When you think of Westerns, you think of John Wayne. John Wayne starred in many hit Western from the 1930's to 1970's, with films like The Searchers, Rio Bravo, True Grit, and Stagecoach. His 1963 film McLintock is another one of The Duke's biggest hits, and is a memorable western.
Meet George Washington McLintock (John Wayne), a cattle baron who owns most of the town of McLintock, but still feels unhappy. He intends to sell off the land to the government when he dies so they can build a national park, but is pestered a lot by old Indian friends, led by Strother Martin, a corrupt land agent named Douglas (Gordon Jones), and the territory governor, Cuthbert H. Humphrey (Robert Lowery).
But his biggest problem comes when his separated wife, Katherine (Maureen O'Hara), returns to town to get a divorce and also await the arrival of their daughter, Rebecca (Stefanie Powers), in order to decide who's keeping custody of her. The rest of the film focuses on Rebecca's struggle with love and McLintock's issues with his wife and the Indians.
Other stars appearing in McLintock include John Wayne's son Patrick as hired hand Devlin Warren, who falls for Rebecca, Jerry Van Dyke (yes, Dick Van Dyke's brother) plays Matt Douglas Jr., the son of the corrupt land agent and also has a crush on Rebecca, and Yvonne de Carlo as Louise Warren, Devlin's mom who works as McLintock's housekeeper and cook and has problems with Katherine.
Now as you probably know, I'm not a huge fan of westerns, but I can still watch them for reviewing purposes. I have no problem with John Wayne. I think he is a talented actor with a sense of toughness and personality to get through an entire picture. While this is not Wayne's superior work, McLintock is an entertaining film nonetheless.
Wayne had no real reason to make this film, it was only because his previous film, The Alamo, was a notorious flop and it cost him lots of money. In order to recoup his losses from that film, Wayne made a simple, easy Western that he knew his fans would enjoy. While I'm not a huge western nut. I must say that I was entertained by it.
First off, this film is funny. And I mean funny. Generally when you think of John Wayne, you think of him as a tough actor with a serious look, Here, he keeps his toughness, but also shows his comedic side as well, and it really surprised me. A serious scene involving a near-killing of an Indian turns into a hilarious brawl down a mud pit, caused by The Duke himself. Another funny sequence involves Wayne smacking Maureen O'Hara with a coal shovel (It sounds abusive, but trust me, it's actually pretty funny). And the funniest scene of all? A drunken Wayne attempting to climb up the stairs of his own house. It's hysterical.
What about the cast? John Wayne, of coarse, is funny tough, and cool. Maureen O'Hara, a longtime collaborator with Wayne, is entertaining and funny. Stefanie Powers is attractive and sassy as the daughter. And the rest of the supporting cast is excellent as well, even Wayne's son. I wasn't particularly fond of Jerry Van Dyke in the film, cause he looked like a cheap imitator of his brother, and his scenes could have been cut, but his scenes doesn't ruin what is otherwise a good film.
And last but not least, there's the score by DeVol, probably best known for his work on The Brady Bunch. DeVol is not one of my favorite composers, mostly due to The Brady Bunch, but his score is surprisingly done well here. His score didn't feel kiddy-kiddy here, like on, you guessed it, The Brady Bunch.
While not perfect, especially with Dick Van Dyke's not-talented brother in the picture and some political scenes that dulled the film a bit, McLintock is an entertaining western, with a good and surprisingly funny performance from John Wayne and some crazy comedic sequences. I only recommend this to diehard John Wayne fans, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless.
"Somebody oughta belt you in the mouth!"