John Wayne DVD Collection: 'The High and the Mighty' & 'Hondo'
In association with John Wayne's Batjac Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment and Paramount's Worldwide Television Distribution will be releasing several John Wayne movies on DVD beginning in spring 2005. The upcoming Wayne titles are the following:
- A fully restored print of William A. Wellman's rarely seen The High and the Mighty (1954), a highly popular panic-in-the-air melodrama that was the precursor of Airport and other all-star disaster movies. Nominated for six Academy Awards, including nods for director Wellman, and supporting actresses Claire Trevor and Jan Sterling, The High and the Mighty ended up winning one Oscar, for Dmitri Tiomkin's score. Besides John Wayne as a – needless to say, fearless – pilot, also in the cast: Laraine Day, Robert Stack, Robert Newton, David Brian, and Phil Harris.
- Island in the Sky (1953), a less famous and equally rare John Wayne-William A. Wellman collaboration, revolves around a plane crash in sub-Arctic Canada. Also in the cast: Lloyd Nolan, Walter Abel, James Arness, and Andy Devine.
- John Farrow's Hondo (1953), a Western based on a story by Louis L'Amour, who was erroneously nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Motion Picture Story category. (L'Amour's nomination was later withdrawn.) Besides, Hondo earned movie newcomer Geraldine Page the first of her eight Academy Award nominations (in this particular case, as Best Supporting Actress). James Edward Grant was credited for the screenplay.
- Andrew V. McLaglen's comic Western McLintock! (1963), partly inspired by William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, and co-starring Maureen O'Hara, Stefanie Powers, Patrick Wayne (John Wayne's son), Yvonne De Carlo, Jack Kruschen, and Chill Wills. James Edward Grant once again penned the screenplay, officially an original effort.
Batjac's non-John Wayne movies on DVD
In addition to the aforementioned titles, Paramount will release five other Batjac productions in which John Wayne does not appear:
- William A. Wellman's unusual psychological thriller Track of the Cat (1954), with Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Diana Lynn, and Tab Hunter.
- John Farrow's Plunder of the Sun (1953), an adventure tale set in Mexico, with Glenn Ford, Patricia Medina, and Diana Lynn.
- Screenwriter-turned-director James Edward Grant's Ring of Fear (1953), a circus-set mystery yarn involving hunter and circus impresario Clyde Beatty as himself; former Warner Bros. star Pat O'Brien; and writer Mickey Spillane, also playing himself.
- Andrew V. McLaglen's Man in the Vault (1956), a thriller featuring William Campbell and Anita Ekberg.
- Budd Boetticher's Western Seven Men from Now (1956), starring Randolph Scott as a former sheriff in pursuit of the seven men who killed his wife. Also in the cast: the lovely Gail Russell and future Best Actor Oscar winner Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou, 1965).
The DVDs are supposed to feature several extras, including never-before-seen “memorabilia” from Batjac's film library.
Among John Wayne's best-known films are:
- John Ford's Stagecoach (1939), with The High and the Mighty actress Claire Trevor.
- Howard Hawks' Red River (1948), with Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, and Coleen Gray.
- John Ford's The Quiet Man (1952), with McLintock! actress Maureen O'Hara.
- The Best Picture Oscar nominee The Alamo (1960), directed by John Wayne himself (reportedly with some assistance from John Ford), and toplining Wayne, Laurence Harvey, Richard Widmark, Patrick Wayne, and Frankie Avalon.
- The all-star Western How the West Was Won (1963), featuring, among others, Debbie Reynolds, Carroll Baker, Gregory Peck, and Thelma Ritter.
- Stuart Millar's Western Rooster Cogburn (1975) – a follow-up to True Grit (see below) and an unusual pairing with fellow screen legend Katharine Hepburn.
- Don Siegel's The Shootist (1976) – Wayne's last movie – also featuring Lauren Bacall and James Stewart.
John Wayne was nominated for two Best Actor Academy Awards:
- Allan Dwan's flag-waving World War II drama Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), with John Agar and Adele Mara.
- Henry Hathaway's Western True Grit (1969), with Wayne as the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn and Kim Darby as his sort of charge. He won a sentimental Oscar for this particular Waynesque performance.
One of cinema's biggest and longest-lasting movie stars, John Wayne died of cancer in 1979.
John Farrow, Geraldine Page
 For the record: John Farrow was Maureen O'Sullivan's husband and Mia Farrow's father. He won the New York Film Critics Circle's Best Director Award for the World War II drama Wake Island (1942), which also earned him an Oscar nomination.
 According to the IMDb, Geraldine Page was first seen in an uncredited small role in Gregory Ratoff's 1953 release Taxi, starring Dan Dailey and Constance Smith.
1954: Unusual Oscar year
1954 was an unusual year for the Academy Awards, since no less than three of the five Best Picture nominees failed to get a Best Director nod.
The High and the Mighty's William A. Wellman was one of the three directors who were nominated but whose films failed to make it to the Academy's top-five list. The other two “Best Picture-less” nominated directors were Alfred Hitchcock for Rear Window and Billy Wilder for Sabrina.
John Wayne movie The High and the Mighty image: Batjac Productions / Warner Bros.
Image of John Wayne movie Hondo with Geraldine Page: Batjac Productions / Warner Bros.