Giving this documentary the title of John Wayne's The Alamo is accurate on so many levels. As the studio system broke down many stars went into the production end of the film business, but no one ever invested as much as the Duke did in making The Alamo. It was a dream he had ever since he acquired his clout at the box office in the Forties. It also was a statement he wanted to make about his love of country and about the 182 men who deliberately made that sacrifice in March of 1836.
He took it all on, producer, director, star as this film demonstrates. And when money fell short he put his own into it, that's how much he believed in the project.
Some of the surviving cast and crew did this film record of their experience in shooting The Alamo. Their recollections of the shoot and working for the Duke are the body of this film. John Wayne was not universally admired by all, no one with his strong views and personality ever could be. But you'd get an argument out of the folks in this film, many of them worked with Wayne many times and on more than The Alamo.
In the end The Alamo was done in by an overzealous and incredibly stupid publicity campaign to take home Oscars in the seven categories it received nominations. It only got an Oscar for Best Sound. Seen years later with a lot of the rancor that campaign inspired you can admire the technical achievements and the beauty of the film about 182 very heroic men.
John Wayne went to his grave disappointed that The Alamo was not as received as he liked. But he was true to his convictions and I'm sure he had faith it would be recognized as a great cinema achievement. As well it should.
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