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John Wayne’s World

Transnational Masculinity in the Fifties

By Russell Meeuf

Publication Year: 2013

Connecting John Wayne’s films to the transnational historical context of the 1950s, John Wayne’s World argues that Wayne’s depictions of heroic masculinity dovetailed with the rise of Hollywood’s cultural dominance and the development of global capitalism after World War II.

Published by: University of Texas Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

...This project has its roots in an undergraduate honors seminar I took while a student at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, which first got me thinking about John Wayne in the context of globalization and U.S. power in the 1950s. So my first thanks should go to Jeffrey Barlow, who taught that course, and my professors at Pacific who helped me decide to be a researcher and teacher: Pauline Beard, Johanna Hibbard, Mike Steele, and Doyle Walls...

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Introduction. Reexamining John Wayne

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pp. 1-15

...Over one shoulder, Indians charge on the warpath, and over the other armed cowboys creep out from behind a craggy outcrop. But in the foreground stands Geraldine Page, hand on hip, beckoning Wayne’s character, Hondo Lane, to a life of domestic and paternal responsibilities. In the U.S. poster, on the other hand, that colorful backdrop is erased: Wayne is simply put against a white background as he draws near to Page, anticipating a romantic interlude. In the French poster, Wayne’s body...

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1. The Emergence of “John Wayne”: Red River, Global Masculinity, and Wayne’s Romantic Anxieties

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pp. 16-40

...Wayne as Tom Dunson with Fen (Coleen Gray), his love interest, who early in the film is murdered by a band of Indians. Wayne stares deeply and romantically into her eyes as he slips a bracelet onto her wrist. In the film, this is the same bracelet he would later give to his adopted son, Matthew Garth (Montgomery Clift), who in the poster is taking a hard blow to the face from the other Wayne in the lower right. This other Wayne offers a frantic and frenzied vision of violence, his mouth wide open and screaming, suggesting a release of anger and a loss of control not often seen...

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2. Exile, Community, and Wandering: International Migration and the Spatial Dynamics of Modernity in John Ford’s Cavalry Trilogy

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pp. 41-72

...In her revisionist and critical history of the American West, Patricia Limerick notes that Hollywood’s construction of the western frontier glosses over one of the central concerns of the history of the West: parceling, buying, and selling land. Limerick writes: “If Hollywood wanted to capture the emotional center of western history, its movies would be about real estate. John Wayne would have been neither a gunfighter nor a sheriff, but a surveyor, speculator, or claims lawyer. The showdowns would appear in the land...

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3. John Wayne’s Cold War: Mass Tourism and the Anticommunist Crusade

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pp. 73-86

...The Soviet premier Joseph Stalin, in the final, unstable years of his life, decreed that John Wayne had to die. According to the film historian and celebrity biographer Michael Munn, John Wayne was so associated with anticommunism that several attempts on Wayne’s life were undertaken by different communist organizations, including one supposedly orchestrated by Stalin himself...

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4. John Wayne’s Body: Technicolor and 3-D Anxieties in Hondo and The Searchers

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pp. 87-112

...In this way, the scene clearly signifies a particular vision of the white male body: able, kinetic, efficient, and ultimately superior to the raced body of its Native American opponent. Using the new technologies of an increasingly global Hollywood to fetishize both the physical labor of the male body engaged in brutal yet graceful action and the open, competitive spaces of the western frontier that necessitates such violence,...

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5. John Wayne’s Africa: European Colonialism versus U. S. Global Leadership in Legend of the Lost

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pp. 113-130

...In one scene, the three take a much-needed break along the banks of an oasis after getting caught in a brutal desert sandstorm. Exploiting the internationally popular sex appeal of the young Loren at the time, Dita bathes in the nude in plain view of the two men, with only a conveniently placed donkey blocking the camera’s view of Loren’s naked body. Bonnard, an idealistic and religious European, looks on with embarrassment at the sexualized display, awkwardly breaking his gaze...

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6. John Wayne’s Japan: International Production, Global Trade, and John Wayne’s Diplomacy in The Barbarian and the Geisha

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pp. 131-151

...Japanese culture before Western contact. This forceful assertion of narrative centrality and Okichi’s powerful position as narrator challenge many of the masculine and Western privileges normally associated with Hollywood films, particularly those of John Wayne. In Wayne’s cinematic world, he is most often the center of the narrative: his subjectivity dominates the audience’s perspective, privileging his position (and the position of white males in general) over those of the women and people of color he...

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7. Men at Work in Tight Spaces: Masculinity, Professionalism, and Politics in Rio Bravo and The Alamo

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pp. 152-177

...Nathan Burdette (John Russell), a powerful rancher attempting to violently break his brother out of jail, pays the band at the cantina across the street to play a tune over and over again to send a message to the sheriff, played by John Wayne. Proving his intelligence despite his young age, Colorado (Ricky Nelson), a young man who has stayed out of the conflict up to that point, explains that the song is called “El Degüello,” or “The Cutthroat Song.” As Colorado explains it, “The Mexicans played it for those Texas boys when they had them bottled up in the Alamo...

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Conclusion. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Nostalgia for John Wayne’s World

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pp. 178-186

...The film opens with Ransom Stoddard (Jimmy Stewart), a former governor, senator, and U.S. ambassador, and his wife, Hallie (Vera Miles), arriving by train in the small western town of Shinbone, where they met. They tell the local newspaper that they have come for the funeral of Tom Doniphon, an old, poor rancher whom the reporters have never heard of. When pressed by the local newspaper editor about why such a prominent politician would come all the way from Washington...


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pp. 187-198


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pp. 199-206


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pp. 207-213

E-ISBN-13: 9780292747470
E-ISBN-10: 0292747470
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292747463
Print-ISBN-10: 0292747462

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 17 photos
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 856934352
MUSE Marc Record: Download for John Wayne’s World

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Wayne, John, 1907-1979.
  • Motion picture industry -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Masculinity in motion pictures.
  • Motion pictures and globalization.
  • Nineteen fifties.
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