Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Stefanie Powers, Patrick Wayne, and John Wayne
MCLINTOCK! (1963). Director: Andrew V. McLaglen.

G. W. McLintock (John Wayne) is a wealthy cattle baron in a homestead awaiting statehood. His snooty estranged wife, Katherine (Maureen O'Hara), comes back into his life when their daughter, Becky (Stefanie Powers), comes home from college and Katherine is horrified to think that she may live with her hard-drinking father and his cronies. Katherine also isn't too crazy about the fact that G.W. has hired a pretty new live-in cook, Louise (Yvonne De Carlo), the mother of handsome new employee Dev (Patrick Wayne), who likes Becky but finds her a little spoiled like her mother. Meanwhile Becky dallies with nerdy Matt (Jerry Van Dyke) while Dev simmers. Will the situation with the battling McLintocks finally boil over or will true love win out in the end? McLintock! is way too long, but it has some funny sequences -- a mud slide and a drunken bit with a staircase -- although the gags are repeated too much and nothing is exactly on the level of the stateroom scene in A Night at the Opera. Still McLintock!  is basically amiable and entertaining, even if it has a very sixties sensibility and a subtext of sissies threatening to ruin the world [as opposed to big, tough John Wayne]. Wayne, already starting his trend toward ossification, is okay, Powers is quite good, O'Hara is very strong as the insufferable but uncompromising Katherine and gives one of her more memorable performances, De Carlo is fun, and Patrick Wayne proves no great actor but is acceptable. An interesting aspect of the picture -- when you consider that Wayne starred in several cliffhanger serials early in his career -- is that two of Wayne's enemies are played by other serial stars, Gordon Jones (The Green Hornet) and Robert Lowery (Batman and Robin). A sub-plot has to do with a contingent of Comanche Indians who are to be taken to a fort for what they see as charity when they only want the freedom to live and die as men. Although the movie seems to be pro-Indian, the social statements don't really fit comfortably into the piece as a whole. Mari Blanchard has a small role as a saloon  gal/hooker who comes afoul of Katherine.

Verdict: Not exactly a classic but one of Wayne's more palatable latter-day movies. **1/2.

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