"That dog don't take to pettin, son." "A man oughta do what he thinks is right."
Hondo comes walking out of the desert with his dog and into the lives of a woman and her son. Hondo is half Native American and feels compelled to protect the family when their lives are on the line and under the attack of a local Apache tribe. Can one man stop the Indian tribe or will his efforts fall short and lead to the dramatic fall of the family?
"I can't swim."
"Everyone can swim. Just reach out and grab a handful of water."
John Farrow, director of The Hitler Gang, Reno, Sorority House, China, California, The Unholy Wife, A Bullet is Waiting, and Copper Canyon, delivers Hondo. The storyline for this picture is entertaining to watch unfold but isn't a classic western and wasn't as compelling as it could have been. The acting is okay and the cast includes John Wayne, Geraldine Page, James Arness, Paul Fix, Michael Pate, and Ward Bond.
"Everybody gets dead. It was his turn."
I watched this randomly off Netflix primarily because this month was its last month it was going to be available online. It was very average and fairly disappointing. This is a slightly above average picture but far from a classic western.
"You let mommy do the talking."
That's the problem with these old westerns - the actresses play one part, the part of the woman, who serves on purpose - to humanize... I can't help but think how much better these movies would be, if the female took a bullet to the face 5 minutes in.
all in all a good movie.
And I think it's a good one, in spite of it being so basic and somewhat lightweight. It's a very simple story, but one that's reasonably well told and not milked for melodrama, as it could have been. There are scenes that go there, but for the most part, the story is about these characters, with some battles and drama interspersed to make it interesting. Once again, I'm reminded of Gene Siskel's statement that it's really not that hard to make a good movie, and this one is interesting because it shows the American inner conflict about how they treated the Native Americans. Hondo himself lived with the Natives, and had a Native wife, so he doesn't hate them, but knows that ultimately America is his "team", as they put it in South Park's episode about terrorism. The Oedipus-like twist of Hondo killing the husband is a nice touch that gives this story a little more power, the cinematography is very good, and his romance with Page's character and his father figure role with little boy are quite moving. A nice, little film, underscoring why John Wayne was a master of all aspects of the Western hero. B+