Western, Comedy, Romance | 127 mins | Released: 1963
Director: Andrew V. McLagen
Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Stephanie Powers, Jack Kruschen, Chill Wills, Yvonne De Carlo
Our Rating: 8
Cattle baron George Washington “G.W.” McLintock (John Wayne) is living the single life on his ranch. He is estranged from wife Katherine (Maureen O’Hara), who left him two years before, suspecting him of adultery.
When he isn’t playing chess or breaking his own record for throwing a hat up onto the longhorn-shaped weather vane at the top of his house every time he comes home drunk, McLintock keeps busy with the ranch. He hires an attractive widow Louise Warren (Yvonne De Carlo) as his cook, and welcomes both her and her two children into his home, including a grown son Dev (Patrick Wayne), who is handy with his fists.
McLintock butts heads with a local gadfly, Matt Douglas, and Territorial Governor Cuthbert Humphrey, a sleazy bureaucrat who is looking to discredit McLintock, settle the territory, and remove the local Comanche Indians. Sparks begin to fly as an unexpected turn of events results in brawls, gunfire, an Indian attack, and the return of Mrs. McLintock, who wants custody over their daughter Becky (Stefanie Powers) (returning from college) and a divorce from G.W.
Becky comes home from school with her banjo-playing love interest “Junior” Douglas (Jerry Van Dyke), but soon falls for Dev after he takes her across his knee and spanks her with a coal shovel. McLintock approves of their engagement, as does Mrs. Warren, then pursues Katherine through the streets and shops of town until he spanks her bottom with a coal shovel and she submits.
McLintock! is a 1963 comedy Western directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, starring John Wayne, with co-stars including ço-stars Maureen O’Hara, Yvonne De Carlo, and Wayne’s son, Patrick Wayne. The film was produced by Wayne’s company Batjac Productions, was loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
The film was shot at Old Tucson Studios, west of Tucson, Arizona and also at San Rafael Ranch House – San Rafael State Natural Area South of Patagonia, Arizona.
The movie’s musical score was composed by Frank De Vol, using the name De Vol, as he often did. The title song was performed by folk singing group The Limeliters.
The film was a box-office success, and a timely one, since The Alamo had cost Wayne in both financial and reputable terms. McLintock! grossed $14,500,000 in North America, earning $7.25 million in US theatrical rentals. It was the 11th highest grossing film of 1963.
According to Bosley Crowther, “the broadly comic Western … sounded like a promising idea”; “the scenery is opulent and the action out-of-doors, the color lush and the cast made up almost entirely of recruits from John Ford’s long cinematic cycle commemorating the tradition of the American frontier.” Since “the direction was entrusted to a relative newcomer, Victor McLaglen’s television-trained son, Andrew V. McLaglen … good intentions, when the task at hand is as difficult as lusty farce, are not enough.”
Emanuel Levy, in a review years after the films release, said the film is “significant because it marks the beginning of Wayne’s attempt to impose his general views, not just political ones, on his pictures. Most of Wayne’s screen work after McLintock! would express his opinions about education, family, economics, and even friendship.”
Maureen O’Hara wrote in her autobiography that the infamous climactic spanking scene was completely authentic and that John Wayne carried it out with such gusto that she had bruises for a week.
The “mudhole” in which the famous brawl took place wasn’t actually made of mud. It was made of a material called bentonite, which is used in the drilling of oil wells and has the consistency of chocolate syrup. According to actor Leo Gordon (the first one to be knocked down it), that scene took a week to shoot.
The inspiration for this raucous John Wayne comedy was none other than William Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” which producer Michael Wayne and director Andrew V. McLaglen both thought would have more of a comedic kick, if it were set in the Old West.
When Batjac, John Wayne’s production company, needed completion funds for The Alamo (1960), it borrowed the money from United Artists. The Batjac film library was used as collateral for the loan. Making “McClintock” profitably for U-A allowed Batjac to reclaim control of the films.
McLintock! is the fourth of five movies that paired John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
During the pheasant hunting segment John Wayne was shooting real birdshot. The pheasants were released on cue so that he knew when and where to shoot.
John Wayne insisted that the role of the weak, insipid Governor be called “Cuthbert H. Humphrey,” with the intention that he be seen as a parody of liberal Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey, whom Wayne intensely disliked.
Although the film is often seen as a simple knockabout comedy, John Wayne also intended it to be a statement of his own conservative political views.
Promotional events were postponed for a week following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
In the scene where the Comanches are being outfitted with rifles it’s easy to see that they are Krag Jorgensen carbines, meaning that this film takes place in at least 1896, as the Krag didn’t come into service as military armory until 1894.
When the band met the train for Rebecca’s homecoming, the instrument Mr. Birnbaum was playing was a Helicon, which had been invented in the 1860s.
McLintock marks the final film of Gordon Jones, who portrayed Matt Douglas (senior). Jones died of a heart attack just after production ended, but before the film was released to theaters.
Although Stefanie Powers claims that John Ford came to the set to direct the movie for a week, Andrew V. McLaglen the director, has stated that it never happened and he was present for its entirety.
Henry Hathaway was John Wayne’s first choice for director, but his salary demands caused the producer-star to opt for director Andrew V. McLaglen, the son of his old friend and colleague Victor McLaglen.