the popularity of "McLintock" you have to appreciate John Wayne/Maureen
The minute they settled into that theater seat they were prepared for a wild, wild western comedy.
To these fans O'Hara was Mrs. John Wayne, not just Katherine McLintock. That's how "right" these
two actors were for one another on the big screen. They were tall and magnificent in stature; Duke the
rugged, hard working man, and Maureen the ultra feminine, gorgeous, spirited redhead. As Maureen's brother,
Charles FitzSimons (Executive Director of the Producer's Guild of American in Beverly Hills)
describes Maureen's chemistry with Duke: (from my interview with Charles on 10-29-93)
"The chemistry was unique for two reasons; Wayne is the "n-a-t-u-r-a-l-l-y" (and I will use a word
I don't like) "macho" man. In movies today you have these artificial macho - super tough heroes.
Wayne didn't have to do that! Wayne was a big man, he was physically powerful; he had
no qualms about his abilities as a man or his masculinity, and it came across - he came across as a
BELIEVABLE MALE! Maureen was a female version of that. She didn't have to put on coquettish airs
nor did she try to be a sex pot. The same thing came through from her naturally as came through
from Wayne naturally and when these two then inter-related, you've got a fantastic situation. That's
why they were such an incredible team! Everything they did had that. In real life they were incredible
friends. John Wayne use to say that Maureen was "the greatest guy he ever knew."
June: I read that he teased her a lot.
Charles: "They teased each other a lot! They had a wonderful non sexual male-female relationship that was founded on their terrific respect for each other and a wonderful sense of humor.
You know, Wayne used to go down to the Virgin Island to visit Maureen when her husband Charles Blair was alive. It was a place Duke could go to hide and not have to wear a hairpiece or worry about his stellar appearance. Both Blair and Wayne were avid chess players and spent hours playing the game. The men were great friends because Blair was in real life, everything John Wayne ever played on the screen. Charlie Blair was an incredibly heroic man. So there was a great affinity between Wayne and Charlie Blair."
Molasses, feathers and O'Hara - a very sticky combination
Stunt man Chuck Roberson who worked
with Maureen on her many stunts in "McLintock"
said, "Wet or dry, Maureen O'Hara was one of the
best looking women I have ever seen."
G.W. McLintock welcomes his seemingly reluctant estranged wife home
Now for some more behind the scenes fun with "McLintock."
One of the most memorable sequences of any John Wayne films is the spectacular mud fight from "McLintock!" Participants were cold and miserable for those few days of filming, but most of the combatants look back on it as a heck of a lot of fun, too. We're pleased to offer these memories offered by actors/stuntmen, Rudy Robbins and Tom Hennesy. (As published in "The Big Trail" fan newsletter, Tim Lilley, Editor)
TOM:We were working out in Old Tucson, filming that thing, and it was cold as hell when we filmed that sequence. I think it was around Christmas time. We had to do that scene out at a slag pit. I think I was the first guy that had to go down that thing. God, it was cold. The water would freeze every night, then they'd come put smudge pots like they use in the orchards, that burn oil, put 'em down there in the water and try at least to get the ice melted. Anyway, just before that actual sequence where we had that melee and Duke knocks half a dozen people down the slide into that water, we had a big scene. I was working with Strother Martin. I pick him up and throw him in an ore car and push him down and he falls over and goes down into the pit. But just prior to that, we've got a big melee going-- Duke comes riding in with Maureen O'Hara who's on a buckboard. He rides in to try and stop all this business and she's supposed to jump out of the buckboard and the first guy that she sees is me. I had just knocked somebody down, and I'm bending over grabbing him, and pick him up and punch him out again. Maureen is supposed to pull out a hat pin and stab me with it. It's a big scene, you know, a big tracking scene and, God, they've got all these stuntmen and extras and everybody involved, so it was important to get it right. So they come tearing in, horses snorting, she jumps out, runs up and takes her hat pin and shoves it in my butt. But I didn't feel it. So much was going on, and what she had done was use her thumb to kind of shield the pin, so it was kind of a delayed reaction from me. So Duke yells, "Cut,! Cut! And he wasn't directing the thing, it was Andy McLaglen, but when Duke's on a picture, why he's directing it, unless it was Old Man Ford. Andy was kind of a figurehead in that situation. Anyway, Duke says, "Goddamit, Maureen, what happened?" And she says "Well, he didn't jump, he didn't jump." And Duke says, "What the hell's the matter Tom?" And I said, "Well, I didn't feel it, Duke." So he says to Maureen, "Maureen, we're gonna do it again and this time I want you to shove that goddamed thing up his ass!" So Maureen, I knew Maureen and her brothers -- one of them used to come and ride my horses all the time-- and I'd worked with her before-- she kind of hesitates a minute and she says, "No, No. I'm not going to do that, Duke. Not to a Hennesy I don't! (laughing) I thought that was pretty funny.
