Howdy pardner! John Wayne returns to downtown Winter Park for the first time in five years with the September 13th Popcorn Flick, RIO GRANDE (1950). Programmed in conjunction with the “Placing Memory, Exploring Context: Winter Park’s Colony Theater” exhibition curated by Rollins College professors Denise Cummings and Julian Chambliss, the film is the last of director John Ford’s classic cavalry trilogy (following FORT APACHE and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON).
RIO GRANDE is another compelling western from one of the masters, and a vivid look at the gentlemanly spirit of the Cavalry after the Civil War. The action centers on the difficult relationship between a lonely commander (Wayne) fighting Indians in the west and his estranged son (Claude Jarman, Jr.), whom he has not seen in 15 years. Into this rugged and dangerous landscape comes Maureen O’ Hara as Wayne’s ex-wife, determined to come between father and son.
Boasting a typically fine (and iconic) supporting cast, including Ben Johnson, Victor McLaglen, Harry Carey Jr., and Chill Wills, the film is also beautifully shot by Bert Glennon and Archie Stout, and features songs by Sons of the Pioneers. So mark your calendars for a week from Thursday night and don’t miss this chance to see the great combination of John Wayne and John Ford in one of their most underrated efforts. What could be better than watching a classic western outdoors under the stars?