best of the ’60s: JOHN WAYNE in McLINTOCK! (1963)

As part of an ongoing project of cataloging the best of the best in the decade of change, here is my first bit of reverence.

John Wayne in McLintock!
Though it isn’t the first flick you think of when someone says John Wayne (see: The Searchers, Stagecoach), it certainly was my first, and probably favorite, performance of one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood history.  As George Washington McLintock, Wayne was embracing his comical side, partnering up with equally matched The Quiet Man co-star Maureen O’Hara.  Sure, the ultimate message in the movie is highly archaic (an uppity woman deserves a good spanking?), but it’s amazing how much of a joy it was to see Wayne in a comedy.  And to top it off, his character, though misogynistic, has a rather obvious soft spot for his neighbors, the Native Americans that got their first.

Now, I’m not saying McLintock! is any picture of tolerance as far as films go, but it was a highly enjoyable foray into the ’60s for Wayne and his typically “cowboys vs. indians” motif.  If it weren’t for its Taming of the Shrew overtones (and that pesky coal shovel paddling that O’Hara’s character endures), perhaps it would’ve been a less objectionable comedy.  Looking past its glaring anti-feminist stances, McLintock! is Wayne’s best example of action comedy, and it simply can’t be topped in terms of entertainment value by anything else in his filmography.

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