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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on November 11, 2003
Capt. Nathan Brittles (John Wayne) is near retirement and looks at it with an unsure and heavy heart. After years in the U.S. Cavalry it is all he knows and is not sure what will become of him when he leaves it. Brittles knows that the Army and life will go on, but what will his role in life be, since he lost his wife years before. This is the second and best film in the John Ford cavalry trilogy. As it Brittles is not very keen on handing over command to younger soldiers who are yet to prove themself in leading other men and in combat. For all it's worth he has little to no say about what will happen to those who take over and what will become of the indian tribe that he has worked with and delt with for so long. Victor McLaglen is a great supporter in the film as he also faces retirement and enjoys his whiskey and fights along with the other men. A story about trust and service along with changing times, it features one of Wayne's best performances. An Oscar winner for best color cinematography (Winton C. Hoch) that features Monument Valley, this is a film to see as it is a western and war film wraped into one. It is simple yet not boring and it get's to the point when needed. Grade: B+
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For whatever reasons, Wayne's performances in westerns tend to be of a higher quality than in his other films and that is especially true of his work in this film, based on two of James Warner Bellah's short stories. Wayne portrays Captain Nathan Brittles who is about to retire. As the last day of his command approaches, Brittles must meanwhile cope with an Apache uprising which even his longtime friend Chief Pony That Walks (Chief John Big Tree) cannot prevent. One sub plot involves two young lieutenants who compete for Olivia Dandridge (Joanne Dru). One is Flint Cohill played by John Agar who appeared previously in Fort Apache as Lieutenant Michael O'Rourke. Other members of the John Ford Repertory Players include Victor McLaglen, Mildred Natwick, Arthur Shields, Harry Carey, Jr., and Ben Jonson who is especially effective as Sergeant Tyree.
Frankly, I dislike westerns shot in color. Also, John Ford apparently had problems when directing actresses. (Maureen O'Hara's performance in The Quiet Man is a stunning exception.) More often than not, Ford's female characters are presented as saints, children, or furniture. I would have much preferred that this film had been shot in black-and-white, that the Olivia Dandridge character be omitted, and that the film focus entirely on the completion of Brittles' last command. Wayne is absolutely brilliant when Brittles is presented with a gold watch from his troops and struggles withy his eyeglasses so that he can read the inscription, "Lest We Forget." His conversation with Chief Pony That Walks in the Apache camp is also memorable. Wayne has better material to work with in this film than he had in Fort Apache (1948). In my opinion, his performance is flawless. Nevertheless, I rate this film a notch or two below Fort Apache and Rio Grande in which Ford is much less self-indulgent.
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on April 28, 2003
"She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" is one of those glorious westerns, luminously photographed by director, John Ford. It stars, John Wayne, as a widower living at a military outpost with the cavalry and features some of the most gorgeously photographed exteriors ever captured on film. Monument Valley becomes a place of quiet, stoic beauty and the duke never gave a more impressive performance than he does here.
My hat off to the good people at Warner Home Video. This is a truly amazing looking DVD and one that should definitely be on every film buffs wish list to own. Colors are fully saturated, well balanced and incredibly life like. Contrast levels are on pitch as are black levels. There is a hint of edge enhancement and pixelization but really - it's just a hint. Chips, scratches and imperfections inherant in the original camera negative are kept to a bare, bare minimum. The audio is mono, as originally presented, but extremely well balanced, with low to non-existant background hiss in most scenes. No extras: a shame! One craves a documentary on either the making-of this movie or John Ford himself. We get neither. Still, it's hard to fault such a near pristine looking transfer.
BOTTOM LINE: Get this one before it goes out of print!
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on September 4, 2002
John Ford's "Cavalry Trilogy" presents some of the finest western scenes ever made. I believe this to be the best of the three, although I'm sure to hear from folks who differ. Be that as it may, this is a beautifully made disc. On the big screen ( a must), it is the scenery that is a major factor, because the film is so vivid. I saw the "Trilogy" in the theatre when released, and I believe that the DVD viewer will see the film better realized on the digital screen than moviegoers saw in 1959. Another opinion that many will differ with is that this is John Wayne's best performance; his role as Captain Nathan Briddles could not be better done. John Ford had a cadre of actors that appeared regularly in his films, but Victor McLaglin, Ben Johnson and Arthur Shields do good work in their respective parts. Johnson, a former rodeo rider, is a superb horseman, and watch Shields' stagecraft when his character operates on a wounded trooper. It's fantastic attention to the details of the scene. Joanne Dru was a fifties actress, and the love interest is a bit dated, but it is the cinematography that is the winner here. Some of the scenes, one involving a thunderstorm, and another showing a stunning sunset are still amazing, especially since no computer graphics are involved. The attention to detail that makes or breaks historical film are consistantly well done here, as exemplified in the correctness of the cavalry scenes. Back in 1959, there were people around who knew what horse soldiering was, and it is painstakingly recreated here. Please don't pass this one up - it's a wonderful film.
