DIRECTED BY DON SIEGAL
PRESENTED BY DINO De LAURENTIIS
PRODUCED BY M.J.FRANKOVICH/ WILLIAM SELF
MUSIC BY ELEMER BERNSTEIN
Information from IMDb
J.B. Books, a 60ish gunfighter, finds that he has stomach cancer and two months to live
. He takes a room with Bond Rogers and her son, Gillom to wait until death comes.
Of course, his very presence starts off events in the town.
The Marshal comes, prepared to die in a shootout, Gillom tries to idolize him,
Bond first is disgusted and then pitties him.
Then, realizing that he will die in great pain,
he comes up with an idea to go out with a bang.
John Wayne .... John Bernard Books
Lauren Bacall .... Bond Rogers
Ron Howard .... Gillom Rogers
James Stewart .... Dr. E.W. Hostetler
Richard Boone .... Mike Sweeney
Hugh O'Brian .... Jack Pulford (faro dealer at Metropole Saloon)
Bill McKinney .... Jay Cobb (owner, Cob's Creamery)
Harry Morgan .... Carson City Marshal Walter Thibido
John Carradine .... Hezekiah Beckum (undertaker)
Sheree North .... Serepta (Books' ex-girlfriend)
Rick Lenz .... Dan Dobkins (reporter, 'Morning Appeal') (as Richard Lenz)
Scatman Crothers .... Moses Brown (liveryman)
Gregg Palmer .... Burly man
Alfred Dennis .... Dearden (barber)
Dick Winslow .... Streetcar driver
Melody Thomas Scott .... Girl on streetcar (as Melody Thomas)
Kathleen O'Malley .... Schoolteacher
Johnny Crawford .... Books' victim in flashback (uncredited)
Christopher George .... Books' victim in flashback (uncredited)
Leo Gordon .... Books' victim in flashback (uncredited)
Charles G. Martin .... Murray (the bartender) (uncredited)
Ricky Nelson .... Books' fellow lawman in flashback (uncredited)
James Nolan .... Gambler (uncredited)
Henry Slate .... Pulford confidante (uncredited)
Ralph Volkie .... White-haired bartender (uncredited)
Glendon Swarthout (novel)
Scott Hale (screenplay) and
Miles Hood Swarthout (screenplay)
Denny Arnold .... stunts (uncredited)
Jim Burk .... stunt double, stunts (uncredited)
Steven Burnett .... stunts (uncredited)
Roydon Clark .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
Henry Wills .... stunts wrangler (uncredited)
This was John Wayne's final film.
While this is marked as James Stewart's final appearance in a western movie, he did lend his voice to the cartoon movie An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991), where he voices an aging hound dog sheriff named Wylie.
John Wayne greatly admired director Don Siegel and had said he would like to have played Clint Eastwood's role in Dirty Harry (1971). Wayne was never actually offered the part however because of his age, although he later made two cop movies of his own.
There had been some opposition to the casting of John Wayne, since the producers thought that at 68 he was too old to be believable as a gunfighter.
Contrary to popular belief, John Wayne did not have cancer when he made this film. His entire left lung and several ribs had been removed in surgery on 16 September 1964, and in 1969 he was declared cancer free. It was not until 12 January 1979, almost three years after this movie had been filmed, that the disease was found to have returned.
When viewing footage of the final gunfight in the bar, John Wayne saw that it was edited to show him shooting a guy in the back. He said, "I've made over 250 pictures and have never shot a guy in the back. Change it." They did. However, Wayne had shot men in the back in several of his movies, including The Searchers (1956).
To add a sense of realism to John Wayne's character, archive footage from several of his westerns was used to introduce J.B. Books after the beginning credits. Included was footage from Red River (1948), Hondo (1953), Rio Bravo (1959) and El Dorado (1966).
When J.B. Books (John Wayne) arrives at Dr. E.W. Hostetler's (James Stewart) office, Hostetler mentions that it has been 15 years since they last saw each other. The inside joke is that Wayne and Stewart last worked together on The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), 15 years before.
John Wayne was only cast as Books only after five other star names had passed.
John Wayne fell ill with influenza during the production and was hospitalized for a fortnight. It was uncertain at one point whether the film would actually be completed.
John Wayne was great to the Carson City locals while he was staying at the Ormsby House Hotel during the filming. He signed autographs for young people readily, including one signed for future famed Nevada Opera lead mezzo soprano Mary Anna Replogle.
The title of the film comes from a famous quip by the gunslinger Clay Allison. Allison, a bounty hunter and hired killer whose marksmanship and drunken, homicidal rages made him feared across Texas, would reportedly tell anyone brave enough to ask that he was employed as a "shootist".
John Wayne liked working with Lauren Bacall in their first film, Blood Alley (1955) so much that he hand-picked her as his leading lady for this film.
George C. Scott was originally offered the role of Books, and accepted it on the condition that not one word of the script be changed. However, the role was given to John Wayne after he expressed interest. The producers claim they had wanted him all along, but did not believe he would be interested in the film.
An interviewer asked Ron Howard if John Wayne had given him any tips on acting. He said that, during the filming of the final shootout, Wayne took him aside and said he had some advice for him. As Howard eagerly awaited some profound advice, Wayne said "Ron, if you want to look menacing - close your mouth."
John Wayne did a TV Public Service Announcement for the American Cancer Society that began with a clip of the scene in which the doctor tells Books he has cancer.
Maureen O'Hara was considered for the role of Bond Rogers, but director Don Siegel felt she wasn't suitable for the part.
Lauren Bacall's character's first name was a reference to Ward Bond.
At the beginning of the seventh day, Gillom whistles a Scott Joplin song made famous to audiences three years earlier in The Sting (1973).
