Under the Radar

John Wayne Restored in 'McLintock!'

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McLintock!, originally released in 1963, is one of those later-period John Wayne movies made by his own production company Batjac. Wayne retained 100% of the rights to this movie and it's been in and out of circulation with home video releases of varying quality.

The new Blu-ray release via Paramount is a spectacular restoration. Since the Wayne family controls all the rights, I'd guess that they didn't cut any corners during the restoration process. Anyone (like me) who first saw the movie cropped on TV will be shocked by how good this looks. It's also a huge step up from the version that's been streaming on Netflix for the last few years.

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The movie itself stars a 56-year-old Wayne who's still (barely) pulling off a leading man role. He aged a lot between this one and The Green Berets in 1968 and True Grit in 1969, but he's still looks more like the star of Rio Bravo than Rooster Cogburn here. There's a lot of comic nonsense in this script, which is very loosely based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, with Maureen O'Hara in the Katharine/Kate role. It's not the movie you'd show a newcomer as an example of why Wayne was such an important actor, but it's a worthwhile two hours for anyone who's already a fan. (If you want to understand why Wayne's such a big deal, check out the beautifully restored three-movie set that pairs The Searchers and How the West Was Won with The Wild Bunch, another five-star classic that doesn't feature the Duke).

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There's another McLintock! Blu-ray that came out last year, but this one includes all of the extra features that were created for DVD a few years back (including an intro from Leonard Maltin, a commentary track from Maltin and several of the actors and documentaries about the making of the movie).

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