During his time in Hollywood John Wayne forged a very successful career by playing rough and tumble characters who were all man. Between all his Westerns and war films we came to know what to expect from the man they called The Duke. Now in Andrew V. McLaglen’s (directed episodes of television’s Have Gun Will Travel and Gunsmoke) John Wayne does not completely change things up, but with the comedic aspect tossed in you get a little variety and variety is the spice of life they say.
Cattle baron George Washington McLintock (John Wayne – True Grit – 1969, Rio Bravo) is eagerly anticipating the return from college of his daughter Becky (Stefanie Powers – from television’s Hart to Hart). His happiness is short-lived when his estranged wife Katherine (Maureen O’Hara – Miracle on 34th Street, The Parent Trap) also returns. Katherine had left George Washington two years earlier to move to the city and returns with her haughty ways.
Between his daughter’s return, his wife staying on, a dishonest land agent and a burgling Indian government agent McLintock has his hands full. He attempts to keep the peace and his family together.
It is great when actors get to show different sides of themselves by taking on different roles. In McLintock John Wayne gets to show that he can also do comedy. For his long-time fans there is still plenty of fisticuffs and screen time with Maureen O’Hara, a woman he had previously starred in Rio Grande and The Quiet Man with. She is a red headed spitfire while The Duke is a man’s man. The two have great onscreen chemistry that adds to whatever film the work on together.
Storywise McLintock borrows plenty from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. It is just set against the backdrop of the Old West. The comedy in it is broad and of the slapstick variety. Though there are the usual sexist and racist moments in the film there are also some interesting smaller stories going on here. The mistreatment of Native Americans, class struggle, the changes going on in the West, and changing roles for men and women all crop up in between the laughs. With the laughs it is easy to brush off the film as simply lightweight, but if you pay attention there is some depth to McLintock.
-Introduction by Leonard Maltin
-The Making of McLintock
-The Corset: Don’t Leave Home Without One!
-2 Minute Fight School