Paramount has released an “Authentic Collector’s Edition” of McLintock! on Blu-ray, almost a year to the day that Olive Films delivered their acclaimed, albeit featureless edition. The film has been in the public domain for decades; Paramount’s release has been sourced from ‘original film elements.” Scanned in 4K, the picture quality is stunning. Viewers are treated to several audio options, including 5.1 lossless and mono presentations. The extras aren’t extensive, but fun, highlighted by a surprisingly informative audio commentary.
By the early 1960’s, John Wayne had achieved iconic status. Enduring and prolific, Wayne had seen a film of his released in every calendar year from 1929 to 1976. He appeared on the list of top ten box office stars from 1949 to 1976. Wayne knew what worked for him and followed a basic blueprint. He usually played a type of father figure; often a powerful figure from humble beginnings around whom the story revolved. He always had a taste for liquor and a colorful past. Through in some action, some humor and a happy ending and the ingredient’s for Wayne’s success were in place.
Much of that Blueprint can be found in 1963’s McLintock! Loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Wayne plays wealthy cattle rancher and land baron George Washington McLintock. The richest man in the Arizona Territory, G.W. is excited about the impending arrival of his daughter Becky (Stefanie Powers), who has been at college. Things are a bit complicated because G.W. and his wife Katherine (Maureen O’Hara) have been living apart for some time. Having agreed to put aside their differences for the sake of their daughter, Katherine has returned to the ranch.
While George has the respect of the majority of farmers in the area, but local gadfly Matt Douglas (Gordon Jones), is doing his best to discredit McLintock, while an agent (Strother Martin) working for the government is allowing people to move in on Comanche territory. Becky finally arrives home, with her geeky banjo playing boyfriend Matt Douglas Junior (Jerry Van Dyke) in tow. However, it’s not long before starts to swoon over her dad’s ranch hand, Dev (Patrick Wayne), whose mother, Louise (Yvonne De Carlo) he’s just hired on as a cook. Katherine is none too pleased about sultry Louise’s presence at the ranch. A whole bunch of people are upset about one thing or another, and their all turning to G.W. for help.
The centerpiece of the film, and its most famous scene, happens at a clay pit. A large brawl breaks out after an Indian is wrongly accused of kidnapping a white girl and nearly gets hanged. After the girl’s father starts a riot, Wayne says the films most famous line, “I haven’t lost my temper in 40 years, but pilgrim you caused a-lotta trouble this mornin’, might-a got somebody killed… and somebody oughta belt you in the mouth. But I won’t. I won’t. The Hell I won’t!” Nearly everyone in the cast ends up in the mud.
McLintock! was the fourth of five movies teaming Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.They have wonderful chemistry and clearly enjoyed working together. Even though their characters are constantly butting heads, it’s obvious that they care deeply for each other. George is too pigheaded to consider her point of view, as he sees himself as the man of the house. Both leads offer up the solid performances you would expect, and do most of the heavy lifting, while the supporting cast is fine. John Wayne’s son Patrick is reliable; Stefanie Powers exhibits some of the sass that would later make Hart to Hart such enjoyable television, and Yvonne De Carlo is as beautiful as ever.
A rather simple story, McLintock! May not be one of the best movies in John Wayne’s vast filmography, but it sure is a lot of fun to watch.
Presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, McLintock! looks stunning. While there are some small white spots throughout, the overall picture quality is fantastic. Everything from the terrain, to faces, to clothes is well defined. Clothing textures are superb and intricately detailed, whether it be western attire or dresses. The colors are bright and inky, but never bleed. The palette displays nice, deep saturation throughout in every scene, while black levels are spot on.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack does a serviceable job, but it’s not much of a jump up from the included mono presentation. Rather flat, the track is front heavy and centered with little movement. Dialogue comes through relatively clean, and music plays smoothly and accurately. However, nothing, including environmental effects sounds particularly full or immersive.
English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Audio Commentary: Film Critic Leonard Maltin; Frank Thompson; Actors Maureen O’Hara, Stefanie Powers, and Michael Pate; Producer Michael Wayne; and Director Andrew McLaglen deliver an informative track that moves well, despite being patched together. Maltin and Thompson lead the way and cover the basics about the film while also sharing plenty of fascinating anecdotes about the shoot, the actors, the costumes, etc. The other participants occasionally share their thoughts on various aspects of the film, edited seamlessly into the Maltin/Thompson discussion.
- Introduction by Leonard Maltin (SD, 2:39) The film critic and historian shares a few thoughts on the film’s history, story, and production.
- The Making of McLintock! (SD) A three-part feature. The Batjac Story Part II: The Legacy of Michael Wayne (15:59) takes a look at Michael Wayne’s role as Producer on the film and his work with and management of Batjac. It also discusses his personal life, character, and relationships, as well as his father’s battles with cancer. Maureen O’Hara and Stefanie Powers Remember ‘McLintock!’ (13:23) features the actresses sharing a few anecdotes from their time on the shoot. Lastly, A Good Ol’ Fashion Fight (10:55) takes a look at the details behind a movie fight scene with a look at some of the film’s stunts.
- The Corset: Don’t Leave Home Without One! (SD, 7:49) Woodbury University’s Curator of the Fashion Study Collection Louise Coffey-Webb discusses the use of the corset.
- 2 Minute Fight School (SD, 2:18) Stuntmen Tom Morga and Wayne Bauer break down a movie fistfight.
- Photo Gallery (HD) posters and stills.
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:46).
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