Release Date: November 13, 1963


A game of chess anyone? Surprisingly one of George Washington McLintock's (John Wayne) favorite pastimes is chess. In this rambunctious movie that features a brouhaha in a mud pit, plenty of drinking and an Indian raid on a town rodeo, there is an undercurrent of sophistication that adds a little more depth to the plot than one might expect in a typical Western comedy from the early sixties. The Wild West is being tamed in more ways than one: the rich rancher tries to corral the new settlers' enthusiasm; the separated spouse Katherine McLintock (Maureen O'Hara) comes back to assert her wishes for her university educated daughter, Rebecca (Stephanie Powers); McLintock vows to 'Becky' that part of his huge estate will become a park; and he defends the interests of the Comanche tribe from the meddling management of government bureaucrats. But these issues are just subtexts to the main plot so aptly portrayed by the spirited duo of Wayne and O'Hara who entertain the viewers as they argue their way back into one another's hearts. No doubt, one will cringe at the portrayal of the Indians, the acceptance of chauvinism and the careless attitude towards guns. But this was 1963, folks, and the corral gates were open only a smidgeon to  the major changes in social attitudes just beyond the horizon. McLintock is amused by the innocence  of  Becky's suitor, Devlin Warren (Patrick Wayne):  "He can't help it - he's ignorant. He doesn't know any better than to tell the truth." Less than a decade later -- when President Nixon faced disgrace during Watergate because he thought he knew better than to tell the truth -- it was becoming much harder to laugh at our own naiveté.

Director Andrew McLaglen's previous efforts in the Western genre  include Gunsmoke (1955), Have Gun - Will Travel (1957) and Rawhide (1959). Wayne and O'Hara  previously starred together in Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952) and The Wings of Eagles (1957). The DVD version of this 127-minute movie is apparently poor quality, but the remastered, authorized VHS version from the Wayne Estate is excellent with a clear picture and vibrant colors. If you feel like watching a Western with no serious bloodshed, then save The Wild Bunch (1969) for another night, and slip McLintock! into the VCR, and forget you've heard the words, "politically correct."

Copyright: Peter Fokes (2004)
Back to From Toronto With Love