I never knew that the 50th anniversary of this epic picture has come and gone. I never knew that the celebration was coming and was never in a position to properly celebrate it regardless. Dan Gagliasso writes thus.
The other weekend in San Antonio over 600 people gathered for the 50th anniversary re-premiere and celebration of one of the great American-themed epics of the early 1960s, John Wayne’s The Alamo. People came from far and wide to watch a director’s cut of the film on the River Center Imax screen and attend a dinner, concert and museum exhibit at the real Alamo featuring costumes, props and art work from this 1960 classic.
Seeing The Alamo on a big screen where it was meant to be experienced really emphasizes the powerful imagery that has helped this film endure for fifty years. Wayne’s Alamo defenders are as one biographer described, “…an undisciplined group of rugged individualist from Tennessee and Texas who love freedom and resent authority.” Sounds like a bunch of lovable Tea Party members to me. That innately American sense of unbridled freedom celebrated in The Alamo is one of the reasons the film still resonates so well with so many people here and even abroad.
Made during the heyday of widescreen roadshow epics like El Cid and Lawrence of Arabia, Wayne’s film has always been a highly popular DVD title for the financially ailing MGM/UA. The biggest movie star ever, Wayne directed, produced and starred in this uniquely American story. Nominated for seven Academy Awards, contrary to unsubstantiated claims of box-office failure the film was actually one of the top ten domestic grosser of 1960-61, but The Alamo’s then huge $12,000,000 budget initially cut into its profit margin and could have bankrupted Wayne. The film set box-office records in London, Paris, Rome and Japan eventually earning a then $28,000,000 world-wide during its initial 1960-61 release.
Unfortunately Wayne sold United Artists his participation in the future profits of the film. He so believed in the power of the Alamo story that he had mortgaged his own home, other real estate and even his family cars and reluctantly agreed to star in the epic in order to bring it to the screen his way. At the time Wayne told the press, “I’ve gambled everything I own in this picture – all my money… and my soul.”
I love this movie.
I never knew that as the film was originally (and successfully) composed there was a roadshow version and a theatrical version and I did not know that my VHS and DVD copies of this masterpiece were not the originally intended versions of either film.
John Wayne says
Our damned liberal friends are screaming about violence to take our minds off of the pornographic bad taste that is being made in the motion picture business by their confreres.
I might never have seen the movie as it was intended to be presented. If Robert A. Harris has his way I just might. He is working on restoring the film but not that the original film was damaged as a natural result of the fact these sorts of wonderful product were not created at the time to be preserved in and of itself in its original format in the original form. Although doing so might be work on the scale of literally reversing old age.