The engraved Colt Single Action Army revolvers used by J. B. Books in this film were in reality a pair of 1950's-made replicas p
'Hugh O'Brian (I)' wanted to be in the film, so he was given the character of Pulford, who was originally in the novel. Pulford was a card dealer. In the movie, his gun fight with a patron is depicted as occurring after Books comes to town. In the book, however, the gun fight took place much earlier.
The name of Scatman Crothers's character, Moses Brown, is an allusion to the McCandles Ranch cook played by Bill Walker in Big Jake (1971).
Despite receiving generally favorable reviews, the movie proved to be one of John Wayne's least successful movies ever on its release.
Although now widely regarded as one of the finest final movies of any star, along with The Misfits (1961) starring Clark Gable and On Golden Pond (1981) starring Henry Fonda, this was never actually intended as John Wayne's last movie, particularly since it was not until January 1979 - three years after filming had begun - that he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. In July 1978, after recovering from open heart surgery, he announced that he was intending to make a movie called "Beau John" with Ron Howard, but for some reason it never happened.
The movie has often been compared with The Gunfighter (1950), a part John Wayne had wanted to play but which had instead gone to Gregory Peck.
James Stewart only agreed to play a cameo role in the film because John Wayne had specifically requested him. His short time on the film proved to be trying. The bad acoustics of the huge, hollow sound stages worsened his hearing difficulties, and he stayed by himself most of the time. He and Wayne muffed their lines so often in the main scene between them that director Don Siegel accused them of not trying hard enough. Wayne's reply was a variation on an old John Ford line, advising the director, "If you'd like the scene done better, you'd better get a couple of better actors." Later on, the star told friends that Stewart had known his lines, but hadn't been able to hear his cues, and that in turn had caused his own fumbling. Because Stewart's movie career had ended several years before, he was only paid $50,000 for his part.
After 47 years in Hollywood, John Wayne did not film a picture in the year 1975. Production on The Shootist (1976) started in January 1976.
Final film of Buzz Barton.
Two years prior to the release of this film, Richard Boone, Harry Morgan and Rick Lenz had co-starred in the NBC television series, "Hec Ramsey" (1972) which was also set in 1901 and depicted the fading of the Old West and the coming of modern law enforcement.
SPOILER: The original screenplay had Gillom Rogers (Ron Howard) shooting and killing J.B. Books (John Wayne). In the screenplay, the killing disturbed Gillom so much that he throws away the pistol and leaves the bar, repulsed by the act. Wayne had the screenplay changed so that Books is killed by the bartender, who is then killed by Rogers.
* Crew or equipment visible: In the final shooting when the bartender shoots Mr. Books, the squib detonation wires are visible on the ground and leading up each man's leg.
* Crew or equipment visible: When Sweeney is coming at Books with the table in front of him, the squib detonation wires are visible on the floor. The same wires are seen when Books falls to the floor after being shot by the bartender, and when Gillom shoots the bartender the second time.
* Continuity: In the final shootout, Books fires his belly gun four times, before he drops it, and his holster gun three times. The two nearly simultaneous shots through Sweeney's table are so fast, they have to be one from each pistol. After Gillom takes the holster gun and fires it three times at the bartender, it should be empty. But as he prepares to throw the gun away, it is obvious there are still loaded rounds in at least two chambers.
* Revealing mistakes: When Books shoots Cobb in the final scene in the bar, Cobb's blood pack is clearly visible beneath his shirt.
* Continuity: Towards the end of the movie, before the final gunfight, Sweeny drives up and parks his automobile outside the Metropole. As he gets out of the auto, he raises the tiller. Moments later when Books arrives at the Metropole, the tiller on Sweeny's auto is in the lower position.
* Continuity: After he discharges Dobkins setting a foot on his buttock, and Dobkins stretchs out on the ground, Books throws away his hat which falls on his feet. When Dobkins picks it up still lying, it is on his right side almost about his hip.
* Factual errors: When Books arrives in Carson City, the newspaper he buys says "Monday Morning January 22, 1901" at the top. 22 January 1901 was actually a Tuesday.
* Continuity: Books' hair goes from being parted on his left to his right then back to his left after he tells Marshal Thibido he (Books) is going to die when they first meet while in Books' room.
* Anachronisms: In the opening scene labeled as being set in 1871, a pair of Colt Peacemaker revolvers with 4-3/4 inch barrels is shown. This model was developed for the US Army in 1873. Civilian sales started in 1875, and the 4-3/4 barrel length wasn't available until 1877.
* Crew or equipment visible: When Sweeney drives up and stops his automobile outside the Metropole, there is a visible "stop" device for the car placed on the ground at the left front wheel.
* Factual errors: Queen Victoria died on January 22nd so her death would not appear in the newspaper until the next day, January 23rd, at the very earliest, and certainly not as shown in the paper dated 22nd.
* Factual errors: When Bond and Books first meet, Books tells Bond that his name is William Hickock, former marshal of Abilene. Bond tells Gillom what Books said, and Gillom tells her that Wild Bill Hickock died before he (Gillom) was born. Wild Bill Hickock's name was James Butler Hickock, not William Hickock.
* Continuity: After Books and Gillom practice shooting at a tree, they go for a walk. Gillom pulls out a whiskey bottle. In the cut just before Books takes the bottle from Gillom's hand, the bottle position changes from Gillom's left hand to his right hand.
Kings Row, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
Krebs-Peterson House - 500 Mountain Street, Carson City, Nevada, USA
Laramie Street, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
Midwest Street, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
Stage 14, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
Stage 25, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
Washoe Lake State Park - 4855 Eastlake Boulevard, Carson City, Nevada, USA
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