Rio Grande (John Ford, 1950)
The last chapter in John Ford's moderately pleasant, generally uninspired and intensely romanticised Cavalry trilogy. This one's as much about commander John Wayne and his boys suppressing them nasty Injuns as it is about Wayne rebuilding his broken marriage to Dixie-blooded Maureen O'Hara and learning to bond with his estranged son. Wayne is adequate but the rest of the performances range from grating (Victor McLaglen's 147th variation on a burly comical Irishman) to clogged-up (O'Hara channelling the Joan Crawford school of cheekbones under pressure) to vacant (the blank-faced runt you're supposed buy as the progeny of O'Hara and the Duke). And though it's clear that Ford is deeply and emotionally invested in his story (there's a sense throughout the movie that somebody's about to break into tears for no tangible reason), you're not necessarily sure why this is.