She Wore A Yellow Ribbon is touted on it’s cover as “John Ford’s New and Finest Picture of the Fighting Cavalry!” Ford has assembled his usual cast of suspects for this John Wayne vehicle with John Agar, Harry Carey Jr., Victor McLaglen and George O’Brien all featured players in what is most definitely a John Wayne movie.
John Ford’s cavalry trilogy – Fort Apache, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande is curiously incomplete in the John Wayne, John Ford Film Collection. Rio Grande which was also directed by Ford and starred Wayne and Maureen O’Hara was released the year after She Wore A Yellow Ribbon. Ironically She Wore A Yellow Ribbon would be the movie that you would watch last in the series as it is about the retirement of a wily, seasoned veteran of the cavalry. Capt. Nathan Brittles is on short time when this movie opens he has less than two weeks left in this man’s cavalry. No cavalry movie would be complete though without natives on the war path, beautiful women sorely out of place in the old west and young Turks on both sides of the cavalry-Indian conflict eager to prove their metal in battle.
The strong anti-war sentiment in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon is more about the waste of war and the dangers of being unprepared for war than they are about being pacifist. This is a briskly told episodic story with a good balance of drama, conflict and comedy – the comic timing of Victor McLaglen is priceless. Even the most jaded cinemaphiles won’t fail to be impressed by the three time Academy Award winning cinematography of Winton C. Hoch that takes the majesty of Monument Valley to a whole new level of spectacular beauty: There were times when Technicolor really was the best way to shoot in colour.
She Wore A Yellow Ribbon can stand on it’s own as a movie – you have to love any movie in which the Duke shows such a wide range of emotion and acting skill, but is best viewed as the third installment of the cavalry trilogy. Take the time to watch Fort Apache and Rio Grande before getting into She Wore A Yellow Ribbon if you can but one way or another this movie is a definite addition to your DVD collection.
Other John Ford Reviews
They Were Expendable: Classic war movie by John Ford starring John Wayne
The Long Voyage Home: Classic sea-faring movie by John Ford with John Wayne
The Wings Of Eagles: Biography of Frank Spig Wead. John Wayne does comedy.
John Wayne - John Ford Film Collection: The ultimate collection of John Wayne and John Ford in one boxed set.
Stagecoach: A great western movie classic.
Fort Apache: A classic cavalry movie starring Henry Fonda
The Searchers: Simply one of the finest old style western movies John Wayne ever appeared in.
3 Godfathers: Three outlaws on the run discover a dying woman and her baby. They swear to bring the infant to safety across the desert, even at the risk of their own lives.