Westerns: McClintock

I (Liz) love westerns. I guess it’s the combination of action, romance, good music, beautiful (or at least different) scenery, and, of course, horses. It was difficult to choose only a couple to post on, but since you can’t talk about westerns without mentioning John Wayne, we decided to feature a John Wayne movie—McClintock.

Liz on McClintock

One of the fun things about watching movies is recognizing actors/actresses from other films or shows. Besides John Wayne, you might recognize his frequent and much-liked companion Chill Wills, the fiery red head Maureen O’Hara (his love interest in a number of films), Mrs. Munster actress Yvonne De Carlo, and Jerry Van Dyke. Also of note is Patrick Wayne—John Wayne’s real life son—who plays the handsome Dev Warren who wins the heart of McClintock’s daughter.

Favorite scenes or Quotes:

“I don’t give jobs. I hire men.” McClintock

“Everyone works for someone. I work for everyone who’s ever ordered a steak.” (Paraphrase) McClintock

The fight where almost everyone ends up in a mud pit. I don’t know why watching someone get knocked into a mud pit, climb out, and then get knocked in again is amusing, but it is.

Dev spanking McClintock’s daughter with help from McClintock

Dev and McClintock taking up for Davy’s right to ask the girl he likes to dance

“Yes, I know I’m an Indian. But I’m also the fastest runner in town. I’ve got a college education and I’m also the railroad telegrapher. But does anybody say ‘Hello, Runner’ or ‘Hello, College Man’ or ‘Hello, Telegrapher’? No! Not even ‘Hello, Knothead’! It’s always ‘Let the Indian do it.'” I like Jake and Davy and their father/son type relationship. And can’t you connect with Davy’s frustration? At some point, I’m sure most of us have felt like we’ve been turned into a 1-D(escription) character, whether it’s by race, hair-color, talent, or something else.

The movie would be improved by: sobering McClintock, leaving out the Comanche raid, and having Mrs. McClintock better dressed during the last scene.

G.W. McClintock isn’t a sterling character by any means, but he’s likeable, fair, and a pretty good judge of people, and the movie, it’s just fun. Well, actually I guess that depends on what flaws you tend to overlook or be piqued by, as illustrated by Jaz’s comments.

Jaz on McClintock

Note: this film reflects popular viewpoints at the time of its release. As George Washington McLintock said, everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.

This is mine.

Dear creators of McLintock!: Your film is a racist, sexist production with only occasional splatterings of humor.

Don’t pretend to be all for Native American rights if you’re not. You almost had me fooled, especially with this quote:

“Yes, I know I’m an Indian. But I’m also the fastest runner in town. I’ve got a college education and I’m also the railroad telegrapher. But does anybody say ‘Hello, Runner’ or ‘Hello, College Man’ or ‘Hello, Telegrapher’? No! Not even ‘Hello, Knothead’! It’s always ‘Let the Indian do it.'” *

*By “Indian,” they mean Native American.

And then you had to go and ruin it at the end by having the Comanche tribe raid a gun stash and shoot up the town like crazed hooligans.

Here’s an idea: if you were truly in favor of Native American equality, you would have designated the runner-telegrapher-college man as Becky McLintock’s love interest. Not the recently hired ranch hand who had to drop out of college and who spanked the heroine – using an iron coal shovel – for kissing her boyfriend. This when he barely knew her. WHAT THE HECK.

In addition to more uses for coal shovels, please enlighten me as to how exactly such suggestive and sexist contact is superior to a chaperoned kiss.

And as for McLintock chasing his underwear-clad wife all over town and then spanking her with that same iron coal shovel in front of the cheering, laughing townsfolk …

There are no words.

Perhaps she overreacted as you suggest. But if a husband caroused at bars inhabited by scantily clad females, got drunk, then returned with a lipstick-stained collar and absolutely no explanation, how would a wife react?

Oh honey, forget it! Now have another slice of my apple pie while I trade these pumps and pearls for a silk nightie.

I don’t think so.

I liked and didn’t like Maureen O’Hara in this role. Her performance was forced, although you gave her character spunk (up until that idiotic spanking scene) and some good lines. Like the day after she fought in the big brawl:

Mrs. Warren: McLintock give you that black eye?

Kate (O’Hara): No! Nobody gave it to me! I WON it!

I will hand you this: the mud fight scene was funny. But not funny enough to make up for everything else.

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5 thoughts on “Westerns: McClintock

  1. I am not a fan of westerns and haven’t seen McClintock. Even so, I enjoy reading people’s reactions to movies they’ve seen and some of Lizzie and Jaz’s comments apply to works I have seen or read. As I read through the reviews I sort of imagined the reviewers doing a remake of the movie. While tend to be, at least somewhat, bothered by racism and sexism in movies, there are a couple factors to consider with respect to McClintock. First, the era in which the movie is set was a more overtly racist and sexist one than our own. Second, because the movie was a product of its time, it is not entirely fair to expect it to be free of racism and sexism. For example, the Lord of the Rings trilogy is racist and sexist in several respects but still worthy of its status as a classic of the fantasy genre. Finally, highlighting racism and sexism too much takes away from the comedy of the movie. Personally, I would go see an anachronistically anti-racist, anti-sexist, Lizzie and Jaz Western comedy remake of McClintock. I don’t see a reason for making the movie more “serious”.

    • A Liz-Jaz remake of McLintock. Hmm… intriguing.

      You bring up excellent points, Trey. Being an ardent classic film fan, many movies I enjoy contain elements of sexism and/or racism, so it’s often necessary to overlook that.
      However, the repeated message here is “control your woman, or she’ll ride all over you,” comedy-style. And after all the pro-Native American-rights talk, the unresolved end disappointed me. Add to that the fact that I’m not a fan of Westerns, so there’s no strong viewing background for me to fall back on. I’ve seen perhaps 6.5 (Cowboys and Aliens counts for a half-point, right?).
      So I reviewed it from a modern viewpoint. I appreciate the humor and agree – it should not be made more serious. Just less prejudiced. Much less.

      So, Liz, let’s get started on that screenplay!

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  3. Criticizing the movie’s early-1960’s era humor, traditions, and social standards (which were really more a reflection of the 1950’s) by judging them against those of today really doesn’t demonstrate an ability to view a movie objectively as it was presented. This lack can be forgiven if the conversation is between two friends over lunch. However, if a blogger presents himself or herself as a movie reviewer, this lack becomes a weakness that leaves credibility in doubt. Reviewing a movie is not as simple as saying you like it or that you agree with everything contained in it. It is a critique of how well a movie-maker has achieved his goal of producing a piece of entertainment that will stand the test of time. Oh, and for the record, you COMPLETELY missed the point of the Indian raid. (Yes, I said Indian – get over it. It wasn’t intended as a pejoritive, then or now. It’s the word that was used at the time the movie was made. And thank you for pointing out that “by Indians they
    mean Native Americans,” because no one reading that would have
    ever dreamed that’s what they meant.) If you will recall the trial scene
    in which the tribal chiefs made their case before the governor, THEY
    requested a “few guns to make the fight worthwhile” (by guns, they
    mean rifles) in order to retain their final bit of dignity as warriors. Wayne’s
    character arranged for them to have just that. Oh, and watch the
    movie again. They didn’t shoot up the town. They rode out with the
    Cavalry hot on their heels, just as they requested. I could debate
    each criticism, but as you have already pointed out, everybody’s
    entitled to his or her own opinion. I’ve said what I’ve said, and I’ll stand
    by it to the death.

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