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A cattle baron fights to tame the West and his estranged wife.
For more about McLintock! and the McLintock! Blu-ray release, see McLintock! Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on March 28, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Chill Wills, Jack Kruschen, Yvonne De Carlo
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
» See full cast & crew
McLintock! Blu-ray Review
The Not So Quiet Man.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, March 28, 2013
At first (and maybe even at second) glance, John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara would seem to have been spectacularly ill suited to co-star with each other once, let alone in a short but significant string of fondly remembered films. O'Hara was something of a firebrand, an actress who frequently wore her heart on her sleeve and was able to quite convincingly portray deep emotions, whether those were outright anger or romantic passion. Wayne, of course, was considerably more laconic, a personality as much as he was an actor, and one who frankly coasted through a number of roles that were not overly demanding. Interestingly, the O'Hara collaboration seemed to bring out the best in Wayne, and his performances in some of his pairings with O'Hara are among his finest moments in a long and distinguished career. There's probably little doubt that most people would rate The Quiet Man as the best of the Wayne-O'Hara pairings, but what film should be accorded second place? Some might argue for the very first combination of the two, 1950's Rio Grande, a film the pair in fact signed on to with John Ford so that all three of them could move on to The Quiet Man, the film they really wanted to make. And as enjoyable as each of them are in their own way, few would probably accord either The Wings of Eagles or Big Jake as equal to even Rio Grande. And that leaves McLintock!, a rousing retelling of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew in a very wild west. The film doesn't have the ambitions of Rio Grande, and in fact is fairly slight entertainment, but that really is not a slam of any kind. This is lighter fare that was meant to pull Wayne back from the brink he had created with The Alamo, and in that regard, it worked wonderfully well. Wayne is surprisingly spry as a light comedian and O'Hara tears up the screen in one of her most exuberant performances. Second place may in fact be up for grabs.
McLintock! is frankly both maddeningly simple minded and overly convoluted. Stuffed to the gills with a labyrinthine set of interconnected plots, the film at its core is a simple sex farce positing Wayne's cattle baron George Washington McLintock against his socially pretentious if ultimately well meaning more or less estranged wife Katherine (O'Hara). But surrounding that central arc is a whole host of other elements. The most related subplot is that of the McLintocks' daughter Becky (Stefanie Powers), who has come home from college with her geeky banjo playing boyfriend (Jerry Van Dyke) in tow, but who soon falls head over heels in love with G.W.'s new ranch hand Dev (Wayne's real life son Patrick Wayne). (Guess which one she ends up with?) Meanwhile, G.W. has also hired Dev's mother Louise (Yvonne De Carlo) to be his cook, sparking jealousy from Katherine, who has returned to the McLintock ranch in the hopes of spiriting Becky away to the more prestigious climes of the east coast.
In the time honored tradition of every as seen on TV advertisement you've ever suffered through, it's easy to say, "But wait, you also get—", when moving on to some of McLintock's other tangents. There's a feud a- simmerin' both between newcomers who have been given land grants, even though McLintock tells them trying to farm on the Mesa Verde at its incredibly high altitude is madness, as well as between some Comanche who have been more or less imprisoned with the newcomers and the local "bureaucrats", as McLintock dismissively refers to the territorial governmental representatives. It's as if frequent Wayne collaborator screenwriter James Edward Grant didn't totally trust the main focus of the roiling relationship between G.W. and Katherine (which admittedly plays somewhat like The Quiet Man: The Next Generation) and decided to stuff as much other material into his scenario to make sure that audiences had enough to keep them involved, or at the very least distracted.
McLintock! has absolutely none of the more serious ambitions of, say, Rio Grande or in fact even the box office debacle that preceded it in Wayne's filmography, The Alamo, but that's probably exactly why the film was so popular when it first came out and has remained one of the favorites of Wayne's long if not especially varied career. The film is downright silly a lot of the time, with hyperbolic supporting performances from everyone including Chill Wills to Edgar Buchanan to Strother Martin to Jack Kruschen, but it's also incredibly colorful and just flat out entertaining. There's a decidedly misogynistic, or at least anti-feminist, streak running through the film that may shock some younger viewers, but that also harkens back to The Quiet Man and its emphasis on a husband taking "what's rightfully his" in an unbridled manner. Katherine upbraids G.W. in an early scene between the two, telling him "You're an animal" after he plants a forceful kiss on her supposedly against her will. "That's the story," G.W. replies, and it sums up this film's kind of bottom line, bargain basement machismo. It may not be politically correct, but it's a whale of a lot of fun to watch.
McLintock! Blu-ray, Video Quality
McLintock! is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Olive Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.36:1. Mmm, mmm, good may be the overriding response to this often spectacular looking high definition presentation, certainly one of the more lustrously saturated and beautiful looking color offerings we've seen from Olive. Many Wayne fans know that due to the vagaries of various production companies not dotting their "i"'s and crossing their "t"'s, McLintock! fell into the public domain and was thus one Wayne film that had a glut of really lackluster PD releases in a variety of home video formats through the years. When the "official" DVD version finally came out a few years ago, it was something of a revelation, and this Blu-ray (which I'm tempted to speculate might have come from the same master) continues that revelatory experience, with deeply nuanced color, a nicely sharp image and relatively few issues whatsoever with the elements. There are some occasional frame misalignments and one or two very minor issues that look like shrinkage of individual frames, both of which were evident on the authorized DVD release and which are repeated here. There's virtually no other damage other than a few very transitory specks and flecks. The film retains its natural grain and there doesn't appear to have been any over zealous digital sharpening, either, resulting in a really beautifully cinematic experience that should easily delight this film's many fans.
McLintock! Blu-ray, Audio Quality
McLintock! features a nicely robust sounding lossless DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix. There's a really agreeable sounding fullness to all frequency ranges which helps support DeVol's boisterous score (including songs by The Limeliters featuring the unmistakable lead vocals of Glenn Yarborough). Dialogue and effects are all very cleanly and clearly rendered, and the mix is extremely well prioritized. Some may wish that the 5.1 mix from the DVD release had been ported over to this Blu-ray release, but even that mix was fairly front heavy most of the time, and while this mix is obviously quite narrow, it never sounds crowded, with fidelity and dynamic range remaining excellent throughout.
McLintock! Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Sadly, none of the superb supplements that graced the authorized DVD release of a few years ago have made it over to this Blu-ray.
McLintock! Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
McLintock! has a few too many subplots for its own good, but it's a rootin' tootin' entertainment nonetheless, one of the funnier and more enjoyable Wayne vehicles and a wonderful coupling of his singular talents with those of Maureen O'Hara. With an incredibly colorful supporting cast, and assured if workmanlike direction from relative newcomer Andrew V. McLaglen (son of Quiet Man costar Victor), McLintock! may not have a thing on its "pretty little head" (to borrow tone, if not actual phraseology, from the film's overweening masculine perspective), but ultimately that doesn't matter. It's brash, it's colorful and it's full of sight gags and great action set pieces. It was exactly what Wayne's audience wanted at the time and it continues to be one of the most effortlessly entertaining Wayne films of all time. This Blu-ray looks sumptuous and sounds great. Fans will no doubt be disappointed that none of the many DVD special features made it to this Blu-ray, but otherwise this release comes Highly recommended.
McLintock!: Other Editions
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McLintock! Blu-ray, News and Updates
• McLintock! Blu-ray - February 26, 2014
Paramount Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of director Andrew V. McLaglen's McLintock!, starring John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers, Chill Wills, Jack Kruschen and Edgar Buchanan. The 1963 western made its barebones Blu-ray ...
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