John Wayne took on Davy Crockett’s coonskin cap and directorial duties for this epic take on the famed Texas battle. The film’s nearly three hours are stuffed with showy vistas, corny speeches and static battle scenes in which size seems to be the only thing that matters. The result was seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, but the picture still can’t overcome the central difficulty of this story: What to do with all that screen time while waiting for the Mexican army to attack. Wayne throws in an ill-advised romance for Crockett, as well as
equally inappropriate comic relief. At least he brings his inimitable charisma to the film, telling one talkative soldier early on, ‘Let’s wet our whistles. Words are dusty.’ Mired in too much talky self-importance, so is the film.