Containing Multitudes Since 2004
I managed to see the "Singin' Sandy" movie a couple of times. The first time was on TBS, and you could hear just how bad it was even though they replaced John Wayne's singing voice with someone whose singing wasn't totally bad. The second time was when Lonestar the "westerns" channel on Canadian digital cable debuted. For some reason, whoever had released this version of the film decided to redub all of John Wayne's dialog with a bad impersonator so he sounded more like the mature Wayne and then, to add considerable insult to injury, used the same guy to redub the songs so that it sounded like the mature John Wayne doing the singing. The words atrocious and travesty do not begin to explain how awesomely awful this was.Viewing any of John Wayne's 'B' output up to a year or two before he did Stagecoach will make you appreciate how much he did grow as an actor and how much further he would grow once he was under the control of directors like John Ford.
Perhaps I have low standards (could be), but I actually like most of the Westerns Wayne made between The Big Trail and that John Ford picture, and I'm especially fond of the series he did for Lone Star (two of which were the Singin' Sandys). For what they were -- short, totally unpretentious Sagebrush melodramas -- they were more than watchable (Archie Stout was usually the cinematographer). Now, obviously the Singin' Sandys are ridiculous (which is probably why they made just two of them) but if you strike out the "There'll be guns a-blazin' . . . " warbles, I don't think they're all that bad.But then . . . you could say I've seen too many Westerns (I wouldn't argue with ye).
Second tier Wayne is lightyears better than practically first tier anyone else. There's a magnitism and event quality to his performances, much like those of Joan Crawford or Bette Davis. Even when the material is less than stellar, these artists managed to elevate their craft into the artistic forum that remains memorable, swift and sure - even as the hours of time move further away from their setting suns.
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