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Home Film Articles McLintock! (Movie 1963): Noteworthy + Reactionary John Wayne Western

McLintock! (Movie 1963): Noteworthy + Reactionary John Wayne Western

McLintock! John Wayne Maureen O’Hara Yvonne De CarloMcLintock! with John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, and Yvonne De Carlo: Andrew V. McLaglen’s 1963 Western marked the fourth and final John Wayne-Maureen O’Hara pairing, and the first and final time Wayne and former Universal star Yvonne De Carlo (Criss Cross) were seen together on screen.
  • McLintock! (movie 1963): Inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, this reactionary comedy Western marked the final pairing of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, and the first collaboration between Wayne and Andrew V. McLaglen (as director).
  • McLintock! synopsis: Things become complicated for the titular cattle baron (John Wayne) once his estranged wife (Maureen O’Hara) returns from Back East to demand a divorce and custody of their daughter (Stefanie Powers). There’s more: Newly arrived settlers, government officials, and a group of Comanches are all at odds with one another.

McLintock! (movie 1963): Reactionary comedy Western marked the final big-screen pairing of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, the 1963 comedy Western McLintock! is notable as the fourth and final pairing of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara,[1] and as the first collaboration between Wayne – whose company, Batjac, produced the film – and director Andrew V. McLaglen.[2]

Long known for his right-wing social and political views, John Wayne himself reportedly came up with the basic premise – a rugged, “self-made” American male restores order in his surroundings – while frequent Wayne collaborator James Edward Grant (Angel and the Badman, Hondo, etc.) received solo credit for the final screenplay, which, despite its Shakespearean roots, was officially an original effort.

McLintock! plot: The status quo must be preserved

The narrative is centered on big, tough cattle baron and banker George Washington “G.W.” McLintock, the “leading citizen” (the 19th-century equivalent of an oligarch) not only of the small Western town that bears his family name but apparently of the whole Mesa Verde region.[3] Whether in the personal or the sociopolitical realm, McLintock sees it as his inalienable right to preserve order – i.e., the status quo – all around him.

The way things are going, he’d better act fast. And decisively.

On the home front: His estranged wife, the fiery redhead Kate (Maureen O’Hara), has arrived from Back East to demand a divorce and the custody of their comely college-age daughter, Becky (Stefanie Powers), who returns from Harvard accompanied by a disgustingly well-educated suitor, Matt Douglas Jr. (comedian Jerry Van Dyke – Dick Van Dyke’s brother – in one of his rare movie appearances). Worse yet, Junior is the son of a government bureaucrat (Gordon Jones) McLintock abhors.

On the sociopolitical (and economic) front: A group of recently arrived migrants – ahem, settlers – show up looking for land where they can, well, settle. Would land reform be a possibility? Not in your dreams, unless, that is, you view kicking out the local Comanches – which is what territorial Gov. Cuthbert H. Humphrey[4] (Robert Lowery) wants to do – as “land reform.”

On the intertwined front: Handsome settler Dev Warren (John Wayne’s son Patrick Wayne), hired as a McLintock helper, becomes enamored of Becky, while his good-looking mother Louise (Special Guest Star Yvonne De Carlo), hired as a cook, becomes Kate’s object of jealousy.

Thank heaven for cattle barons

But never fret.

This being a crowd-pleasing John Wayne movie, everything turns out well at the end, courtesy of the … cattle baron, who proceeds to help migrants, Indians (not the enemies this time around, but used as pawns for their own good), government officials, and women (a good spanking…) fit into their proper places.

McLintock’s message is one we should all remember: What would the world be like without (male) oligarchs’ boundless determination to preserve the divine order of things?

McLintock! John Wayne Maureen O’HaraMcLintock! with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara: Although G.W. McLintock looks old enough to be his wife’s father, Wayne was only 13 years older than O’Hara.

More McLintock! talent

William H. Clothier, who had shot aerial/second unit sequences for two titles produced by Batjac predecessor Wayne/Fellows, Island in the Sky (1953) and The High and the Mighty (1954), was McLintock!’s cinematographer.

Another of John Wayne’s children, Michael Wayne, was the film’s credited producer.

Also in the extensive McLintock! cast: Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominees Jack Kruschen (The Apartment, 1960) and Chill Wills (The Alamo, 1960), veterans Edgar Buchanan (The Talk of the Town) and Bruce Cabot (King Kong), and John Wayne’s real-life daughter Aissa Wayne as Louise Warren’s young daughter.

