Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, 1963's McLintock! (you've got to have that exclamation point there for maximum impact) stars John Wayne as George Washington McLintock, a man who has made a fortune raising cattle and an influential player on the local scene. George is quite excited about the impending arrival of his daughter Becky (Stefanie Powers) who has spent the last couple of years studying aboard. Complicating things for George is the not insignificant matter of Katherine McLintock (Maureen O'Hara), the wife he's been living apart from for some time now. When she moves back into the picture, he's understandably surprised though her intent to take Becky back home to the city with her obviously ruffles his feathers.
So the two women in George's live are more or less in line to cause him all manner of problem, but they're not alone in that. While George has the respect of most of his fellow farmers in the area, a slippery land agent is screwing people on deals left right and center while an agent (Strother Martin) working for the government is allowing people to move in on Comanche territory. When Becky does make it back home, she's keen to introduce her new boyfriend, Matt Douglas Junior (Jerry Van Dyke), until she starts to swoon over her dad's ranch hand, Dev (Patrick Wayne), whose mother, Louise (Yvonne De Carlo), he's just hired on as a cook. Katherine is rather nonplussed about foxy Louise's presence in the ranch. A whole lot of people are upset for a whole lot of reasons and the one man everyone seems to be turning to for help is, you guessed it, George, or 'GW' as everyone likes to call him.
By this point in their respective careers, John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara had worked together a few times, pictures like Rio Grande and The Quiet Man standing as the two obvious highlights of their collaborative efforts. They work well together in those movies and so it should come as no surprise to see that here they have some wonderful chemistry, even when constantly butting heads. Despite the fact that we never really know what caused them to split in the first place, it's obvious that they do still care for one another. George is too pigheaded and misogynist to really understand where she's coming from. Political correctness be damned, George is intent on doing things his way because he is the man of the house and that's all there is to it. On the flip side of that coin, she's too stubborn and strong willed to do anything except push back. Obviously this will and does lead to conflict in any relationship, but the two leads are solid here, offering up good performances that are effective and often times very funny. The supporting cast is good - John Wayne's son Patrick is fine in his part and it's always a treat to see the lovely Yvonne Carlo light up the screen but John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara really do most of the heavy lifting here, crafting an on-screen relationship that reminds us of The Taming Of The Shrew or maybe The Lion In Winter.
The film moves at a good pace, offering up enough action and humor to make for some fun entertainment. The movie does occasionally get buried under its own myriad of subplots, some of which wind up mattering and quite a few of which do not. This can make you start to question the logic of including some of the tangents that the movie can occasionally wander off on, but so long as you don't start to focus on those aspects of the narrative, it's hard not to have a good time with this.
It's interesting to listen to and think on Wayne's dialogue in the movie, as when you do you've got to start wondering how much of George's character is simply John Wayne being John Wayne. His obvious mistrust of the government comes through as does his 'conservative' slant of every man and woman earning their keep. George believes in the payoff that hard work can provide and makes no qualms about the fact that, as rich as he is, he does not believe in handouts. There's very much an old school right wing slant to much of what he does in the movie. None of this is unusual or out of place in Wayne's filmography but it makes for interesting food for thought. Politics aside, however, McLintock! is first and foremost a comedy and quite a successful one at that - it's easy to see why this movie remains as popular as it is, it's just a whole lot of fun.
McLintock! looks excellent in AVC encoded 2.35.1 widescreen, presented in full 1080p high definition on Blu-ray from Olive Films. There have been loads of low budget public domain releases of the film over the years but none of them can compare to this one, a remarkably clean and colorful transfer culled from elements that were obviously in excellent condition. Print damage is relegated to minor specks here and there, otherwise it's never an issue, while detail is generally excellent, particularly in close up shots. Texture impresses throughout, be it the in the creases of some leather boots or in the polish on a silver star while black levels remain strong and deep. Shadow detail isn't quite reference quality but is generally very strong while contrast looks good too. Skin tones are nice and natural looking and there are no problems with noise reduction or edge enhancement to note.
The no frills English language DTS-HD Mono track is problem free. Though there are no alternate language options, closed captioning options or subtitles provided the track is nice and clean. Properly balanced from start to finish there are no problems with any hiss or distortion. The range is a bit limited, as any mono track would be, but the score sounds really good and there's a fair bit more depth here than you might actually anticipate.
Aside from a static menu and chapter selection, there are no extra features at all on this Blu-ray disc from Olive Films.
McLintock! isn't deep but it is a lot of fun. One of the better comedic westerns that John Wayne starred in, it's well shot and it features a strong cast doing good work. The action scenes are impressive and more often than not the comedy is quite effective. Olive Films' Blu-ray is completely devoid of extra features but it does look and sound very nice indeed, making this release one that comes recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.