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McLintock! (1963)

Wayne's first venture back into production after the financial upset of The Alamo was the broad Western comedy McLintock!, a screen original by James Edward Grant. It was a close-knit enterprise with Wayne's son Michael functioning as producer, his brother Robert working as the production supervisor, his son Patrick heading the supporting cast and daughter Aissa featured lower down. William Clothier handled the camerawork as he had on The Alamo and Wayne's recent Ford pictures. The players also included some old working partners: Maureen O'Hara, Chuck Roberson (a skilled stuntman rider and bit player), Edgar Buchanan, and Hank Worden. The gamble in an otherwise safe commercial bet was the entrusting of the direction to Victor McLaglen's son, Andrew, who had first worked for Wayne's production companies as the assistant director of Big Jim McLain (1952), Island in the Sky (1953), The High and the Mighty (1954), Blood Alley (1955), later coproduced Seven Men from Now (1956) and directed Gun the Man Down (1956) and Man in the Vault (1956) for Wayne, and had then directed some small pictures elsewhere. - McLintock! put McLaglen in the big league, although it was his next film Shenandoah (1965) that enabled him to make his mark with the critics.

Wayne's George Washington McLintock is the man who carved an empire out of a wilderness, fighting off Indians and earning their respect. Miner, timber baron, cattle king, he has had the town named after him and he more or less rules it, dispensing a helping hand to those who need it and poking fun (and fists) at those who don't measure up to his standards of conduct. He plans to leave almost all his property to the nation to become a national park and in effect defends the possession of wealth as long as it is in the hands of responsible people imbued with good neighborliness. Nothing comes free, though: when Wayne gives a badly needed job to Dev Warren (Patrick Wayne), he cuts off the latter's expression of gratitude by telling him he'll earn his wages, they're not a hand-out. The film realizes Wayne's position may seem a little old-fashioned and even allows him to be labelled a "reactionary" which is defined as a person "who wants to sell at a profit." As this label of "reactionary" comes from the college-educated son of a feeble politician, it can be readily dismissed. Wayne here stands in favor of Statehood as a means of disposing of the political appointees who run the Territory neither wisely nor well and it is hard not to see in the name of the Territory's ineffectual Governor, Cuthbert H. Humphrey, a dig at Hubert Humphrey who was far from being one of Wayne's contemporary heroes, out on the left-hand side of the political spectrum. Thus there is really behind the comedy of this film a clear expression of a rightwing laissez-faire viewpoint.

In other respects, the film repeats the successful formulas of past Wayne pictures. First there is Rio Grande (1950). Wayne has become estranged from his wife Katherine (Maureen O'Hara) who returns to claim her daughter (as opposed to a son in the Ford film) and take her back East to become a society belle rather than be corrupted by life out West. Then there's The Quiet Man (1952), invoked by the finale when Wayne finally loses all patience with his wife and pursues her all over town, causing the same kind of public humiliation as O'Hara's forced walk in the earlier film. This time she suffers that added indignity of having lost her dress and being spanked on her exposed pantaloons to everyone's amusement, as a result of which she surrenders completely to Wayne's way of life. Male dominance rather than sex equality is another old-fashioned viewpoint of the film (as of most of Wayne's pictures).

The humor has all the lusty relish of Ford's knockabout scenes with added slapstick angles. There is a memorable mass fight at the top of a slope leading down to a mudhole. It starts with Wayne handling a hotheaded troublemaker (Leo Gordon), gritting his teeth to say, "Now we'll all calm down," and adding, "I'm going to use good judgement. I haven't lost my temper in forty years. But, pilgrim, someone ought to belt you in the mouth. But I won't. I won't. The hell I won't!" Everyone around (including Katherine) is successfully engineered into sliding down to the mud below. There is also Wayne returning home in a drunken state and sharing a few glasses with his attractive cook (Yvonne De Carlo) to stagger up the stairs with her and tumble back down. Before long, the highly suspicious Katherine has taken a further tumble down the stairs with them and in the belief that nothing succeeds like excess the stunt gets a third airing. All the players seem so happy in their work that there's nothing to do but enjoy it with them.


George Washington McLintock John Wayne
Katherine McLintock Maureen O'Hara
Louise Warren Yvonne DeCarlo
Devlin Warren Patrick Wayne
Becky McLintock Stefanie Powers
Drago Chill Wills
Jake Birnbaum Jack Kruschen
Ben Sage Bruce Cabot
Matt Douglas Jr. Jerry Van Dyke
Davey Elk Perry Lopez
Bunny Dull Edgar Buchanan
Alice Warren Aissa Wayne
Matt Douglas Sr. Gordon Jones
Agard Strother Martin
Curley Butler Hank Worden
Sheriff Lord Chuck Roberson
Jones Leo Gordon
Puma Michael Pate

Shooting from October 1962 to early January 1963.

Released November 13, 1963 (U.S.); February 23, 1964 (G.B.)

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