She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
Directed By John Ford
Written By James Warner Bellah and Frank S. Nugent
John Wayne Ė Nathan Brittles
Joanne Dru - Olivia Dandridge
John Agar - Lieutenant Flint Cohill
Ben Johnson (I) - Sergeant Tyree
Harry Carey Jr. - Lt. Ross Pennell
Victor McLaglen - Sergeant Quincannon
Mildred Natwick - Abby Allshard
George O'Brien - Major Allshard
Arthur Shields - Dr. O'Laughlin
Michael Dugan (I) - Sergeant Hochbauer
Chief John Big Tree - Pony That Walks
Fred Graham (I) - Hench
Chief Sky Eagle - Chief Sky Eagle
Tom Tyler (I) - Corporal Mike Quayne
Noble Johnson - Red Shirt
To sum up: Custerís dead and the Indians are partying while a retiring commander has to juggle the Indianís, women, and two rival soldiers. All this and a yellow ribbon too.
ďDonít apologize! Itís a sign of weakness.Ē
Itís starring John Wayne! Itís a western! Itís in color! Itís directed by John Ford! Itís a classic! It just ainít that good.
John Wayne stars as fort commander Nathan Brittles, who is just six days away from retirement. Heís a hard-nosed lonely commander with a dead wife. Among the things that he has to deal with are Indian uprisings; women in his fort, specifically Ms. Dandrich (Joanne Dru), the girl wearing the yellow ribbon; her mother; two rival soldiers, one a rich ďsilver-spoonedĒ naÔve sort, the other a practical minded southern boy, both of whom are attracted to Ms.
The problem for me is that the film canít seem to make up its mind as to what it is. Is it a comedy? Is it a serious western? Is it about Wayne? Is it about Ms. Dandrich and her two rivals? Is it about the Indian uprising? Itís about all these things and as a result nothing seems to get the attention that it deserves. All of these plots and characters donít get explored beyond a singular level.
You might say that itís supposed to be an adventure film and I would say, ďFine.Ē But if a film is going to throw that many elements into the mix, it is responsible to make sure that they get adequately covered or else the film will suffer as a result.
Even the yellow ribbon feels tacked on; as if they couldnít think of a lively title.
It does have its share of good moments. There are the usual breathtaking vistas of the American West and a couple of nice stunts too.
Sadly, though, I came away from this one disappointed.