John Wayne Western Collection [9 Discs] [DVD]

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John Wayne Western Collection [9 Discs] (DVD)  (Black & White)  (English/French)  1963 - Larger Front
  • John Wayne Western Collection [9 Discs] (DVD) (Black & White) (English/French) 1963
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Overview

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Special Features

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Synopsis

McLintock!
Hondo
Hondo is so "perfect" a John Ford western that many people assume it was directed by John Ford--or at the very least, Andrew McLaglen. Actually the director was suspense expert John Farrow, who worked with the "Duke" only twice in his career (the second film was an oddball war drama, The Sea Chase [55]). In Hondo, John Wayne plays a hard-bitten cavalry scout who is humanized by frontierswoman Geraldine Page and her young son (Lee Aaker, star of TV's Rin Tin Tin). Try as he might, Wayne can't convince Page to move off her land in anticipation of an Apache attack. He leaves her ranch, only to be ambushed by desperado Leo Gordon--who happens to be Page's long-absent husband. Having killed Gordon, Hondo returns to the ranch to protect Page from the Indians, and to rekindle the woman's hesitant love for him. The climactic attack sequence is enhanced by Hondo's 3-D photography, one of the few truly effective utilizations of this much-maligned process. Long unavailable thanks to the labyrinthine legal tangles of the John Wayne estate, Hondo was finally released to videotape in the early 1990s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

True Grit
In fine Hollywood tradition, John Wayne had to play a "one-eyed fat man" before the Motion Picture Academy considered him worthy of an Oscar. In True Grit, Wayne plays grumpy, pot-bellied U.S. marshal "Rooster" Cogburn, hired by 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) to find Tom Chaney (Jeff Corey), who killed her father. The headstrong Mattie could have had her pick of lawmen, but selects the aging Cogburn because she believes he has "true grit" (she talks this way all through the picture, so be prepared). Also heading into Indian territory in search of Chaney is Texas Ranger La Boeuf (Glen Campbell), who wants to collect the reward placed on the fugitive's head for his earlier crimes. Complicating matters are Chaney's scurrilous cronies Ned Pepper (Robert Duvall), Quincy (Jeremy Slate), and Moon (Dennis Hopper), who have no qualms about killing a troublesome teenaged girl like Mattie. While the plot of True Grit, adapted (and streamlined) by Marguerite Roberts from the novel by Charles Portis, maintains audience interest throughout, the glue that truly holds this Western together is John Wayne, delivering one of his finest performances (though some believe he was better in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon). Wayne's casual charisma is infinitely more effective than the mannered method acting of Kim Darby and the floundering non-acting of poor Glen Campbell. And who could not love the climatic face-off between Duvall and company and John Wayne, whose "Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!" is not only a classic bit of dialogue, but the apotheosis of the Wayne mystique. In 1975, Wayne repeated his True Grit characterization opposite Katharine Hepburn in Rooster Cogburn, but the film failed to match its predecessor and the overall effect was blunted. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Rio Lobo
John Wayne, in the last of his Civil War characterizations, portrays Cord McNally, a Union Army colonel who loses a gold shipment in a Confederate raid, during which a devoted young officer is also killed. After the end of the war, McNally bears no ill-will toward the leaders of the raid, Pierre Cordona (Jorge Rivero) and Tuscarora Phillips (Christopher Mitchum), who were acting as soldiers, but he still wants the two unknown men on the Union side who they say sold them the information about the gold shipments. A year later, McNally crosses paths with one of the men, now a deputy from Rio Lobo, who is about to take Shasta Delaney (Jennifer O'Neill), a seemingly innocent young woman, out of a neighboring town at gunpoint. A shootout ensues, in which McNally's man and three other Rio Lobo deputies are killed, with help from Cordona -- this makes McNally very interested in what's going on in Rio Lobo, and he decides to go there with Cordona and Shasta. They find a whole community under siege from their own sheriff, a sadistic ex-outlaw named Hendricks (Mike Henry). What follows is a series of confrontations and revelations that are alternately suspenseful, sadistic -- with maimings worthy of a spaghetti western and characters even getting blown to bits -- and even occasionally comical. But the pieces all tie together very neatly, despite a convoluted plot that's sort of Rio Bravo (made 11 years earlier, also starring Wayne and directed by Hawks, and scripted by Leigh Brackett) turned sideways and readjusted to a more cynical era. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

