G.W. McLintock (John Wayne, True Grit, Rooster Cogburn) made most of his money by being a cattle baron. He made so much money in fact, the film’s fictional town was named after him. How cool is that? But all is not milk and honey in McLintock’s life. He has an estranged wife who does not live with him (Quiet Man co star Maureen O’Hara), and now wants a divorce.
Those hostilities are put aside when their daughter Becky (Stefanie Powers, Hart to Hart) returns hom… from a trip East. Because of the McLintock’s reputation, the entire town comes to welcome Becky back. To Wayne’s objection, one man in the town (Luther Van Dyke, Coach) starts to court Becky, although she appears to have a wandering eye for one of the farmhand’s on Wayne’s ranch, played by one of Wayne’s sons, Michael.
One of the first things you’ll notice about McLintock! is that it’s not in the normal vein of Wayne westerns. Wayne is very much aware of his status in the genre at this point, and this film serves as a way to poke fun at that status. It’s a Western slapstick, and includes such recognizable names as Strother Martin (Cool Hand Luke), Yvonne DeCarlo (The Munsters) and Bruce Cabot (King Kong). With Paramount, Wayne’s former production company Batjac has released several other Wayne classics, and McLintock is the latest to come to DVD.
The film’s original mono track is included, along with a Dolby 5.1 Surround track. The mono track is a better listen, as the 5.1 mix sounds OK for music, but overall, is fairly hollow. With the work that was done for other Wayne films like Island in the Sky and High and the Mighty, the 5.1 is still nothing to sneeze at.
The remastered picture and the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation looks great, for a 40 year old film. McCormick’s very green dress looks vivid without any type of bleeding, and the Western landscapes look great. It’s not absolutely pristine or reference quality, but again, considering the age of the film, it looks good.
Previous Batjac/Wayne DVDs have included some pretty solid bonus material, and this one is no exception. The only gripe I had about these was the overabundance of Leonard Maltin, but he’s toned it down a little bit here. There’s still a mindless introduction by Maltin, but there’s a commentary with Maltin, historian Frank Thompson, along with Powers, O’Hara and Michael Pate (who played the Apache chief in the film), and archived footage with Wayne’s son Michael and director Andrew McLaglen. It’s an average track, but with some of the recollections that O’Hara had in the other extra features, I was expecting more from this than what I actually got. The actors have other production stories, and Thompson discusses the film’s context within the genre, while Wayne and McLaglen recall other stories about the film too.
Next up is a look at Michael Wayne entitled The Batjac Story: The Legacy of Michael Wayne. It discusses Wayne’s relationship with his father, both as a producing partner and how Wayne’s death from cancer inspired him to start a Cancer Center with funding and research. It’s a nice look at a relatively anonymous individual. Another look at the film with new interviews by Powers and O’Hara is OK, both women look very good for their ages (O’Hara’s in her mid ‘80s), as they recall the Duke and how fun this film was to make. There are some pretty good stories with O’Hara about Wayne and the crew, as she knew Wayne for over a decade before this film, and it would have been nice to hear more of them, but what’s here is nice. Next are looks at fight and stunt sequences, since the film had a large scale fight sequence (which started with a memorable quote from Wayne), as well as the corset that O’Hara wore for much of the film. Teasers and trailers for other Batjac films follow, along with a stills gallery.
Paramount and Batjac have done good justice to some of the forgotten Wayne films, and McLintock! is no exception. It’s very enjoyable and nice to see Wayne poke fun at himself. With a more than capable supporting cast that gets their moments to shine, for those who may not be too familiar with the Duke, this may be the film that helps to kick things off for you. Its price makes it a pretty good pickup for fans too.
Special Features List
- Commentary with Leonard Maltin, Frank Thompson, Michael Pate, Stefanie Powers, Maureen O’Hara, Michael Wayne and Adnrew McLaglen
- Introduction by Leonard Maltin
- “The Batjac Story: The Legacy of Michael Wayne”
- Maureen O’Hara and Stefanie Powers remember “McLintock!”
- “A Good Ol’ Fashioned Fight”
- 2 Minute Fight School
- Featurette of Corset
- Still Gallery
- Teasers and Trailer