The War Wagon
Release Year: 1967
Director: Burt Kennedy
Writer: Clair Huffaker (screenplay based on his 1957 novel The War Wagon)
Starring: John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Howard Keel, Robert Walker Jr., Keenan Wynn, Bruce Cabot, Joanna Barnes, Valora Nolan, Bruce Dern, Gene Evans, Terry Wilson
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #205, week 21 2018
Taw Jackson (John Wayne) a man who was falsely imprisoned for three years and lost everything, including his beloved ranch, returns to steal a shipment of gold from the ranch’s new owner. The gold is transported in a heavily armoured stage coach called The War Wagon.
John Wayne made some truly great films, some that are just entertaining, and big bunch of movies that great fun. The War Wagon belongs to the last category. Directed by Burt Kennedy (The Train Robbers, 1973) and with a screenplay by Clair Huffaker based on his own novel, the talent behind the camera is solid and the talent in front is no less gifted. Wayne (Rio Bravo, 1959) has enough screen presence and charm to carry a decent storyline through all on his own, but this time around he is joined by a equally charming and slightly more energetic Kirk Douglas (Spartacus, 1960). The two are a great pair and the chemistry between them results in virtually all the film’s highlights. The story takes the form of a caper film, revolving around a shipment of gold and the change for John Wayne’s character, Taw Jackson, to get back at the man who wronged him and took over his ranch. Douglas’s character, Lomax, is a hired assassin who is offered a lot of money to get rid of Jackson but decided to help him steal the gold instead (or does he?). The result is a fun Western with lots of action, lots of laugh, and a charming double act from Wayne and Douglas. Highly recommended for classic Western fans.
Kirk Douglas showed up to work late one day because he was shooting a commercial endorsing the Democratic Governor of California. John Wayne was furious and decided to shoot a commercial for the Republican candidate and show up for work himself.
According to John Wayne, the fight in the saloon was his on-screen fight number 500.
The third and final teaming of John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. They had previously done In Harm’s Way (1965) and Cast a Giant Shadow (1966).
Picture Copyright: UIP