John Wayne thought co-star ‘arrogant little b***ard’ and kept away from him on Western set
The 26-year-old later said of the two political conservatives: “They laughed and drank and told dirty jokes and slapped each other on the back. They tried to draw me into their circle but I couldn’t go along with them. The machismo thing repelled me because it seemed so forced and unnecessary.”
When filming began, Wayne had serious concerns over Clift being manly enough to play a rugged cowboy character who could stand up to him
The young actor, who was considered one of Hollywood’s original method actors alongside Marlon Brando and James Dean, burned himself on the thigh with a blank cartridge while practising quick draws on the first day.
He was also nervous about standing up to Wayne, but was spurred on by Hawks, who encouraged him to see his scenes with Duke as David and Goliath. The director told Clift to underplay his scenes with Wayne before their first on-screen confrontation.
Red River poster (Image: GETTY)
John Wayne did end up being impressed by Clift’s performance in Red River despite not liking himIn fact, Clift ended up impressing Wayne who, although he did not personally like his co-star, thought he was very effective in Red River in the end. However, the Matt actor was disappointed with the end result when he saw a rough-cut screening of the picture before its delayed release in 1948.
The rising star thought the ending was ludicrous “because Joanne Dru settles it and it makes the showdown between me and John Wayne a farce.”
Despite finding his own performance in the film mediocre he later said: “I watched myself in Red River and knew I was going to be famous, so I decided I would get drunk anonymously one last time.”