The Sons of Katie Elder
Henry Hathaway directs the 1965 psychological Western The Sons of Katie Elder. Four sons reunite in their Texas hometown to attend their mother's funeral. John (John Wayne) is the gunfighter, Tom (Dean Martin) is the gambler, Matt (Earl Holliman) is the quiet one, and Bud (Michael Anderson Jr.) is the youngest. They soon learn that their father gambled away the family ranch, leading to his own murder. The brothers decide to find their father's killer and get back the ranch, even though they are discouraged to do so by local Sheriff Billy Wilson (Paul Fix). When the sheriff turns up dead, the Elder boys are blamed for the murder. Deputy Sheriff Ben Latta (Jeremy Slate) joins forces with the only witnesses of the murder: Morgan Hastings (James Gregory) and his son Dave (Dennis Hopper). A gunfight breaks out between the Hastings gang and the Elder gang. After his brother Matt is killed, John decides to settle the ranch dispute in a court of law with a judge (Sheldon Allman). However, Tom decides to take matters into his own hands by kidnapping Dave. After the final climactic gunfight, John and the wounded Bud retreat to a rooming house owned by Mary Gordon (Martha Hyer). ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

El Dorado
Having struck pay dirt with his 1958 western Rio Bravo, Howard Hawks more or less remade the picture twice in the 1960s. The first of these rehashes was El Dorado, with Rio Bravo star John Wayne back for more. Wayne plays a gunfighter who rides into El Dorado to link up with his old pal, sheriff Robert Mitchum ("It's the big one with the big two!" declared the film's advertisements). Wayne has turned down a job with evil land baron Ed Asner, who'd hoped to drive a family off the land that he needed for its water. That family, headed by R.G. Armstrong, is convinced that Wayne is working with Asner; when Armstrong's son Johnny Crawford dies, Wayne is held responsible, earning him a bullet in the spine from Crawford's sister Michele Carey. A year passes: Wayne returns to El Dorado, in the company of his new saddle pal James Caan. They find that Asner is still up to his old tricks, and that Mitchum has descended into alcoholism. Several plot twists and power shifts ensue, leading to the slam-bang climax, with the partially paralyzed Wayne, the newly crippled Mitchum (on crutches), and the concussion-suffering Caan battling together to stave off Asner's minions. The final long-shot, of Wayne and Mitchum limping off together arm-in-arm, is one of the most enduring images in the entire Hawks canon. If they loved it twice they'll love it thrice: in 1969, John Wayne and Howard Hawks teamed up for a third Rio Bravo derivation, Rio Lobo--which, like the first two films, was scripted by Leigh Brackett. Incidentally, that's famed artist Olaf Weighorst (whose paintings appear in the title sequence) in a cameo as the gunsmith. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Big Jake
When his grandson (played by real-life son Ethan Wayne) is kidnapped by scurrilous baddie Richard Boone, Big Jake (John Wayne) sets out to deliver the $1 million ransom. On the off-chance that there'll be gunplay, Jake brings along his sons Patrick Wayne and Chris Mitchum. Maureen O'Hara plays Jake's estranged wife and Bruce Cabot provides comedy relief as a scraggly Indian Scout. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Shootist
About ten minutes into The Shootist, Doctor Hostetler (James Stewart) tells aging Western gunfighter John Bernard Books (John Wayne), "You have a cancer." Knowing that his death will be painful and lingering, Books is determined to be shot in the line of "duty." In his remaining two months, Books settles scores with old enemies, including gambler Pulford (Hugh O'Brian) and Marshall Thibido (Harry Morgan) and reaches out to new friends, including a feisty widow (Lauren Bacall) and her hero-worshipping son (Ron Howard). Throughout the film, Books' imminent demise is compared with the decline of the West, as represented by the automobiles and streetcars that have begun to blight the main street of Books' hometown. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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