Actor John Wayne had an impossible time working with his Hondo co-star, Geraldine Page. Part of it was a result of poor circumstances in his professional life, but it also had to do with some personal issues. However, Wayne also couldn’t stand working with Page because he found it near impossible to kiss her, which was required for the part. Therefore, he decided that the only course of action was to hold his breath during the kissing scenes to keep from puking.
‘Hondo’ actor John Wayne wrote angry letters to Warner Bros.
Hondo tells the story of an Army dispatch rider named Hondo Lane (Wayne). He comes across a woman (Page) and her young son (Lee Aaker) who are living in the midst of a battle with Apaches. However, Hondo doesn’t feel right leaving them there defenseless, so he agrees to become their protector.
Carolyn McGivern’s John Wayne: A Giant Shadow explained how filming Hondo in 3D was an incredibly challenging task for the cast and crew. The equipment frequently broke down, and Wayne didn’t like director John Farrow. To make matters worse, he was separated from his wife, Pilar , which put him in a particularly “irritable” mood.
Wayne decided to aim his frustrations at Warner Bros . because they kept threatening him with a breach of contract for not returning one of their cameras. In retaliation, he threatened to cancel his 10-picture deal and refuse to work with them again. They ultimately allowed him to keep the cameras for longer.
John Wayne said he nearly puked on Geraldine Page in ‘Hondo’ kissing scenes
Hondo co-stars Wayne and Page couldn’t have had more clashing personalities and world perspectives. He certainly didn’t hide his frustrations with her, even though he originally cast her in the role himself. However, the actor was shocked when he saw that she had “terrible teeth” that looked like “she had never heard of toothpaste.” As a result, he forced her to go off to the dentist before continuing with the movie.
Mary St. John, Wayne’s confidante, slammed both Page’s morals and personal hygiene. “Do you want to know how bad she smelled?,” John said. “Page did not have the best morals in the world, and hard-up stunt men were seen stumbling out of her room every morning, but even Ward Bond wouldn’t take advantage of her availability. That’s how bad she smelled.”
Wayne finally couldn’t stand it when the script called for scenes that required him to kiss her.
“Jesus Christ, I’m afraid I might puke the next time I have to kiss her,” Wayne said. “Maybe if I hold my breath it won’t be so bad.”
Geraldine Page had nothing but kind things to say about the Duke
McGivern confirmed that Wayne still left a positive impression on his Hondo co-star. She said that she “loved him” and that his charm was simply undeniable.
“He is a fantastic, fantastic man,” Page said. “He’s an enormous man. I have never encountered another man quite as big, rugged, strong, loud, critical, mean, short-tempered, quick to seek forgiveness, and even quicker to give it, profane, intelligent, or supremely gifted. He has an irresistible charisma. I love him and would do anything for him. The best thing about him is that he will scream himself hoarse and then suddenly apologize and seek forgiveness.”