Leigh Brackett’s Words with John Wayne’s Voice

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Leigh Brackett and Howard Hawks working on Rio Bravo.

Leigh Brackett was one of director Howard Hawks’ favorite screen writers.  They first worked together in 1946 on the Humphrey Bogart film noir The Big Sleep.  And over the years, they partnered on several John Wayne Westerns: Rio BravoRio Lobo, and El Dorado.

Hawks liked Brackett because she “wrote like a man.”  That’s right; a woman wrote lines for the Duke in three films. She also won a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for her novel Follow the Free Wind, based on the life of mountain man Jim Beckwourth.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine, a former managing editor for Western Shooting Horse Magazine and the chief purveyor of ScarletMask Enterprises.