McLintock! Blu-ray Review
John Wayne wasn’t known for playing Mongolian leaders, but THE CONQUEROR is still on his filmography. He wasn’t known for his comedies, either, but there were still a string of them, including 1953’s TROUBLE ALONG THE WAY and 1960’s NORTH TO ALASKA. His most popular is MCLINTOCK!, with an exclamation point tacked on for no apparent reason.
In it, Wayne is George Washington McLintock, a cattle baron out west who’s doing what he can to keep outsiders from taking homestead land from his Comanche Indian friends. But McLintock has bigger problems: his estranged wife, Katherine (Mauren O’Hara, 1941’s HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY), is in town to pay a visit and convince their daughter, Becky (Stefanie Powers, who would later play Jennifer Hart on the series HART TO HART), to live with her. Meanwhile, McLintock has hired a widow named Louise (Yvonne De Carlo, who played Sephora in Cecil B. DeMille’s THE TEN COMMANDMENTS) and her son, Devlin (Wayne’s own son, Patrick), to help tend to his estate and, perhaps, serve as a stand-in for a family. There’s jealousy, jabs and, as the poster depicts, a spanking.
MCLINTOCK’s categorization as a comedy is a bit curious considering it’s not very funny. There are some moments and lines that might be intended to make the viewer laugh, like the giant brawl in and around a mud pit and the occasional bit of innuendo (something about biscuits), but this is really just another movie with John Wayne, Indians and horses, complete with the sort of machismo that made Wayne such a hero to so many.
Wayne had played flawed characters before, but George Washington (how’s that for patriotism, pilgrim?) McLintock isn’t developed and is nothing more than a jerk who feels it his duty to humiliate his wife. This behavior isn’t as prominent as some of his more noble deeds, but look at the last scene, which ends not with a shootout or The Duke walloping the governor (Robert Lowery, who played Bruce Wayne/Batman in the 1949 serial BATMAN AND ROBIN), but with McLintock chasing his wife through the town and whacking her rear in front of the citizens just to make a point that he is the man and he is to be obeyed and that she is the woman and she is to be spanked. Devlin also performs this action on Becky, which results in their engagement (and, presumably, quite the honeymoon). There is certainly much more between the opening credits and the closing shot, but it’s these two scenes that really show what the movie was intended to be.
MCLINTOCK! is directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, the son of actor Victor, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his turn in John Ford’s THE QUIET MAN (1952), which McLaglen served as an assistant director on and also starred Wayne and O’Hara. McLaglen’s other credits include 1968’s HELLFIGHTERS, 1969’s THE UNDEFEATED and 1973’s CAHILL U.S. MARSHAL, as well as more than 100 episodes of the CBS western HAVE GUN – WILL TRAVEL and close to 100 of GUNSMOKE.
MCLINTOCK! BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.39:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Paramount has delivered a wonderful high-definition transfer of MCLINTOCK! that features exquisite colors and fine details that bring new life to William H. Clothier’s cinematography.
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD; English Mono Dolby True HD; French 5.1 Dolby Digital; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The audio transfer is a strong one, with clear dialogue, a clean De Vol score and fine atmospheric sounds.
Introduction by Leonard Maltin (2:39): Film critic Maltin offers a brief introduction of MCLINTOCK!
Commentary by Leonard Maltin, Frank Thompson, Maureen O’Hara, Stefanie Powers, Michael Pate, Michael Wayne and Andrew McLaglen: Actresses O’Hara and Powers, actor Pate, producer Wayne and director McLaglen get in a few comments here and there, but it’s Maltin and Thompson that do the bulk of the talking, which is fine since it’s clear they have both studied the film and are huge fans.
The Making of MCLINTOCK! (41:28) is divided into three segments, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “The Batjac Story Part II: The Legacy of Michael Wayne,” which puts John Wayne’s son under the spotlight, “Maureen O’Hara and Stefanie Powers Remember MCLINTOCK!” which features the actresses reminiscing about the movie, and “A Good Ol’ Fashion Fight,” which looks at the making of a fight scene.
The Corset: Don’t Leave Home Without One! (7:49): Louise Coffey-Webb, curator of the Fashion Study Collection at Woodbury University, discusses the role of the corset in a woman’s wardrobe at the time.
2 Minute Fight School (2:18): Stuntmen Tom Morga and Wayne Bauer expand on their insight provided in the “A Good Ol’ Fashion Fight” featurette.