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American Titan

Searching for John Wayne

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


As he did in his bestselling biographies of Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Clint Eastwood, Marc Eliot offers an exciting, groundbreaking new take on an American icon—the most legendary Western film hero of all time, John Wayne

An audience favorite and top box-office draw for decades, John Wayne symbolized masculinity, power, and patriotism, and inspired millions of Americans. Yet despite his popularity and success, he was unfairly dismissed as a "B" movie actor lacking elegance, creativity, range, and depth. American Titan challenges conventional wisdom and reevaluates Wayne's life and vital cinematic legacy, ultimately placing the man known as "Duke" among a select and brilliant pantheon of "actor auteurs"—artists whose consistency of style in their work reflects their personal creative vision.

In American Titan, Eliot demonstrates that Wayne possessed a distinct and remarkable vision rooted in his unique Midwestern and West Coast childhood that would become manifest in one of the most enduring screen personalities of all time: the elusive, stoic frontier loner. Wayne's heroic outsider also influenced a new generation of actors and filmmakers who would borrow from it to use in their own movies.

Drawing on his deep, extensive knowledge of Hollywood and film, Eliot contends that the primary driving force behind Wayne's extraordinary career and body of work was the result of his own ambitions and his collaborations with directors John Ford and Howard Hawks. Eliot offers as evidence the distinct personality that runs through Wayne's staggering 169 films, from Stage Coach and The Searchers to The Quiet Man and The Green Berets.

Setting Wayne's life within the sweeping political and social transformations that defined the nation, Eliot's masterly revisionist portrait is a remarkable in-depth look at a life that embodied the spirit of the twentieth century. What emerges is nothing less than a powerful understanding of and appreciation for a true American titan.

Marc Eliot is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed Cary Grant, the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince, and American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood. He writes for a number of publications and frequently speaks about film at universities and to film groups, and on radio and television. He lives in New York City and Woodstock, New York.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 13, 2014 – In this incisive biography, Eliot (American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood) reveals the man behind the on-screen paragon of stoic, all-American manhood: an insecure actor (he would passively bow to the humiliating on-set insults showered on him by his mentor, director John Ford); a husband with mother-in-law issues and messy public divorces; a sex slave of Marlene Dietrich; an assiduous avoider of military service during WWII as he became the movie industry's reigning action hero; and a sometimes guilt-stricken right-wing bully who helped enforce the McCarthy-era blacklist against leftists in the movie industry. Eliot's narrative is briskly paced, with plenty of entertaining show-biz profiles and anecdotes, and not given much to thumb-sucking rumination, but his critical appreciations (and depreciations) of Wayne's movies are pithy and evocative, from the mediocre Blood Alley, which imported Lauren Bacall "to add some romantic relief for the women" who wanted more than to "see Wayne beat up some Commies," to the sublime western The Searchers, in which Wayne displays "deep passion... humanity, great physical strength and endurance, weariness, courage... eerie coldness." Eliot's canny, well-judged study gives us the complexity of Wayne the man and the archetype. Photos.
American Titan
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Nov 04, 2014
  • Publisher: Dey Street Books
  • Print Length: 432 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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