TSPDT Greatest Films #437 She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (John Ford, 1949)
She Wore A Yellow Ribbon is the second part of John Ford's cavalery trilogy along with Fort Apache and Rio Grande. Many Ford regulars play it this collective Fordian classic: John Wayne, Harry Carey Jr., Ben Johnson, John Agar. The collective cast of Ford would have been complete with Ward Bond and Maureen O'Hara, just kidding 'though.
Captain Nathan Brittles (John Wayne) takes one last patrol before his retirement. This last assignment is perilous first because Indians are abonding on their way, and second because they have women aboard. His dearest wish is to make peace with the Indians and accomplish to safer the territory. This is a very Fordian film, with the collective effort of the cavalry, the Monument Valley as the background, the regular actors, and the drunk characters. It also has the typical comedic elements many Ford films present and the strong interactions between male characters, as picking each other in a very manish and friendly way. John Wayne, plays a character 20 years older than he actually is and he succeeds to make us believe in him and he is even crying a little (only time I 've seen this big log cry in a film). This is another film that extend Ford's dialogue with Cinema with his recurring auteuristic themes: the collectivity working together in an effort to create a better world for tomorrow. In She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, the world of tomorrow is today's America that the couple created in the film will build with their children and grand children. Capt. Brittles is the father figure that manages and overview with his wisdom like the old man in the Indian tribe.
Despite its annoying trumpets and saturated techinicolor, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon is one of John Ford most characteristic film. It reflects the ensemble of his rich and long oeuvre.