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Hondo (1953)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  5 April 1954 (UK)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 6,170 users  
Reviews: 70 user | 51 critic

Army despatch rider Hondo Lane discovers a woman and her son living in the midst of warring Apaches, and he becomes their protector.

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Title: Hondo (1953)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Rodolfo Acosta ...
Leo Gordon ...
Tom Irish ...
Lt. McKay
...
...
Rayford Barnes ...
Pete - Card Player in Saloon
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Storyline

Hondo Lane, a despatch rider for the cavalry, encounters Angie Lowe, a woman living alone with her young son in the midst of hostile Apache territory. She presumes she is safe because the Apaches, under their chief Vittorio, have always left them alone. Later Lane has a run-in with Angie's reprobate husband and is forced to kill him, not knowing who he is. Vittorio captures Lane and to save his life, Angie tells the Apache chief that Lane is her husband, unaware that Lane has killed her real husband. In order to protect her from a forced marriage with one of the Apache, Lane reluctantly goes along with the lie, though he knows the truth must eventually come out, to Vittorio and to Angie, both. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Out of the gunsmoke into her heart! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

5 April 1954 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

They Called Him Hondo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Wayne was originally to be only the producer for his Batjac company, and wanted Glenn Ford for the title role. But Ford had such an unpleasant working experience with director John Farrow on their previous collaboration, Plunder of the Sun (1953), that he turned down the offer. Wayne then took on the role himself. See more »

Goofs

In several camera shots at the Lowe Ranch, a tall radio tower can be seen on a distant mountain top. See more »

Quotes

Hondo Lane: Mrs. Lowe, you're a liar. And an almighty poor liar.
Angie Lowe: I don't understand.
Hondo Lane: These horses haven't been shod in a couple of months. It's a cinch that ax hasn't had an edge on it in two months. And your tea can - a five-pound tea can in your house - is empty. Your husband's been gone a long time.
Angie Lowe: Now look here, Mr. Lane, I don't think you have any right to talk...
Hondo Lane: I'm not talkin' about rights, I'm talkin' about lies. Why'd you lie to me, Mrs Lowe? Were you afraid that maybe you wouldn't be safe here ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dan Rowan as one of the soldiers underneath a wagon shot during the final attack. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

John Doe Wayne Is Hondo Lane
30 November 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

The Duke was 44 years old when he made "Hondo", the film in which he, as a producer, hit on the formula which he would successfully employ for the entire second half of his long career. Like many good ideas, the formula is very simple. A strong human-interest story is played out against a backdrop of majestic scenery, and includes plenty of beat-'em-up and shoot-'em-up sequences, with the masculine values of the western genre very much to the fore - independence of spirit, standing up for what is right, self-reliance and loyalty to friends.

Hondo Lane is a free man. Indian blood runs in his veins, and he loves to roam the western wilderness which he shares with a few settlers and the Mescalero Apaches. Angie Lowe (Geraldine Page) lives the life of a lonely homesteader, bringing up her little boy Johnny on her own in an isolated log cabin. When Hondo swaggers onto her spread, seeming like an emanation of the desert itself, the sexual sparks begin to fly.

Vittorio, the chief of the Mescaleros, is an upright and proud man, a great leader who has finally lost patience with the treacherous white man. He and his braves have donned the war paint and are prowling the region, baying for blood. In the coming clash, Hondo will have to decide where his loyalties lie.

Processed in Warners' own 'Warnercolor', the film has an attractive tempera look. It was originally shot in 3-D format, which explains the sudden knife-thrusts towards the camera and the front-on spear lunges. There is some fine horsemanship on display in this movie, with small, elegant horses being ridden in a well-forward saddle style. Hondo's descent of the butte to escape his indian pursuers is particularly good.

When Hondo walks out of the wilderness, his horse having died several days previously, how come he is clean-shaven? In the knife-fight with Silva (Rodolfo Acosta), the continuity is poor, some shots having been filmed in bright sunlight, others under an overcast sky. However, though they are worth pointing out, these small snags do not mar an enjoyable film.

The sexual manoeuvring between Hondo and Angie is measured to perfection. Their propriety is impeccable, but there can be no doubting the intensity of their mutual desire or its earthiness ("I can smell you when I'm downwind of you"). Angie puts on her lilac dress for no conceivable reason other than mating display.

When Hondo talks of his dead squaw, the script soars. The half-indian's deeply poetic feel for the beautiful Apache language merges with his romantic reverie, forming a lament for both his lost love and the doomed indian way of life. This passage is symbolic of the whole film, which is largely about the interpenetration of indian and anglo-saxon cultures. Vittorio adopts the blonde Johnny (Lee Aaker) as a blood relation, and returns frequently to the Lowes' place to watch over the boy. Hondo, of course, bestrides the two civilisations, both of which are his birthright. On the broader canvas, the film is an elegy to the Mescaleros who share this land with the white settlers, but who are now in terminal decline.

Hondo is the living embodiment of Manifest Destiny. Because he is stronger and abler (and dare one say, whiter) than the Apaches, he will supersede them. And the passing of the Mescalero civilisation does not bother him unduly. "End of a way of life," he observes, having just slaughtered several dozen indians. "Too bad. It was a good way." And without another thought, he cheerfully gets on with conquering the West.


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