Doc directs Books to a boarding house owned by Bond Rogers, a widow who lives with her teenaged son, Gillom. I obviously could not get past the change in the main character. Gillom takes Books' pistols and goes on a new adventure when he leaves El Paso. The Shootist is one of the greatest Westerns ever made, although it is rarely named as such. If you love the fantasy genre, this is the season for you! Books smiles, nods approval at Gillom's decision, and dies. B. Books’s widow. “I’m a dying man scared of the dark,” he tells Bond, after killing a trio of would-be assassins in his room. And the movie's final scene, in which Gillom Rogers symbolically steps into the Shootist's boots, is just a little too neat to be real. It turns out that she has been offered a deal to have a book written in her name—or, rather, in the name of J. Her kid, Gillom, contracts a case of hero worship even while trying to swindle the Shootist out of his horse. She is unaware of the reputation of her houseguest, who in self-parody tells her he is William Hickok, United States marshal of Abilene, Kansas; however, her son knows that Hickok has been dead for more than two decades, and he recognizes the famous custom-made .44 Remingtons carried by the legendary shootist J. What is the significance of the newspaper stories that Books reads? Books orders a drink and raises a toast to his birthday and his three "guests". The Undertaker offers a free funeral, free tombstone, free casket, free flowers, even two mourners thrown in at no extra charge. Proper, God-fearing Bond is more than a match for Books’ prickliness, and the two eventually develop a mutual understanding. As the word spreads that Books is in El Paso and that he is a dying man, he is plagued by parasites and reputation hunters.  Nonetheless, following the release of The Shootist, Wayne appeared in a television public service announcement for the American Cancer Society that began with the scene in which Wayne's character is informed of his cancer. And it was his final film. And so he rides, the Shootist, into a Carson City to which the Old West has become an embarrassment. And observe the way John Wayne says "Good day, Mrs. Rogers" to Lauren Bacall for the last time. It'll do fine. © 2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism. The Sheriff is almost cheerful at the prospect of Books's approaching end. (Clint Eastwood’s role was initially offered to Frank Sinatra, who turned it down because of a broken arm; John Wayne was the second choice, and he rejected the offer for that reason.) Aging gunfighter John Bernard "J.B." Books arrives in Carson City, Nevada on the same date as Queen Victoria's death: January 22, 1901. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. And its Wayne’s performance, and the performances of some of the surrounding characters (Howard, Richard Boone, Harry Morgan, and Sheree North) that make The Shootist, not the classic it wants to be, but memorable nonetheless. And he does it all with equal confidence and success, giving readers a wonderful ride once again into the Western lands that all Swarthout writers know so well—and love to share with all of us. It marked John Wayne's final film role. While filming the scene in the doctor's office, both Stewart and Wayne repeatedly muffed their lines over a long series of takes, until director Don Siegel finally pleaded with them to try harder. What is Manifest Destiny but cover for and vindication of the continued dislocation, subjugation, and extermination of people deemed too dark and too savage—too inhuman—to deserve liberty. Just finished reading the shootist and checked out the film.. The Widow Rogers is appalled at first to have a killer as her paying guest, but an affection and respect grows up between them. Westerns probably have to end along these lines with confrontations and gunfire and heroism, but The Shootist will be remembered for the quieter scenes that came before. James Stewart had not worked in films for a number of years, due in part to a severe hearing impairment, but he accepted the role as a favor to Wayne. The dying gunman lived his last days boarding in their home, and young Rogers, with the deadly pistols in his possession after Books’ death, can only visualize his life ahead as a shootist on the gunfighter’s trail. In the book and original screenplay, Jack Pulford was shot in the back by Books, and a fatally wounded Books, in turn, was put out of his misery by Gillom; Wayne maintained that over his entire film career, he had never shot an adversary in the back and would not do so now. Shepherd, Slatzer, & Grayson (2002), p. 306. Great wrap up.  The film was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA film award, and a Writers Guild of America award. You and I can disagree with someone, but why do they have to be labeled a racist? And Wayne, as Books, occupies the substantial center of the film. Hostetler steers him over to a boarding house run by the Widow Rogers, who shows him a two-dollar room. Well written. Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times ranked The Shootist number 10 on his list of the 10 best films of 1976. ", Also in 2008, the American Film Institute nominated this film for its Top 10 Western Films list. CIFF 2020: Black Perspectives Program Highlights Diverse Voices, CIFF 2020: The Roger Ebert Award Returns to Champion New Voices, Immerse Yourself in Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project #3. Like Books, he could not satisfy the requirements of the credo he claimed to live by: both men quite brazenly wronged, insulted, and laid hands on people who had done them no harm, and both men got what they deserved: for Books, a violent death at the point of a gun; for Wayne, a legacy beyond repair. Thibido orders Books to leave town until Books says he will die soon. Others sniff out the news in short order: the opportunistic Marshal (Harry Morgan) who can’t wait for Books to die and tells him so; a shifty reporter (Richard Lenz) who proposes to write a series of articles embellishing Books’ life; an ex-girlfriend (Sheree North) who wants to marry Books and get rich off his name; the undertaker (John Carradine) who tries to sell him a burial and grave “befitting [his] status”; and, of course, young guns shooting for the title, and old enemies with a score to settle.
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