“WELCOME TO McLINTOCK! POPULATION: the most brawling, roistering adventurers in the West!”
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Cast: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Patrick Wayne
Synopsis: Ageing rancher George Washington McLintock is forced to deal with numerous personal and professional problems.
McLintock! Is one of those 1960s John Wayne (Stagecoach, Allegheny Uprising) flicks that, from the trailers, look as if they are going to be a lot better than they actually turn out to be. Intended as a rollicking, rowdy, boisterous, knockabout western, McLintock! fails in nearly all departments. The mass mud-pit fist-fight just about passes muster, although you can’t help feeling it could have been a lot more fun in the hands of someone other than John Ford wannabee Andrew McLaglen. The second major set-piece – Wayne’s climactic pursuit of a scantily clad O’Hara (How Green Was My Valley, Miracle on 34th Street) in front of the entire township – falls flat, and compares unfavourably to the couple’s similar scenes in Ford’s The Quiet Man.
It’s also a crime that the film lasts more than two hours considering the thin and lacklustre plot. Many scenes (Wayne and De Carlo’s drunk scene, for example) are completely redundant, adding nothing to plot or characterisation and, presumably, serving only to extend the running time to bolster the movie’s image as a big, sprawling western. The romance between Wayne Jr. (Young Guns) and a young Stefanie Powers is also clumsily handled.
Unfortunately, Wayne Sr. was becoming something of a dinosaur by the time this movie was made. Too old to play an action hero, and identified too closely by younger movie-goers as a hero of their parent’s generation, he was struggling for suitable material. He still makes a likeable hero, nonetheless, and there’s a certain nostalgia-quotient surrounding the big man that makes his movies of this era watchable. But, if it wasn’t for Wayne’s huge presence, this movie really wouldn’t be worth watching.
(Reviewed 20th April 2002)