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The surest sign that Mother deserves a holiday all to herself is that you never remember it until the very last minute (if at all!), but she still loves you all the same. This year John Wayne wants you to get your rear in gear and put that card in the mail, hence The Sons of Katie Elder, in which a woman's funeral reunites her scattered brood and sets all manner of Old West mayhem into motion.
Wayne's own uneasy relationship with his mother must have been an inspiration to him in the role of John Elder; the biography John Wayne: American chronicles his desperate attempts to win her approval -- which she withheld even after he became the star of the century.
"Unlike his father," the book states, "Wayne fulfilled his mother's dreams of success, and she never forgave him for it... In Molly's eyes, even his spectacular success was only a prelude to ultimate failure. Until it came-- as she was certain it would, she would continue to remind [Wayne] that he was nothing special."
And yet this was also a woman who refused to watch the end of The Alamo,
unable to bear seeing Wayne's staged death scene. Imagine the thoughts
running through the mind of the 62-year-old Duke on the set as he stood
in front of the fictitious Katie Elder's grave and mourned a mother;
I'm sure that he'd want you to make sure yours is appropriately
remembered come May 11.
The Sons of Katie Elder airs all month. Click here for the full schedule of the movie on AMC.