Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Stefanie Powers
Since it’s my first new year since beginning my blog, I’ve decided to embrace the opportunity to start a review series. In an entirely unoriginal development, I’ve gone for the simple gimmick of a new year every week. This means that every Tuesday (hopefully) I’ll put up a new review from a consecutive year, beginning 51 years ago in 1963 and finishing up with 2014 in the last week of the year. I’m going to aim for the pattern of film, album, film, book, because I like patterns.
It was originally quite a shock to me to realise that going back 52 years only got me to the early ‘60s; I had got the idea in my head that this was going to give me the opportunity to look a little farther back than I usually do, but 1963 is entirely within my usual realm. In fact if anything it will have the opposite effect by making me read more modern books than I’ve been acquainting myself with recently.
Before having a look around to see if any of 1963’s cinematic offerings particularly caught my eye, I thought I ought to look in my mobile DVD collection just to check if there was anything suitable there, and I was surprised to be offered a solution: McLintock! (their exclamation, certainly not mine). I bought this on a whim some time last year, almost entirely because, as the sticker still on the front reminded me, it only cost 25p (making it one of the cheapest films in my collection). Surely anything could live up to that?
It says a lot about my enjoyment of this film that I only watched it yesterday and I’ve forgotten most of it today. McLintock(!) is a “comedy western”; the tale of the titular rancher GW (Wayne), battling his recently-returned estranged wife Katherine (O’Hara) for the custody of his also-recently-returned daughter (Powers), while daughter Becky falls in love with Dev (Patrick Wayne), son of McLintock(!)’s recently-hired widow cook Louise (Yvonne de Carlo). GW, apparently of a belligerent personality, also gets himself involved in scuffles between the government and the local Comanche Indians, generally not afraid to get in the way of a fist (or swing his own). In the end for some reason McLintock(!) delivers his wife a public paddling, which not only did she apparently deserve for not liking him, but seems to have been successful in making her like him again.
It’s safe to say I wasn’t particularly impressed by this film, and I’m a little disappointed that it’s destined to be the beginning of my maiden series of reviews. Aside from the mostly boring plot, the picture quality was barely VHS standard while a nice manageable 90 minute film (according to the DVD case) for some reason kept running for over 2 hours (I’ve made it clear before I don’t like it when boxes lie to me). It marks my first ever John Wayne film, and maybe it’s not a good example but I won’t be rushing back in a hurry. To be fair I’ve never really gotten on all that well with (true) Westerns, and a film like this only goes to reaffirm that belief. I’ll keep trying, but I don’t have high hopes.
My rating: 5/10