Rudy: When we were doing the mud fight, everybody was going down off in there. Duke went down in there, Maureen O'Hara went down in there, and so Duke wanted Gordon Jones to go in there. And Gordon said, "No, I'm not going! I'm not going to do it." Finally they convinced Gordon to do it but he said, "I'm just going to
slide down sitting down, and I'm not going to go under the mud." So Duke took me aside and said, "Rudy (or "It Do", cause it's what he always called me), I want you to get over there." We had two chutes going down into that mud hole. He said, "You get over on the other one and when we knock Gordon in there, I want you to
land on top of him and shove him all the way to the bottom because he's being a butt about it, and he doesn't want to get himself dirty." So I said, "All right." So they had Gordon over on one side and me on the other. Me and this stunt man I was working with we were punching away, but we were watching. When Gordon started
sliding down, well he knocked me down and I slid right on top of Gordon and rode him to the bottom of that mud hole. He was madder than a hornet! Everybody in the company knew about it and they all got a big kick out of it. That was a fun scene.
My Interpretation of "McLintock"
(We all grasp different meanings and nuances of movies simply because we are all unique and different individuals with different preferences. I personally feel that "McLintock" is a very significant film, despite it's raucous comedic western flavor. Many people don't care for movies with "messages" but this one has quite a few)
McLintock remains one of the favorite Wayne/O'Hara westerns. I have read biographies on Duke Wayne with comments from co-workers who felt much of Duke's personal political and familial philosophies were presented in this western comedy.
G.W.'s talk with Becky when he is shooting quail is an example. G.W. came up from his bootstraps and was then a wealthy, powerful man in the Arizona territory. However, he didn't want to ever lose sight of what was really important. He wanted his only child to understand what he felt in his heart. Early in the scene Becky tries to talk to her father about the his separation from her mother. Duke is very somber and seems to listen to her rather progressive/modern ideas for that era. Having just returned from school in the East, she lost no time in displaying her new found maturity in situations. "Oh I can understand your troubles, Mama's often so, well, so petulant." And GW responds, "Petulant? You learned alotta words back East Becky. I wish to God they'd a taught you some meanings. You were only about 6 months old when your mother stayed alone with you in a sod hut under 8 foot of snow while I moved the herd 300 miles south to try and save it - saved about half of it. You were a little more than a year old at the time of the great Commanche raids...we stood of 500 plains Indians for 9 days...'petulant' Becky? I think you better go on home". This is when she gets a major definition of this important word called "respect." (Lending more credence to the scene is that the fans loved O'Hara and Wayne together because they were most believable as man and wife. One could indeed imagine the strong O'Hara doing just that; being a powerful and courageous helpmate.)
Despite his own unhappiness at the apparent failure of his marriage, GW was not about to let Becky offer criticism of her mother. He lets her know right up front that a fancy word like "petulance" is hardly a word to describe Katherine McLintock and indicates that Becky doesn't begin to know the real substance of courage and strength that is inherent in her mother. More importantly, he lets Becky know how very much he loves her mother, and always will. G.W. continues his father-daughter talk by explaining his respect of the land. He further tells her that she will not inherit his money, only a 500 acre spread. The reason? So that Becky and whomever she may someday marry might have a similar beginning to their lives; to work to earn their living and build their lives together. His final speech in that scene is quite poetic actually and certainly wise advice to his daughter:
"All the gold in the US treasury and all the harp music in heaven can't equal what happens between a man and a woman with all that growin together. I can't explain it any better than that."
It seems that Katie and G.W. had both kind of lost their way. As they became rich and powerful their need for one another diminished. Katie sought social esteem and an escape from what she considered the barbaric rugged pioneer days, and G.W. sought refuge in booze and carousing as he clung to the past. In the beginning their love sustained them as they worked together against impossible odds to make their home in the unsettled Arizona Territory. Unfortunately after years of struggle, the only one thing they still had in common was their daughter Becky. While Becky had been away at college in the East, Katie also had "packed up, picked up and moved out" on GW for a period of two years.
The film begins by building a foundation for Katie's return. We see a couple of lonely bachelors, G.W. McLintock emerging from the ranch house with an obvious hangover, and his right-hand man, Drago (played by the great actor Chill Wills) there to see to his boss' needs. Today it would be a buggy ride into town. Duke Wayne's weathered image domiantes as he grabs the reins from Drago and proceeds to haul off into town at break-neck speed, leaving Drago hanging on for dear life.
In that wild to town we get the whole spiel of just who G.W. McLintock is. A favorite screen-writer of Duke Wayne, James Grant, paints this scene with G.W. driving his wagon through a huge herd of cattle...G.W.'s cattle - so we know G.W. is a successful rancher. Midst dust and the mooing of cattle the buggy makes its way to town. The sign on the train station displays the town name "McLintock," and is another indication that G.W. is not only a wealthy rancher, but a powerful one. This particular day many homesteaders have arrived to claim the land the government has "given them." Ranch foreman explains their presence to GW stating "everyone with a plowshare and a bible and no idea what the range is for." In nothing flat GW (with the help of Drago's gunshot in the air) get the settlers attention. GW delivers a quick orientation of what they are up against trying to farm in this territory. One settler indicates that GW must begruge them the land the government as given them. GW has a retort to that comment also - "The government never gave anybody anything! Some years back a lot like you came in. Had a pretty good first year - good summer, easy winter but the next year the last rain was in Feburary and by June even the jack rabbits had sense enough to get off the Mesa." GW, feeling content that he's duly warned the homsteaders then sets about his business in town, with Drago dutifully running behind him.
