Gung-ho Col. Mike Kirby (John Wayne) is leading his Green Berets on a mission to kidnap an enemy general during the Vietnam War. When a skeptical reporter accompanies them, the colonel and his team outline their reasons for participating in the war. Wayne codirected this action-packed, hawkish film, which was surprisingly successful at the box office. The macho cast includes David Janssen and Aldo Ray.
Arguably the most popular — and certainly the busiest — movie leading man in Hollywood history, John Wayne entered the film business while working as a laborer on the Fox lot during summer vacations from U.S.C., which he attended on a football scholarship. He met and was befriended by John Ford, a young director who was beginning to make a name for himself in action films, comedies, and dramas. Wayne was cast in small roles in Ford’s late-‘20s films, occasionally under the name Duke Morrison. It was Ford who recommended Wayne to director Raoul Walsh for the male lead in the 1930 epic Western The Big Trail, and, although it was a failure at the box office, the movie showed Wayne’s potential as a leading man. During the next nine years, be busied himself in a multitude of B-Westerns and serials — most notably Shadow of the Eagle and The Three Mesquiteers series — in between occasional bit parts in larger features such as Warner Bros.’ Baby Face, starring Barbara Stanwyck. But it was in… read more
The great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 was a tragedy for Mervyn Leroy. While he and his father managed to survive, they lost everything they had. To make money, Leroy sold newspapers and entered talent contests as a singer. When he enter vaudeville, his act was LeRoy and Cooper – Two Kids and a Piano. After the act broke up, he contacted his cousin, Jesse L. Lasky, and went to work in Hollywood. He worked in costumes, the film lab and as a camera assistant before becoming a comedy gag writer and part-time actor in silent films. His next step was as a director, and he turned out his first effort, No Place to Go (1927), before scoring his first unqualified hit with Harold Teen (1928). Earning $1,000 per week by the end of that year, he was nicknamed “The Boy Wonder” of Warners, where his pictures were profitable lightweights. His motto, to paraphrase Shakespeare, was “Good stories make good movies.” LeRoy rounded out the decade assigned to more lightweights, such as Naughty… read more