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The Alamo (1960)

By Jack Purdy | Posted

A funny story from the peace 'n' love era: A friend of mine would invite unsuspecting hippies over to his pad to partake of herb. After the buzz got going, he would say, "Oh, man, there's this great record you gotta hear." When the needle hit the groove, the unmistakable voice of John Wayne would boom from the speakers, declaring, to the strains of Dmitri Tiomkin's soaring music, "Freedom? I just like the sound of the word." My buddy would shake his head and mutter "Yes, yes," grooving as the Duke waxed patriotic for what seemed like hours while his guests stared at him in frightened befuddlement. The record was the soundtrack to The Alamo, produced and directed by John Wayne and starring Wayne as Davy Crockett, with Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie, Richard Boone as Sam Houston, and a spectacularly miscast Laurence Harvey as South Carolina-born Alamo commander William Barret Travis. Plus, to draw the hep young folk, teen idol Frankie Avalon as "Smitty." Well-executed action scenes and contributions by sly character actors Chill Wills, Denver Pyle, and Ken Curtis keep Wayne's lengthy account of the siege that birthed Texas watchable. But the unrelenting jingoism is still best experienced while stoned.

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