Hondo is so "perfect" a John Ford western that many people assume it was directed by John Ford--or at the very least, Andrew McLaglen. Actually the director was suspense expert John Farrow, who worked with the "Duke" only twice in his career (the second film was an oddball war drama, The Sea Chase ). In Hondo, John Wayne plays a hard-bitten cavalry scout who is humanized by frontierswoman Geraldine Page and her young son (Lee Aaker, star of TV's Rin Tin Tin). Try as he might, Wayne can't convince Page to move off her land in anticipation of an Apache attack. He leaves her ranch, only to be ambushed by desperado Leo Gordon--who happens to be Page's long-absent husband. Having killed Gordon, Hondo returns to the ranch to protect Page from the Indians, and to rekindle the woman's hesitant love for him. The climactic attack sequence is enhanced by Hondo's 3-D photography, one of the few truly effective utilizations of this much-maligned process. Long unavailable thanks to the labyrinthine legal tangles of the John Wayne estate, Hondo was finally released to videotape in the early 1990s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Hondo
Stands out as one of Wayne's best-remembered features, a smooth Western co-produced by Wayne and shot at the tail end of the '50s 3-D craze. [Blu-ray]
...an intelligent yet thrilling film, long on talk but with sufficient derring-do to satisfy most fans of the Western genre.
Directed by John Farrow in 3-D, this Western resembles George Stevens' Shane (released few months earlier), based on the premise that to become a real man every boy needs a father (biological or surrogate); the film marks Geraldine Page's screen debut
Aside from the films of Howard Hawks and John Ford, this is arguably John Wayne's best and most beloved Western
Audience Reviews for Hondo
A different kind of John Wayne Western, one where the lines between good and evil aren't as simplistic or cartoony. Based on a Louis L'Amour novel and directed by John Farrow (Mia's dad), this is aided by the early 3-D filming process, making for gorgeous viewing, and Geraldine Page's film debut, who brings an earthy charm to the proceedings, and out of the Duke himself.More
I haven't seen many of John Wayne's movies, but I would imagine that most of his are like this. John is the good guy, but the movie can't decide if the natives are the bad guys or the soldiers are. What is different about this movie to many other westerns is that a lot of emphasis is on how significant a father's influence is in raising a son. If you like Westerns, or you like John Wayne, watch this movie.More
A fun movie showcasing John Wayne as an incredibly cool human being. The plot's straight-forward and the characters make sense. Even if it lacks visual magnificence, it's still extremely good and undeniably entertaining. It stands out as an early type of straight action movie, any fan of Shane should also see this to realize this movie accomplished the same thing years before.More
On a remote ranch in the heart of Apache territory, a U.S. cavalry dispatch rider (John Wayne) befriends a mother (Geraldine Page) and her young son, falling in love with the former and becoming idolised by the latter. However, he harbours a guilty secret, having killed the pair's absent, good-for-nothing paterfamilias in an act of self-defence. Meanwhile, treacherous palefaces have rescinded a treaty with the Apaches, setting them on the warpath. In certain respects, "Hondo" feels like Wayne's answer to "Shane", though it's sufficiently different and well enough crafted to be enjoyed as a lovely little western, in its own right. The sight of John Wayne sharing substitute parenting duties with an Apache chief was novel enough to make me overlook any 'join-the-dots' plotting. Originally shot in 3-D, the film contains a few awkward relics of that process, most noticeably the blocky opening titles, an unintentionally funny knife-fight and the occasional arrow or spear aimed squarely between the viewer's eyes. Page and Wayne give excellent performances, and director John Farrow handles the romantic aspect of the plot with aplomb, but the Apache uprising and most of the action scenes are very flat and pedestrian. The main problem I had with "Hondo", however, was that it wanted to have its cake and eat it, too. For most of its running time the film is surprisingly generous toward the Apaches, but the greedily inserted wagon train attack - which conveniently turns the young lad off being an honorary Apache, reasserting Wayne as his male role model - undoes much of the good that has gone before.More
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