Friday, May 29, 2009

5/24/09: McLintock! (1963)

It's my friend Merf's turn to choose this week's playlist, and we kick off with a grand slam starring John Wayne. While I haven't seen many of his films outside of The Quiet Man and True Grit, I do have considerable admiration for his talent, and McLintock! is the perfect movie to pique one's interest in the Duke.

Although technically a Western, the setting and time (1890-ish) are mostly superfluous, as this is basically a slapstick comedy inspired by The Taming of the Shrew. Re-teaming with Maureen O'Hara (his Quiet Man co-star), Wayne plays a land baron whose estranged wife returns to his mansion to bitch at him and order him around. He takes it all in stride—he practically owns the town, which is named after him...and anyway, he loves the dickens out of her. While they stare each other down, their daughter (delicious Stefanie Powers) plays the same basic game of cat and mouse with hired hand Patrick Wayne (John's real-life son). There are numerous character actors around, including Chill Wills, Yvonne DeCarlo, Jerry Van Dyke and Strother Martin, a ton of rollicking fistfights, two hot spanking scenes, and a famous mudhole brawl that reportedly took a whole week to film. There's also a hilarious sequence where a drunken McLintock can't make his way up the staircase. The movie is enormous fun, with some memorable one-liners and a final double-entendre that will sail over the heads of kiddies and give the adults something to snigger about for days. Rating: 5/5.

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