HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:79
“McLintock!” has been labeled one of John Wayne’s most memorable and most remembered western outings before his demise. The western, in today’s society, is almost a thing of the past and relegated to only a few directors willing to do a classic western here or there (Django Unchained doesn’t count). Back in the 50’s through the 70’s westerns were a dime a dozen, taking the ranks of what is filled by comic book movies today. Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne topped his career with a sort of cats and dogs “America’s Sweethearts” type of pairing as their personalities would clash on screen in ways that made them endearing to the general public. With “The Quiet Man” and “Rio Grande” successes the paired up for one final time on screen to play what became known as their most light hearted role together.
“McLintock” likes to play around at being a comical take on a serious subject. McLintock (John Wayne) is a cattle baron with a heart of gold. He takes care of his men and loves his servants, is a pillar in the community, but can be a bit rough around the edges. He’s a blue collar worker and revels in the vices and habits of those same people. Drinking at the bar with his buddies, coarse language (by 1960’s standards) and not caring about the finer things of life in the big city. Those same qualities that make him appealing as a hero drive his wife Katherine (Maureen O’Hara) insane. She wants the finer things in life and wishes for themselves to be ingratiated in with the hoi polloi of New York City. When two opposites attract it can be a fiery attraction, but those same opposite tastes can drive two people away after a while and as a result, Katherine has been gone from his life for the last 2 years. With the return of his daughter Becky (Stefanie Powers) from college, Katherine has returned to the old west in hopes of urging her daughter to come back with her to “civilized” society.
Throwing a monkey wrench into both parents plan is the inclusion of a homesteaders. McLintock is frustrated as all get out when Homesteaders pile into ranch country and try to eek a living farming in a place where farming is nigh impossible. Still, being the kind man that he is, he ends up hiring on a widow homesteader’s son, Devlin Warren (Wayne’s real life son Patrick Wayne), on as a ranch hand, and getting more than he bargained by hiring on the widow (Yvonne De Carlo) as his new cook. Now having a young, pretty cook in their old house lights the jealousy fires in Katherine’s heart big time and a feud is a brewing. The funny thing is, this is only half of it. I haven’t even mentioned that we have a bunch of Indians, a dude boyfriend of Becky (played by Dick van Dyke’s younger brother Jerry), sleazy government officials a full out mud wrestling brawl with the whole town.
The film runs a delicate balance of being a simple comedy and having 10 gazillion story lines weaving their ways through the film. In reality the brevity is kept restrained, for without it, the film would have been a bit too serious and dark for the audiences liking. “McLintock!” is mainly a battle of the sexes, with Katherine and McLintock facing off and young Devlin and Becky engaged in their own war of dominance. The film is goofy, it’s serious, it’s old fashioned, it’s ridiculously clichéd and sexist for BOTH sexes and it just ends up being a lot of excessive fun. That mud battle in the middle of the film is one of the iconic “fights” of my childhood as I can still remember almost each blow frame by frame. It’s been on TV so many times that I can almost quote it by heart and the whole “oil and water don’t mix” scenario is played to the T. Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne are an odd pairing and they have fun with those real life differences in the movie as well. Katherine is a fiery, emotional redhead who has every emotion she’s feeling painted like a portrait on her face, while John Wayne plays…..well…John Wayne, coasting through the movie on his charm and star charisma. These are the same differences that the characters IN THE MOVIE are having trouble with, and it makes the film only more charming and relatable, as a result.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=19138[/img]Now, since most of us have already seen the movie, let’s get down to the nitty gritty, how does the movie look and sound. As many of you know, No one studio OWNS the rights to the John Wayne movies, they’re actually all owned by the Wayne Estates and licensed out to whoever to distribute. Stack that on top of “McLintock!” being in the public domain and that gave Olive Films to release a pressing of the film in 2013, which looked mighty good. As if that wasn’t good enough, Paramount has actually gone back the negatives and given “McLintock” a full 4K restoration and cleanup, with some amazing results. After A/Bing the Olive release and the Paramount release, it’s pretty obvious that this is the definitive release. The film looks absolutely stunning with great clarity and detail overall with only a few minor flaws, such as a white speckles occasionally showing up and the intermittent flicker of the optics. Besides those two issues the film looks incredible and handily destroys any previous release of the film with ease.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=19146[/img]Now we have two main audio tracks to listen to with this release, a TrueHD mono track and a remixed 5.1 TrueHD track. The mono track is, of course, the original recording and it sounds quite good, with solid ambient mix and a nice balance to the dialogue. The 5.1 track opens up the soundstage a bit, but not wildly. It tends to be a rather flat and front heavy track with some mild use of the surround channels when necessary. Being that this was originally a mono track it makes sense it being a tad front heavy and bares with it the limitations of its recording status. All being said, the fidelity and clarity on the track is quite excellent and there’s even a bit of low end punch added in for some weight to the track. Still, it’s the best the film has ever sounded and the inclusion of BOTH the original Mono track and the remixed 5.1 track is gratifying for those of us who like the original track, and those 5.1 junkies who would be a bit peeved with only a mono track.
• Audio Commentary
• Introduction by Leonard Maltin
• The Making of "McLintock!"
• The Corset: Don't Leave Home Without One!
• 2 Minute Fight School
• Photo Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer
“McLintock!” is pure gem in the John Wayne filmography. It has the uncanny ability to still stay relevant and age gracefully in an era that has all but forgotten about the western genre, and stuffed it aside as a “novelty” genre anymore. The film balances the brevity and the serious points of the movie with brilliant ease, never allowing itself to get too goofy, ala “North to Alaska”, but still lightening up the mood to keep it from getting too dramatic, and saving it from its own heavy subject matter, allowing those 2 hours and 7 minutes to literally fly by with a grin on your face. The 4K remastering is a revelation, and allows us to see the film in its best presentation yet. It’s one of my personal favorite John Wayne movies, and it’s nice to see Paramount handle this release with such love and care. A must buy.
Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O'hara, Patrick Wayne
Directed by: Andrew V. McLaglen
Written by: James Edward Grant
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, ENGLISH TrueHD Mono, French, Spanish, Portugese DD 5.1
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 127 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 20th, 2014
Buy McLintock! Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It
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