wayne for the part; but that was until he saw Wayne's 1948 performance in "Red River". Ford realized Wayne had grown considerably as an actor, and was now capable of playing the character he envisaged for this film. The role also became one of Wayne's favorite performances.
The cast and crew lived in relatively primitive conditions in Monument Valley. Most slept in dirt-floor cabins that only had communal cold-water drum showers. The film was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
Although the film's cinematographer, Winton Hoch, won an academy award for his work, filming was not a smooth creative process because of conflicts with Ford. Ironically one of the most iconic scenes from the film was created during a dispute. As a line of cavalry ride through the desert, a real thunderstorm grows on the horizon. In reality Hoch began to pack up the cameras as the weather worsened only for Ford to order him to keep shooting. Hoch argued that there was not enough natural light for the scene and, more importantly, the cameras could become potential lightning rods if the storm swept over them. Ford ignored Hoch's complaints; completing the scene as the thunderstorm rolled in soaking the cast and crew with rain. Hoch later had filed a letter of complaint against Ford with his trade union over the filming of this scene.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.|
- She Wore a Yellow Ribbon at the American Film Institute Catalog
- She Wore a Yellow Ribbon at the Internet Movie Database
- She Wore a Yellow Ribbon at the TCM Movie Database
- She Wore a Yellow Ribbon at AllMovie