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on June 13, 2002
While many of John Ford's movies are classics, I think that "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" does often get downplayed, but it really is an excellent movie. The colors are lush, and quite crisp on this DVD (more so than in the VHS of this film) and the cinematography is gorgeous. But the acting is also top-knotch. John Wayne does wonderful as a ramrod-straight but aging cavalry officer. Though Wayne was probably at a physical peak at the time the film was made, he moves like an older man with aches and pains, and carries it off nicely. His interactions with the other actors are also good, and reflect well the tight-knit nature of the post-Civil War military. There's humor, there's drama, and in the end, the film is just very enjoyable. The extra features on the DVD are okay; the "John Ford Home Movies" only show Ford and Wayne enjoying drinks somewhere in Mexico, and everything else is just text, but the clarity of the film and the gorgeous colors on the DVD make this a must-have.
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on June 5, 2002
John Wayne may have received reviews for acting in other movies such as The Searchers, Red River, True Grit and others, but this is the one where he brings all the others together in an image that can not be equalled. The old cavalry captain at the end of a long career, a Civil War veteran trying to get a job done in a lonely part of the world, a widower still in love with his wife, a gentleman of the old school, and more, this is John Wayne in a truly great role. In addition to him, this movie has some of the best directing, photography, and music of any western film. Maybe The Searchers is arguably the best western ever made, and I would not argue that, but She Wore A Yellow Ribbon is the one that makes you want to stand up and cheer (just like Joanne Dru said). Captain Nathan Brittles takes care of his soldiers, mentors the young officers (a phrase overused and little heeded in today's Army), and finally accomplishes his mission, but not without some great drama and disappointment along the way. If nothing else, people should watch this movie for the photography and camera work. Watch the bugler as he rides along in silence beside his Captain; watch how he sits his horse. And watch Ben Johnson in an early role. There is one picture of him on his sorrel horse against the sky that should have been a painting. I do enjoy this movie, as anyone can tell. I do so because it has all the right elements: danger, romance, drama, a surprise and exciting ending, along with the music and photography. Yeah, and don't forge the acting either, not Wayne's nor Victor Mclaughlin's, Ben Johnson's, Mildred Natwick's, Tom Tyler's, Barry Fitzgerald's, and all the other great actors of that time.
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on March 19, 2004
When this film was released I was six years old, living in grey, cold, bankrupt post war Britain, a world of food and clothing rationing. Cinema was pure escapism and I thank my parents for taking me there every week. Westerns were big in those days. They had titles such as "Broken Arrow" or "Winchester 73". As my love of cinema was slowly nurtured "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" left an indelible impression on my psyche. I loved every bit of it. The odyessic story, with its lack of 'white man good' 'red indian bad' stereotyping. The sophistication of Ford's direction with its cool appreciation of America's big country. The actors - Wayne, of course, towering above all, and decades before he blotted his copybook with his embarrasing gung-ho roles, to Victor McLagen's 'Oirish' knockabout sargeant, via the under-stated work of Joanne Dru and John Agar. "Never apologise, son. It's a sign of weakness." A simply unbeatable movie.
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on July 11, 2004
SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON is the second leg of greatness in the John Ford Cavalry Trilogy. Cinematography-wise SWAYR is the jewel in the crown, it's much heralded Oscar winning celluloid images are breathtaking. All three films have their own moments of greatness, here it's John Wayne as Capt. Nathan Brittles, in make-up aging him 20 years no less "making his report" graveside to his wife and daughter; His receiving his silver watch from his troops ("Lest we forget,") and his negotiating Victor McLaglen's retirement ("A man of a thirst like that can't survive on less than a sergeant's pension!"). Of course there is the cavalry's march to their 3 theme songs: "Garry Owen", "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" and "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (a constant in the trilogy). Sterling performances across the board. SWAYR is an all time classic.
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on May 13, 2003
Everybody says "The Searchers" is the best Western ever made... Well, I like it a lot, to be sure, but when I step into the living room and have to chose between it or "She wore a yellow ribbon" (among other DVD's) I will always pick the later first.
I think it's the best one by the team Ford/Wayne by far, those who say Wayne could'nt act must see this film, probably doing films like this is what made him "larger then life" and subsequently made new rols or films as WAYNE films (a continuity of purpose overused in his last films wich incredibly are mainly suportable by HIS performance...).
Wayne is up there with Fonda, Jimmy Stewart and very few others wich always were THEMSELVES over their rols/parts in the movie.
Enough said, get "The Horse Soldiers" if you liked "She wore a yellow ribbon".
Really a SIX stars film.
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on April 30, 2002
Both Howard Hawks and John Ford understood that the older they became,
the more important male friendships were to them.
This is one of the best examples from Ford. The film has a warmth
and unmistakable magical quality to its sense of humor. It bears
up very well under repeaded viewings and the relationship between
John Wayne and Victor McLaglen is just the best. Wayne's character
exhibits a maturity and wisdom here that is very moving. It helps
to have seen a little of life before viewing this film. But, then,
that is true of all of John Ford's and Howard Hawks' work.
You just have to have lived life to appreciate it in their films.
One of my favorites and every bit the equal to "Rio Bravo."
It's the perfect film to watch while enjoying a rare New York steak
and a good bottle of red wine.
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