McLintock! (movie 1963) cast & crew

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen.

Screenplay: James Edward Grant.
Inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (uncredited).

John Wayne … George Washington “G.W.” McLintock
Maureen O’Hara … Katherine Gilhooley McLintock
Patrick Wayne … Devlin Warren
Stefanie Powers … Becky McLintock
Jack Kruschen … Jack Birnbaum
Yvonne De Carlo … Louise Warren
Chill Wills … Drago
Jerry Van Dyke … Matt Douglas Jr.
Edgar Buchanan … Bunny Dull
Bruce Cabot … Ben Sage
Perry Lopez … Davey Elk
Strother Martin … Agard
Gordon Jones … Matt Douglas
Robert Lowery … Gov. Cuthbert H. Humphrey
Hank Worden … Curly Fletcher
Michael Pate … Puma
Edward Faulkner … Young Ben Sage
Mari Blanchard … Camille Reedbottom
Leo Gordon … Jones
Chuck Roberson … Sheriff Jeff Lord
Bob Steele … Train Engineer
Aissa Wayne … Alice Warren
Big John Hamilton … Fauntleroy Sage

Cinematography: William H. Clothier.

Film Editing: Otho Lovering & Bill Lewis.

Music: Frank De Vol.

Producer: Michael Wayne.

Art Direction: Hal Pereira & Eddie Imazu.

Costume Design: Ron Tasky.

“(McLintock’s Theme) Love in the Country,” words and music by By Dunham and Frank DeVol; sung by The Limelighters.
“Just Right for Me,” words and music by By Dunham; sung by Stefanie Powers, Jerry Van Dyke, and Patrick Wayne.
“Cakewalk,” words and music by By Dunham.
“When We Dance,” words and music by By Dunham.

Production Company: Batjac Productions.

Distributor: United Artists.

Running Time: 127 min.

Country: United States.

McLintock! (Movie 1963): Noteworthy + Reactionary John Wayne Western” notes

John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara movies

[1] John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara had been previously seen together in three John Ford features: Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), and The Wings of Eagles (1957).

Additionally, O’Hara would have a cameo in Wayne’s 1971 Western Big Jake, directed by George Sherman.

John Wayne & director Andrew V. McLaglen movies

[2] The son of Academy Award-winning actor Victor McLaglen (The Informer, 1935) – who gets into a lengthy fistfight with John Wayne in The Quiet Man – Andrew V. McLaglen would direct Wayne in five other titles: Hellfighters (1968), The Undefeated (1969), Chisum (1970), and Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973).

Besides, McLaglen had previously worked on several John Wayne titles of the 1950s: As a unit production manager on the Western Hondo, and as an assistant director on Big Jim McLain, Island in the Sky, The High and the Mighty, and Blood Alley.

Mesa Verde, Arizona?

[3] The real-life Mesa Verde region encompasses territory in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.

McLintock!’s fictitious Mesa Verde is possibly located in Arizona, where the movie was mostly shot.

Hubert Humphrey caricature

[4] The similarity between the names Cuthbert H. Humphrey and Hubert Humphrey is surely no coincidence.

A Democratic U.S. senator from Minnesota from 1949–64 (and then again from 1971–78), Hubert Humphrey is credited for the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 (which would have infuriated 19th-century cattle barons), introduced a bill to establish a National Peace Agency (which might have infuriated 20th-century right-wing movie stars), and was one of the key figures in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which infuriates oligarchs and right-wingers to this day).

Humphrey (Hubert, not Cuthbert) was also U.S. vice president from 1965–69.

As found in Randy Roberts and James S. Olson’s John Wayne: American (Free Press, 1995), McLintock! went on to gross “more than $10 million” in worldwide rentals (the studio’s share of the box office gross), thus “turning a nice profit for Batjac.”

Due to a failure to renew its copyright, McLintock! has been in the public domain since 1991. As part of a series of Wayne/Fellows and Batjac productions released on DVD, a restored print (copyrighted by Batjac) came out in 2005.

McLintock! movie credits via the American Film Institute (AFI) Catalog website.

John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, and Yvonne De Carlo McLintock! movie images: Batjac Productions | United Artists.

McLintock! (Movie 1963): Noteworthy + Reactionary John Wayne Western” last updated in May 2023.

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