Just Don't Call Him Daddy!
Regardless about how one feels about his arch-conservative politics,
there really isn't any secret as to why John Wayne personified what it
meant to be a star in Hollywood for decades on end. And even though he
seemed to settle into a routine of making films under his Batjac
production banner in the last decade and a half of his life without the
strong guiding hand of a John Ford, a Howard Hawks, or a Henry
Hathaway, he still put out what everyone had come to expect of the man.
Case in point, BIG JAKE.
Written by the same writers who gave Eastwood DIRTY HARRY, BIG JAKE
stars Wayne as Jake McCandles, a Texas rancher whom everyone thought
was dead because no one had seen him in eighteen years (as always,
rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated). But he is called back
into action by his estranged wife (Maureen O'Hara) after a gang of
ruthless outlaws, led by Richard Boone, shoot up his ranch, kill much
of the hired help, and kidnap his grandson (Ethan Wayne). Wayne, not
surprisingly, takes up the challenge. But he also has to keep his sons
(Glenn Corbett; Chris Mitchum) in line when they call him Daddy
(obviously, this gets a burr up the Duke's backside). They all must
venture across the Rio Grande to Boone's hideout on the Mexican side,
helped out by Wayne's trusty Indian aide (Bruce Cabot). And it all
comes down to an eminently satisfying and traditional showdown between
Wayne and Boone.
BIG JAKE is very much in the style of Wayne's other Batjac westerns
(CHISUM; THE UNDEFEATED; THE WAR WAGON; CAHILL, U.S. MARSHAL) in its
being somewhat predictable, but that predictability is precisely what
makes it a success; people want Wayne to win, and who can blame them?
Fortunately, he gets a vicious enough antagonist in Boone, who had had
a minor role in the Duke's own 1960 directorial opus THE ALAMO and who
does sagebrush villainy as well as anyone else. George Sherman, who had
directed Wayne in several B-westerns prior to the Duke's ascension to
stardom via Ford's STAGECOACH, shows he still has the directorial goods
here despite the poor health he suffered during its making (Wayne
reportedly directed significant sequences, but refused to take credit
or have Sherman taken off). BIG JAKE also has superlative
cinematography by William Clothier, no stranger to Westerns he, all of
which was done on location in what had become the Duke's favorite
Western locale--the landscape around Durango, Mexico. The only really
serious disappointment with BIG JAKE is that Wayne and O'Hara barely
have any screen time together, given how well they worked under Ford,
particularly on 1952's THE QUIET MAN, and seeing as how this was their
last joint appearance on screen (Wayne died in 1979, and O'Hara
wouldn't make another feature film until ONLY THE LONELY in 1991).
Still, just about everything else one expects from the Duke on screen
happens here in BIG JAKE, including those little bits of humor
revolving around being called "Daddy" and being thought dead. It's just
a lesson to you: You don't mess with the Duke.
And you definitely don't call him Daddy either!.
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A good J Wayne flick.
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Rio Lobo is same story line as Eldorado..
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Great movie, next to The Searchers is one of John Wayne's greatest..
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I can't watch "Big Jake" enough. John Wayne displays so much courage and morals..
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VERY GOOD MOVIE, ONE OF THE BEST.
\"No matter what else happens, no matter who gets killed I'm gonna blow your head off.\"
There has been no tougher or more formidable Western heavy than Richard
Boone He has occasionally depicted hard-bitten nobility, as his
portrayal of General Sam Houston in "The Alamo" or the ageing cavalry
officer in "A Thunder of Drums"but more often his grim, craggy
features have led him to villainy
He was Randolph Scott's intelligent, embittered adversary, smooth as a
rattlesnake and twice as treacherous, in the Tall T; he wrapped
non-conforming farmers in barbed wire in Man Without a Star; as mean,
sadistic Major Salinas, he persecuted Rory Calhoun in Way of a Gaucho;
and he gave Paul Newman a rough ride in Hombre. In "Big Jake," he
wasas alwaysa powerful presence and one of the screen's most
George Sherman's "Big Jake" was the Duke fifth and final film played
opposite the lovely redheaded Maureen O'Hara who plays, here, his wife
The movie opens in 1909 where nine men crossing the Rio Bravo into
Texas Their leadera sadistic gunrunnerJohn Fain (Richard Boone) is
ready for his bloody McCandles' raid where ten people were slaughtered
and Big Jakes's grandson, the 8-year-old Little Jacob (Ethan Wayne) is
kidnapped, and a ransom note is left demanding one million dollars in
$20 Bills for Jacob's safe return
Marthaquite sure that this job requires an extremely harsh and special
kind of man to attend it called back her husband, absent for many
years, to pay the ransom, and take back home the little boy alive
Jacob McCandles (Wayne)who has never seen his grandsonresponds to his
wife's call and organizes a hunting party to track down the dangerous
and violent men
With his two sons, his faithful Indian scout (Bruce Cabot), his loyal
dog, and with a large red strongbox packed to the back of a good mule,
McCandles initiates his very daring hunt
There are some hard feelings among Wayne's resentful boys, and as the
film progresses, Wayne's blue eyes were gentle and revealing a
wonderful caring father but also his eyes turn to blue steel as he took
that decision to get alive his grandson The heart of the film is Wayne
interacting with his wife and what he has in store for his sons next...
Patrick Wayne plays Wayne's older son who is short on ears and long on
mouth Christopher Mitchum rides a 'crazy bicycle,' carries a Bergman
1911, and a rifle with one fancy new telescope...
With great action scenes, great photography and with a terrific Elmer
Bernstein musical score, "Big Jake" is one of Wayne best Westerns .