Katie returns to McLintock to get GW's signature on divorce papers (an almost unheard of procedure in those days). Also on her agenda is gather up her little college graduate, Becky (who is returning to McLintock in a few days) and take her back with her to the more civilized Eastern society.
The conflict that ensues involves some pretty rowdy scenes - including the famous mudfight. It's a great amount of fun as GW desperately tries to win his wife back as she brow-beats the man through "almost" the entire picture. Of course in true Duke Wayne fashion he ultimately settles it all. The happy ending finds Becky in love with a fine young man, and Katie McLintock back in the arms of her husband. "McLintock" is such a pleasant comedic western, and the knowing Wayne and O'Hara audience accept it for just that. However, as I said earlier - it has some very profound familial statements as only Duke and Maureen can deliver them; with spice, very magnetic sexual overtones, and more importantly, respect for each one's individuality. Both husband, wife, and daughter learned some important lessons, as did the general population of McLintock. The audience has learned they'd never tire of seeing "McLintock" even after 36 years.
Editorial note: I am certainly not a film historian, and differing personal opinions notwithstanding,
it is fairly acturate to conclude that once Maureen O'Hara came and went from Duke Wayne's arms in a movie, no other actress could quite measure up in believability as his on-screen love. To say
that Maureen O'Hara was a "tough act to follow" is a gross understatement. Even in their
last teaming in "Big Jake" in 1972, although Maureen's appearance was brief and there was
no heavy contact scenes, those glances exchanged spoke volumes. You could feel their magnitism
and the plot needed little dialogue to sense the love they still maintained for one another...
enough so to imagine a wonderful reunion at the end. Another example of their unsurpassed chemistry.
IMHO (in my humble opinion).
June Parker Beck 8-21-99
The following information is from the Internet Movie Data Base at http://www.imdb.com
Full Cast and Crew for
Directed by: Andrew V. McLaglen
Writing credits: James Edward Grant
Cast (in credits order) verified as complete
John Wayne .... George Washington McLintock
Maureen O'Hara.... Katherine McLintock
Patrick Wayne .... Devlin Warren
Stefanie Powers.... Becky McLintock
Jack Kruschen.... Jake Birnbaum
Chill Wills.... Drago
Yvonne De Carlo .... Mrs. Louise Warren
Jerry Van Dyke .... Matt Douglas Jr
Edgar Buchanan .... Bunny Dull
Bruce Cabot .... Ben Sage
Perry Lopez .... Davey Elk
Strother Martin .... Agard
Gordon Jones .... Matt Douglas
Robert Lowery .... Gov. Cuthbert H. Humphrey
Hank Worden .... Curly Fletcher
Michael Pate .... Puma
Edward Faulkner .... Young Ben Sage
Mari Blanchard .... Camille
Leo Gordon .... Jones
Chuck Roberson .... Sheriff Jeff Lord
Bob Steele .... Train engineer
Aissa Wayne .... Alice Warren
Big John Hamilton .... Fauntleroy Sage
The rest of cast listed alphabetically
Danny Borzage .... Loafer (uncredited)
H.W. Gim .... Ching (uncredited)
Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales .... Carlos (uncredited)
Cliff Lyons .... (uncredited)
Hal Needham .... Carter (uncredited)
Kari Noven .... Millie Jones (uncredited)
Dean Smith .... (uncredited)
John Stanley .... Running Buffalo (uncredited)
Ralph Volkie .... Oldtimer in saloon (uncredited)
Produced by: Michael Wayne
Original Music by:Frank De Vol
Cinematography by: William H. Clothier
Film Editing by: Bill Lewis & Otho Lovering
Art Direction by: Eddie Imazu & Hal Pereira
Set Decoration by: Sam Comer & Darrell Silvera
Costume Design by:
Frank Beetson Jr.
(as Frank C. Beetson Jr.)
(as Ann B. Peck)
Web Overlander .... makeup artist
Lorraine Roberson .... hair stylist
Howard Joslin .... production manager
Robert E. Morrison .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Frank Parmenter .... assistant director
Gordon Cole .... property master
Earl Olin .... property master
Jack Solomon ... sound
Cliff Lyons .... stunt consultant
Joe Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
Tap Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
David S. Cass Sr. .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Hart .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
Tom Hennesy .... stunts (uncredited)
Loren Janes .... stunts (uncredited)
Terry Leonard .... stunts (uncredited)
Boyd 'Red' Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
Hal Needham .... stunts (uncredited)
Rudy Robbins .... stunts (uncredited)
Dean Smith .... stunts (uncredited)
Tom Steele .... stunts (uncredited)
Neil Summers .... stunts (uncredited)
Richard Chaffee .... script supervisor
'By' Dunham .... music coordinator
Richard Kuhn .... title designer
.... singers: "Love in the Country"
.... technical advisor
Essay by June Parker Beck©10-11-98 - Edited 8-21-99
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