19 October 2005 | bsmith5552
"The Taming of the Shrew "Goes West!
"McClintock" is loosely based on William Skakespesre's "The Taming of the Shrew". It is not your usual John Wayne western (in fact he doesn't draw his six shooter even once), but is more of a broad comedy with a tip of the hat to John Ford.
This film was the first to be produced by Wayne's son Michael who had basically taken over the running of Wayne's production company Batjac. It also was the first major feature to be directed by Andrew V. McLaglen who had learned his trade as an assistant on previous Wayne features and on TV. He is also the son of former Wayne co-star Victor McLaglan.
The story is simple. G.W. McClintock (Wayne) is rough and tumble hard drinking rancher whose estranged wife of two years, Katherine (Maureen O'Hara) has returned to try to gain custody of their daughter Becky (Stephanie Powers). The conflict between the two forms the basis for the rest of the picture. Into the mix comes a widowed settler Mrs. Warren (Yvonne DeCarlo) and her son Devlin (Patrick Wayne) who becomes enamored of Becky. The chemistry between Wayne and O'Hara makes this film go. The big gruff Wayne vs. the fiery Irish redhead provides much of the humor of the piece.
The scene for which this film is probably best remembered is the fight at the top of a mud slide Most of the combatants, including the two stars wind up going down the slide into a pool of mud below. And then there's the climatic chase through the streets.
The film features most of the members of the John Wayne stock company. Chill Wills plays Wayne's foreman Drago, Bruce Cabot as a rival rancher, Hank Worden as "Curley", Ed Faulkner as Cabot's son, Chuck Roberson as the Sheriff and Bob Steele as a train engineer.
Other familiar faces include Jack Kruschen as storekeeper Jake Birnbaum, Jerry Van Dyke as Junior a rival suitor for Becky, Perry Lopez as Davey Elk an educated Indian, Strother Martin as Agard the Indian agent, Gordon Jones as Douglas, McClintock's longtime nemesis, Robert Lowery as the governor, Michael Pate as Puma the Commanche chief, Marie Blanchard as saloon girl Camille and Leo Gordon as the settler who is the first to go down the famous mud slide.
A little devoid of action (there are no gunfights or saloon brawls), McClintock remains one of Wayne's most popular films.
The Paramount DVD release is billed as the "Authentic" Collector's Edition. Some years ago, the film somehow fell into the public domain and an inferior version of the film has been floating about the bargain bins as a result. This release however, restores the film to its widescreen aspect ratio as well as, showing its rich and vibrant colors. There is also interviews with the ageless Maureen O'Hara (still looking as beautiful as ever in her 80s) and Stephanie Powers who looks better now than she did in the film. Leonard Maltin hosts the various segments and provides a feature length commentary along with film historian Frank Thompson, O'Hara, Powers and Michael Pate.