Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 1960. Batjac Productions, The Alamo Company. Screenplay by James Edward Grant. Cinematography by William H. Clothier. Produced by John Wayne. Music by Dimitri Tiomkin. Production Design by Alfred Ybarra. Costume Design by Ron Talsky. Film Editing by Stuart Gilmore. Academy Awards 1960. Golden Globe Awards 1960. National Board of Review Awards 1960.
Three hours of wet matches is what you will get from this bland disaster, starring and directed by the Duke himself. John Wayne as Davy Crockett, Richard Widmark as Col. Jim Bowie and Laurence Harvey as Col. William Travis defend the now mythical mission, where rebels held strong against the Mexican army determined to keep Texas under its thumb and prevent it becoming an independent nation. Wayne spares no expense on widescreen imagery, terrific production design and a cast of thousands; he also directs like an actor, letting his excellent cast members have long, drawn out scenes of dialogue exposition that don’t move the story along and contribute to a dead pace that is brutal to sit through. The great battle scenes at the end are magnificently achieved, but getting to them is impossible and, with so very few interesting characterizations involved, the emotional involvement is minimal and the historical realism is on par with a Lucky Luke cartoon.