powered by AFI
An offscreen narrator provides commentary intermittently throughout the film. In the onscreen credits, technical advisor Maj. Philip J. Kieffer's credit reads as "Major Philip Kieffer U.S.A., Retd." In addition to "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," the traditional song "The Girl I Left Behind Me" is also heard in part in the film. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon was the second film in John Ford's "cavalry" trilogy, and the only one to be shot in color. Hollywood Reporter news items add the following information about the production: In August 1948, Argosy Pictures was negotiating for Charles Bickford to play the film's lead. As with Ford's previous cavalry film, Fort Apache, most of the picture was shot in Monument Valley in southern Utah and northeastern Arizona. Harold von Schmidt, an illustrator for The Saturday Evening Post, was hired to do "special advertising" illustrations for the picture. Modern sources add the following information about the film: James Warner Bellah worked on the original screen adaptation of his short stories. After Bellah, Laurence Stallings was brought in to improve the script's pacing, structure and dialogue. In addition to expanding certain moments from the short stories, Stallings developed the romantic sub-plot between "Olivia" and the two lieutenants. Frank Nugent was then hired to polish the script.
The film was budgeted at $1,851,290, $40,000 less than Fort Apache, and because of Ford's familiarity with the Monument Valley area, it was completed after only thirty-one days of shooting and was brought in almost $500,000 under budget. In a modern interview, Ford notes that he and photographer Winton Hoch attempted to duplicate the style of Frederic Remington's western paintings in their screen images. During production, Hoch filed a formal protest with the American Society of Cinematographers, complaining that a scene that Ford ordered him to shoot during a desert storm was not acceptable to him. Hoch won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Color) for his work on this film, and despite his differences with Ford during the production, went on to shoot other notable pictures for him, including The Quiet Man and The Searchers. Modern sources credit Barbara Ford (Ford's daughter) as assistant editor and add Paul Fix and Dan White to the cast. For more information on Ford's cavalry trilogy, for Fort Apache. John Wayne reprised his role in a March 12, 1951 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, co-starring Mel Ferrer.