Review by Michael Jacobson
John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers, Yvonne De
Director: Andrew V. McLagen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Mono
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Features: See Review
Length: 127 Minutes
Release Date: October 11, 2005
say it's a fine morning, or I'll shoot you."
many faces represent American movies the way John Wayne's does.
From westerns to war films and back again, the Duke personified the
American male...rough, tough, rugged, loyal, and unapologetic.
The ladies loved him, and the lads wanted to BE him.
enough, despite his indelible catalog of film classics, one of his most
sought-after titles was a comedy. For
many years, McLintock lay in recluse in some vault in the Wayne family
estate, while fans eagerly queried day after day: when would it come to video?
I remember it well...I managed a video store back when, and I seriously
doubt that a day ever went by without somebody asking about McLintock.
with the VHS version on the shelves, the question inevitably turned to,
"when will it be on DVD?" Paramount
has answered that inquiry, not just with the title itself, but with a fantastic
looking and packaged disc that will have fans head over heels with joy.
More on that further down.
easy to see why Wayne fans love McLintock.
This is a big, bawdy, crowd-pleaser of a film that returned Wayne to
his western roots, but with a comic twist.
It's kind of a loose take on The Taming of the Shrew, but with
energy and laughs owing less to the Bard than to the Duke.
plays the title character, George Washington "G.W." McLintock.
He's a prosperous cattle baron with a bit of a problem...namely, his wife
Catherine (the luminous O'Hara). They've
been estranged for awhile, and during that time, she went off and got
"citified", taking on highbrow manners and an elitism that doesn't fit
well in the country. She returns to
seek divorce, while welcoming home their daughter Becky (Powers) from school.
the meantime, McLintock hires a family of farmers who lost their homestead, and
his new ranch hand Devlin (Patrick Wayne, John's son) can't help but take a
liking to Becky, who turned out nearly as erudite as her mother.
Meanwhile, Devlin's mother (the radiant De Carlo) seems like a good match
for G.W., much to the displeasure of Catherine, who maybe not so willing to let
go of her man after all!
film manages to touch on a couple of serious social themes amidst the
laughter...namely, racism and class structure.
McLintock becomes involved on the side of some Indians in a dispute that
threatens to dispel them from their land, and also helps ease the tensions
between the "lofty" cattleman and the "lowly" farmers.
But don't get the idea anything heavy-handed is at play here.
These are moments that help define the characters, so we can enjoy
laughing with them more down the line.
big centerpiece is an all out brawl around and in a giant mud hole, with some
great group fighting and hilarious slapstick.
Word is that even John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara wanted in on the fun, so
look for them to do a messy stunt or two of their own!
has always been one of my favorite Duke films, mainly because it showcases a
side of him I don't think we got to see very often, which was his sense of
humor. Sure, there was always a
touch of it in many of his pictures, but never to the level of fun and hilarity
as in this movie. With McLintock,
John Wayne showed he was more than a leading man, a solider, a cowboy or an
Oscar-winning actor. He could play
comedy with the best of them. The
fact that fans clamored for years to get their hands on this movie is proof
stunning...I would have never believed a classic film could look so good, but
Paramount pulled out all the stops with this DVD release.
This was my first chance to see the movie in widescreen, which was a
treat in and of itself, but I was totally unprepared for how gorgeous the
transfer was from start to finish. The
colors are vibrant, lovely and natural looking, and leap of the screen with a
splendor like never before. Light
to dark scenes show equal integrity and sharpness with no bleeding, softness or
compression interference. The print
itself has been cleaned up nicely, with hardly a speck or spot to show for its
40 year plus age. Simply glorious.
new 5.1 mix awaits the adventurous, or for the more cautious, the original mono
is included as well. The Dolby
Digital offering is well done; not too extreme, but tasteful in making a few of
the bigger scenes sound more boisterous. The
music by Frank DeVol is the biggest benefactor; his tunes and score sound better
than ever. Nicely done.
that hog leg, folks...we've got a loaded disc here. Critic Leonard Maltin introduces the film, as well as taking
part in the commentary with Frank Thompson.
Their thoughts are lively and joyful, and are intercut with comments from
Maureen O'Hara, Stefanie Powers, Michael Pate, Andrew McLagen and the late
Michael Wayne (producer). It's a
listen almost as fun as the movie itself.
featurettes are included, starting with one on Michael Wayne and the Batjac
production company. There are also
remembrances from O'Hara and Powers (both as lovely as ever), a look at the big
fight scene, and even a take on the history of the corset (in which Ms. O'Hara
looked extremely divine...yum).
is a "fight school" lesson, a photo gallery, and a couple of trailers
to round out. An outstanding