SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON

(1949)
With John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson, Victor McLaglen, Harry Carey, Jr., Mildred Natwick
Directed by John Ford
Reviewed by JL

     There are some problems with pacing and plot development in John Ford's SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (mainly because its storyline was patched together from two short stories), but it attains classic status on the basis of action scenes that are thrilling and suspenseful (and a few that are downright frustrating), breathtaking panoramas of Ford's beloved Monument Valley, and a masterful and heartfelt performance by John Wayne as Captain Nathan Brittles, one of the actor's most ingratiating roles.  It is Capt. Brittles's story that holds the loose narrative together, as he prepares for retirement and wards off Indian attacks during his last hours on the job.  Don't look for a plot in SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON, don't even look for episodic structure.  The film works best if you think of it as a series of little Western vignettes: some thoughtful, some action-packed, some even anticlimactic, all loads of fun.  The second (after FORT APACHE and preceding RIO GRANDE) in Ford's Calvary Trilogy, it's also my favorite for the sheer quirkiness of it all.  - JL

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