You follow him and I'll hunt you down and kill yah. Big Jake is directed by George Sherman and written by Harry and Rita Fink. It stars John Wayne, Richard Boone, Patrick Wayne, Christopher Mitchum and Maureen O'Hara. Elmer Berstein scores the music and William H. Clothier is the cinematographer. It's shot in Panavision and Technicolor with the principal location for the shoot being Durango in Mexico. Plot finds Duke Wayne as tough old rancher/gunfighter Jake McCandles, who is estranged from his family and spends his days roaming the west with his trusty dog. However, when the McCandles family ranch is raided by a gang of outlaws led by John Fain (Boone), and Jake's grandson Little Jake is kidnapped for ransom, Big Jake gets the call from his separated wife Martha (O'Hara) to go find the boy. Which he sets off to do, with two of his sons in tow. There were many critics who felt John Wayne should have stopped making movies before the 1970's arrived. Which is a bit ignorant considering he would bow out with the heartfelt and poignant The Shootist in 1976. It's undeniable that of the ten 1970's film's he made before his death, half of them are disposable at best, Big Jake isn't one of them. Yes, the formula is hardly new, only here the blood quota is considerably higher than previous Duke Wayne outings, and yes, tonally the film is a bit too up and down for its own good. But it's a film that finds old hands Wayne and Boone turning in good shows and the action and thematic camaraderie on show more than compensates for the looming cloud of same old same old. Of worth, too, is the time setting of the story, coming as it does towards the back end of the Old West, we get to see many examples of the Wild West being tamed. Be it the railroad, or motor driven vehicle's, our protagonist and antagonist are old school characters framed by a changing West. This is where it pays to have Wayne and Boone in the main roles, turning it in in an old school, knowing, style. The names Clothier and Bernstein are synonymous with the Western genre, and they don't disappoint here, both the photography and score treat the eyes and the ears. And although not in it for very long, O'Hara adds a touch of class in what was the last of the five times she appeared on film with her friend Duke Wayne. In amongst the violence there's also plenty of fun, some intended courtesy of banter between Duke and his estranged sons, some not intended; such as watching the dog out act the siblings of Duke and Robert Mitchum! But all told, if you don't expect The Searchers or Hondo et all, then this holds up as a good way to spend an afternoon. 7/10 Footnote: I wonder if John Carpenter watched and enjoyed this film so much he cribbed a reoccurring joke from it for Escape from New York? Big Jake keeps coming up against people who say that they thought he was dead, same thing happens to Snake Plissken in Carpenter's picture. A homage I'm sure.
This is probably the most violent of Wayne's westerns depicting a tale of an estranged husband who returns home after his grandson is taken hostage by a ruthless gang of kidnappers. This well paced thoughtful drama takes us on the journey as he - with his two sons and an almost unrecognisable Bruce Cabot set off to rescue the boy. Richard Boone is outstanding as the evil leader of the kidnappers; he really does exude a sense of threat. The production does let this down a bit, though - the music is intrusive and the look and feel makes me wonder if it was shot on tape, rather than film and the colours and light don't look so hot. It's still a good, exciting watch with some touches of humour and a very much on-form star.
Before changing his name to Richard Powers, cowboy hero Tom Keene spent the waning days of his stardom at Monogram, churning out westerns like Riding the Sunset Trail. When ingenue Betty Dawson (Betty Miles) and her kid sister Sugar (Sugar Dawn) are cheated out of their cattle ranch, Tom Sterling (Keene) and his sidekick Mendoza (Frank Yaconelli) vow to get the ranch back for the girls. This requires Sterling to cross six-guns with Pecos Dean (Gene Alcase), a former friend who'd turned bad.
Movie Star Rating : 3 Read More
To fight a poisonous weed, ranchers are burning their land. Gene is the Inspector brought in and he recommends spraying. The spraying goes well until the Larabee ranch is reached. When Larrabee refuses to allow the equipment on his land, Gene has it sprayed by airplane. Cattle must stay off recently sprayed land and when a Larrabee man shoots down the plane, the crash sends the cattle stampeding toward the newly sprayed land.
Movie Star Rating : 0 Read More
When his brother Dave is put in jail, Bill Hickok returns to help him. Dave has been charged with attempted murder when the other man drew first. Judge Barlow put him there and Bill gets the Judge to confess. Bill learns that Rance McKee is behind all the trouble and he forces the Judge into the decisions he wants. So Bill heads out by himself to face McKee in the showdown.
Movie Star Rating : 0 Read More
Johnny Williams (Johnny Mack Brown) returns to his home town of Beaufort, and finds himself when being chased by banker Henry Stevens (Tristram Coffin), Grangers Association head Les Travers (Ed Cassidy as Edward Cassidy) and real estate agent Frank Wilkins (Ted Adams.)
Movie Star Rating : 0 Read More
Wealthy rancher Bick Benedict and dirt-poor cowboy Jett Rink both woo Leslie Lynnton, a beautiful young woman from Maryland who is new to Texas. She marries Benedict, but she is shocked by the racial bigotry of the White Texans against the local people of Mexican descent. Rink discovers oil on a small plot of land, and while he uses his vast, new wealth to buy all the land surrounding the Benedict ranch, the Benedict's disagreement over prejudice fuels conflict that runs across generations.
Movie Star Rating : 7.6 Read More
Jim Killian arrives in a small Arizona town hoping to establish a peaceful life as the local preacher, but he soon finds himself in the middle of a feud between sheep ranchers and cattlemen. Leloopa, a young Native American woman, pleads for Killian's help after her shepherd father is hung by Coke Beck, the vicious son of the head cattle rancher. Killian must weigh his actions carefully lest he perpetuate the cycle of retribution and revenge.
Movie Star Rating : 5.4 Read More
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