George Washington McLintock, "GW" to friends and foes alike, is a cattle baron and the richest man in the territory. He anxiously awaits the return of his daughter Becky who has been away ...
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George Washington McLintock, "GW" to friends and foes alike, is a cattle baron and the richest man in the territory. He anxiously awaits the return of his daughter Becky who has been away at school for the last two years. He's also surprised to see that his wife Katherine has also returned. She had left him some years before without really explaining what he done but she does make the point of saying that she's returned to take their daughter back to the State Capitol with her. GW is highly respected by everyone around him including the farmers who are pouring into the territories with free grants of land and the Indians who are under threat of being relocated to another reservation. Between his wife, his headstrong daughter, the crooked land agent and the thieving government Indian agent, GW tries to keep the peace and do what is best for everyone. Written by
Whatever you think of John Wayne's politics, they were never better expressed more convincingly or with more entertainment than they are in McLintock. At first glance this film is a rough house western version of The Taming of the Shrew. But it is far more than that, it is the closest thing we have to a film manifesto of the world as John Wayne saw it.
As G.W. McLintock, the Duke is the American dream personified. The man who came west and by dint of his own sweat and labor built a cattle empire. He did it without the government's help and note how he tells the settlers the government doesn't 'give' anything away. One of the three people identified as villains in his world view is land agent Gordon Jones. He's a liberal in McLintock, peddling the view that government help is the answer to all of our problems.
McLintock rather broadly satirizes other people who Wayne considers liberals. The know-it-all college kid Jerry Van Dyke, the tanglefooted bureaucrat Indian agent Strother Martin, the oily politician Robert Lowery these people get quite a going over.
Wayne doesn't 'give' anybody anything. As he says to son Patrick Wayne in my favorite line in all John Wayne movies, "I don't give jobs, I hire men." That's a creed he followed in real life as well.
Sad to say though the world isn't as simple as McLintock would have us believe. McLintock takes place in the age of the robber barons and those folks were not as noble in character as G.W. McLintock. Maybe the world ought to be like it is in McLintock, but it ain't.
McLintock is one grand piece of entertainment though. The comedy is as broad and unsophisticated as you would find in any John Ford film and with good reason as Wayne and Director Andrew McLaglen learned the movie trade from him.
In addition to dealing with the assorted 'liberals' mentioned above, the Duke has some domestic concerns. Wife Maureen O'Hara has left him, but is back over where their daughter Stefanie Powers will reside. Maureen is playing the same role she did in Rio Grande and later on in Big Jake, the estranged wife who circumstances force her back with Wayne. In the case of McLintock though these are circumstances that Wayne makes on his own with some inspiration from The Taming of the Shrew.
The cast is populated with a grand cast of regulars from previous Wayne films like Chill Wills, Edgar Buchanan, Hank Worden, Leo Gordon, Michael Pate, and some already mentioned.
Jack Kruschen makes his one and only film appearance in a Wayne film here. He does very well as the kindly, benevolent and obviously Jewish storekeeper. He's got an important function also here, as another self made American success story in the same film.
Yvonne DeCarlo got cast in this film after her husband who was a stunt man was injured badly on another film. She had heavy duty medical expenses and Wayne was not about charity. But he was legendary for taking care of fellow performers giving them a pay day in his films if they needed it. He didn't give jobs, he hired men and women. Yvonne is Pat Wayne's mother in the film who Maureen suspects of being Wayne's mistress when she's hired as a housekeeper.
We also get an economics lecture from the Duke as well. He works for "every man who goes to a butcher shop and wants a T-Bone steak." And Pat Wayne works for him. It's what makes the capitalist system go.
If you take some of the politics expressed with a critical eye, McLintock is fabulous entertainment, one of the Duke's best films.
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