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Performing Arts History & Criticism

Killing John Wayne

The Making of the Conqueror

by (author) Ryan Uytdewilligen

Lyons Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2021
History & Criticism, 20th Century
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price
    $29.95 USD

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Behold the history of a film so scandalous, so outrageous, so explosive it disappeared from print for over a quarter century! A film so dangerous, half its cast and crew met their demise bringing eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes’ final cinematic vision to life! Starring All-American legend John Wayne in full Fu Manchu make-up as Mongol madman Genghis Khan! Featuring sultry seductress Susan Hayward as his lover! This is the true story of The Conqueror (1956), the worst movie ever made. Filmed during the dark underbelly of the 1950s—the Cold War—when nuclear testing in desolate southwestern landscapes was a must for survival, the very same landscapes were where exotic stories set in faraway lands could be made. Just 153 miles from the St. George, Utah, set, nuclear bombs were detonated regularly at Yucca Flat and Frenchman Flat in Nevada, providing a bizarre and possibly deadly background to an already surreal moment in cinema history. This book tells the full story of the making of The Conqueror, its ignominious aftermath, and the radiation induced cancer that may have killed John Wayne and many others.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Ryan Uytdewilligen attended Lethbridge College in Alberta and earned a degree in Broadcast Journalism, leading to work in radio anchoring, reporting, and media coordinating for the prestigious Vancouver International Film Festival. After writing-producing his first short film, Tea Time (2014), he optioned two feature film scripts and has worked as a script doctor/writer for hire. In 2016, he published his first non-fiction work, a film history examination called 101 Most Influential Coming of Age Movies. Ryan currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. He would like to express his sympathy to everyone who lost a loved one that worked on The Conqueror