Screenplay: Frank S. Nugent & Laurence Stallings
Based on the short stories of James Warner Bellah
Executive Producers: Merian C. Cooper & John Ford
Associate Producers: Lowell J. Farrell
Music: Richard Hageman
Cinematographer: Winton C. Hoch
Editor: Jack Murray
Cast: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., Victor McLaglen, Francis Ford
'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,' at Capitol, Stars John Wayne as a Cavalry Captain
In whatever whisps of foliage are left on Director John Ford's head, he wears a yellow ribbon—and, in the spirit of that rousing soldier song, he wears it with pride and affection for the old United States Cavalry. This you can see as plain as daylight and beyond the shadow of a bullet-scarred redoubt in Mr. Ford's grand "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," which came to the Capitol yesterday.
For in this big Technicolored Western Mr. Ford has superbly achieved a vast and composite illustration of all the legends of the frontier cavalryman. He has got the bold and dashing courage, the stout masculine sentiment, the grandeur of rear-guard heroism and the brash bravado of the barrack-room brawl. And, best of all, he has got the brilliant color and vivid detail of those legendary troops as they ranged through the silent "Indian country" and across the magnificent Western plains.
From the moment that Mr. Ford assembles the raw-boned troopers of Company C around the immortal guidon of the Seventh Cavalry at distant Fort Starke, thence to ride forth on perilous mission under Captain Nathan Brittles' firm command, the rifles are held at ready and the scouts are flanked wide on alert, for somewhere out there in the vast plains a Cheyenne dog-party is on the prowl. Custer is dead at the Little Big Horn, the buffalo herds are coming north and someone is making "big medicine" among the strangely emboldened Indian tribes. And Mr. Ford being the admirer of the cavalry that he is, you may be sure that a'plenty happens before the mission is brought to a close.
That plenty includes a brace of brushes with the outriding Indians, a wild thunderstorm on the great plain and an operation upon a wounded man. It also includes a dazzling stampede by whooping troopers through a startled Indian camp and a running romance between a shavetail and the major's beautiful niece. For the nimble scriptwriters, Frank Nugent and Laurence Stallings, scribbled diligently right alongside the bold director—or maybe one jump ahead—in the course of the headlong production of this obviously runaway film. And since they were snatching freely from a James Warner Bellah yarn, they scooped up some heterogeneous details with which the director could work.
And Mr. Ford has employed them to what is usually termed the best effect. His action is crisp and electric. His pictures are bold and beautiful. No one could make a troop of soldiers riding across the western plains look more exciting and romantic than this great director does. No one could get more emotion out of a thundering cavalry charge or an old soldier's farewell departure from the ranks of his comrades than he.
To be sure, he is ably assisted in his achievement by a fine outdoor cast, which boasts the experienced John Wayne in the tough Captain Brittles role. Mr. Wayne, his hair streaked with silver and wearing a dashing mustache, is the absolute image and ideal of the legendary cavalryman. A newcomer named Ben Johnson is likewise vivid as a trooper from the South, and John Agar does very nicely as the lieutenant who loves the girl. The latter is brightly represented by the lovely Joanne Dru, and Midred Natwick is deliciously humorous as a hard-bitten Army wife.
Bulwarked with gay and spirited music and keyed to the colors of the plains, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" is a dilly of a cavalry picture. Yeehooooo!
On the stage at the Capitol are Dick Contino with a variety show, Johnny Mungall and Don Bestor and his orchestra.
Bosley Crowther, NY Times, November 18, 1949
File Name ...................: John Ford - She Wore a Yellow Ribbon .avi
File Size (in bytes) ..........: 1,359,837,184 bytes
Runtime ....................: 01:43:41