John Wayne’s brutal put down of Clark Gable in bitter row: ‘Expressly forbidden!’


The film currently holds an impressive 98 percent positive rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, and is among many directors’ favourite westerns.

The website notes: “Rio Bravo finds director Howard Hawks – and his stellar ensemble cast – working at peak performance, and the end result is a towering classic of the Western genre.”

Quentin Tarantino, the director behind acclaimed productions such as Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction, also praised the blockbuster, describing it as his “favourite ‘hangout’ film”.

Such was his enthusiasm for it, the director even once claimed if some he dated did not like it, the relationship would effectively be ended.

Wayne has an impressive filmography backlog, and while fans across the world devoured the flicks he has starred in, those he shared the screen with often did not.

The star, who passed away in 1979 aged 72, recalled a number of his celebrity feuds in conversations with his daughter Aissa.

Writing in 1991’s ‘John Wayne: My Father’, Aissa spoke of a particular row between Gone with the Wind star Clark Gable, after he had a falling out with Wayne’s long-time collaborator John Ford.

She wrote: “My dad called Gable handsome but dumb at least four or five times, and now I wonder if it had something to do with my father’s friend, John Ford.

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“During the filming of Mogambo, Ford and Gable had clashed again and again and the subsequent feud had simmered for years. In my father’s way of thinking, disloyalty to allies, support in any fashion for their enemies, was expressly forbidden.

“If Clark Gable took on John Ford, my father’s code demanded that John Wayne stand by his old pal.”

He even described Gable as “extremely handsome in person” but one who was ultimately an “idiot”.

Another of Wayne’s rivals was Gene Hackman, a double Oscar winner who is among Hollywood’s biggest box office draws.

John Wayne is among the biggest stars Hollywood has ever seen

John Wayne is among the biggest stars Hollywood has ever seen (Image: GETTY)

Such was his fury at Hackman, Wayne even claimed the legend was among the worst actors to take on Tinsel Town.

Aissa wrote: “When it came to his contemporaries in film, I only heard him speak once with any real venom.

“Gene Hackman could never appear on-screen without my father skewering his performance.

“I wish I could tell you why he so harshly criticised Hackman, but he never went into detail.

John Wayne

John Wayne (Image: GETTY)

“Although it’s pure speculation, had my father lived to see more of his work, I think his view of Mr Hackman would have changed.

“Back then, however, my father called Hackman ‘the worst actor in town. He’s awful’.”

Hackman earned critical acclaim throughout his long career in Hollywood, including claiming two Academy Award wins, for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, in The French Connection and Unforgiven respectively.

Wayne won his sole Oscar for Best Actor in True Grit, and was nominated for the first time in 1950, for his role in Sands of Iwo Jima.

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