Sunday, September 4, 2011


There are many positive reviews of McLintock! but looking through the lens of 2011, I have a different view of the movie, which stars John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Since I had visited Old Tucson Studios while on vacation in August, where this 1963 Western was filmed and where one building used in the movie remains, I was eager to see McLintock!.

However, I was sorely disappointed. Theoretically, the plot sounds good: A prim and proper wife—she prefers Katharine but he likes to call her Katie--wants a divorce from her ranch-owning husband—George Washington McLintock, or GW. Their daughter (played by Stephanie Powers), returning from school in the East, finds herself in a tug-of-war between her parents, who both want her to live with them.

The girl, called Rebecca by her mother and Becky by her father, finds herself the romantic object of very different types of men and McLintock!s subplot involves what she does about them. Unfortunately, many of the actors overact their roles, especially Maureen O’Hara, who actually makes Mrs. Fielding in Six Strangers in Apache Springs look good. In addition, several scenes go on much too long, especially the fight scenes and the chase scene at the end of the movie.

There are scenes with Indians and a Chinese cook, which seem to me to be stereotyping those ethnic groups. On the other hand, it is surprising to hear John Wayne’s character, the eponymous McLintock, refer to the Indians in a positive manner and to take their side in a dispute with the Army. One amusing point: McLintock! at one point refers to the Indians as Comanches but I heard them speaking Navajo!

Chill Wills (a rancher in The Biggest Game in the West) also appears in McLintock!. As a sidekick to John Wayne’s character. He does a decent job with his role but is given some silly things to say and do, just like all the other characters. Leo Gordon (Ebenezer in Smiler with a Gun) also has a supporting role in this movie. The word “insane” is frequently used, which reminded me of Louise Carson saying it in Everything Else You Can Steal.

An introduction by Leonard Maltin situates McLintock! in the context of Wayne’s other work and states that it is a take-off of The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare which, since I have not read that particular play, I had not known. I suspect the source material is much better than this remake! There are a few bonus features: one describes the work Michael Wayne, John’s son, did as a producer of McLintock! and many other films; the second bonus feature interviews Maureen O’Hara and Stephanie Powers about their recollections of the movie and working with John Wayne; and the third describes the stunt work done on the movie. There is also an audio commentary that accompanies the movie but I could not bring myself to listen to it even though many people associated with the making of the McLintock! contributed to it.

As a comedy, the slapstick did not work for me at all. At 127 minutes, McLintock! dragged and I was very glad when it finally and predictably came to an end.