When we think of Directors who helped and helped define the career and screen persona of John Wayne we first think of John Ford, rightly so, and Howard Hawks....and to some extent Raoul Walsh...but did you know how influential Henry Hathaway was to the Duke's career?
In his very enjoyable, very readable and highly informative book on Director Henry Hathaway, author Harold N. Pomainville points out that Hathaway "played a decisive role at critical times in Duke's career. With THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS, he helped consolidate Wayne's star status. NORTH TO ALASKA cushioned the failure of THE ALAMO, by providing Wayne with a much needed commercial success. With THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER, Hathaway resurrected Wayne's invincible image in the wake of the star's cancer surgery. Under Hathaway's sure hand, Wayne delivered an Oscar-winning performance in TRUE GRIT. After he completed ROOSTER COGBURN Wayne confided to Hathaway that he had hoped Henry would ride to the rescue once more."
Wayne wanted Henry to direct ROOSTER COGBURN but at the time Hathaway's relationship with Producer Hal Wallis was at an all time low and when Hathaway found out that Wallis' wife Martha Hyer had written the script under the aka of Martin Julien that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Alas and alack the Duke and Henry were never to work together again.