Howdy fellow movie goers from across the world. Today’s article is a western starring the very first action movie star known as John Wayne, (nicknamed “The Duke”) who continues to inspire America and notable actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Daniel Radcliffe, Kurt Russell, Chuck Norris, among many others to this day. John is the epitome of masculinity, a symbol of proud Americans and representing the country’s right wing political values. The western I’ve chosen as a classic movie review is called “Hondo.”
Hondo was released in 1953. (same year Disney’s Peter Pan came out) It earned good reviews from critic and movie goers alike. Plus, it made a profit at the box office. The film went on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. (Geraldine Page) Ironically, John Wayne himself didn’t get an Academy Award for Best Actor before he actually won an Oscar for “True Grit.”
Hondo is one of Hollywood’s early usage of 3-D films besides Alfred Hitchcock’s “Dial M For Murder” and “The Creature From Black Lagoon.”
The film is set in The Old West about a scout named, Hondo who’s part Indian forms a close bond with a woman and his son after her husband abandons them during an Apache attack. Suddenly, The Apaches happened to show up and Hondo must do what can to protect them.
If you wanna know why a 90’s baby like me was introduced to The Duke, my dad is a John Wayne fan and he showed me some iconic films such as True Grit, “Rio Bravo,” “The Searchers,” just to name a few. So there you have it folks, my dad introduced to me to the first action star. I also have a friend named, Eric Hoffmann (special shout-out to you) who’s the same age as me, collects VHS tapes and watches several westerns.
The following review doesn’t contain no crucial SPOILERS. I’ll give many youngsters a chance to read this article in case any of you who are my age or younger than me haven’t seen any John Wayne related picture.
Yay & Nay Elements
Yay: John Wayne did a great job for his performance as the title character.
Fun Fact: Hondo is Al Bundy’s (from Married With Children) favorite film of all time. An episode titled, “Assaults & Batteries” the film airs every seventeen years, Al learns that it’s airing but his plans got sidetracked when Peggy’s family shows up. Now that Hondo is out on DVD & Blu-Ray, Al can watch Hondo anytime he wants, as long as his family doesn’t interfere with his spare time.
Hondo’s interacting with a woman and her son serves as the main highlight for the film.
Action Sequences were pretty good featuring a chase scene, a knife fight and a battle between The Calvary & The Apache.
The film accurately recaptures the time period of The Old West set in The 1870’s.
Costume Designs reflect the atmosphere of the setting.
Set Pieces were constructed by set decorators.
Cinematography is filled with gorgeous shots of exterior locations. The camera itself felt steady without suffering from technical difficulties.
We learn a bit about Hondo’s backstory as well as Geraldine Page’s character Angie.
Hondo has a dog named Sam, who accompanies him in the wilderness, became the inspiration for “Mad Max” who adopts a German Shepard as his pet. The Mad Max films also inspired the video games series Fallout with a German Shepard named, ”Dogmeat.”
I’m not gonna lie, the dog is really Lassie. Don’t believe me? Look it up on IMDB.
James Arness makes an appearance in the film. He went on to star in “Gunsmoke” which used to be the longest running television series before The Simpsons took its title. John on the other hand, introduced Gunsmoke when the pilot episode first aired. If you want proof, there’s a clip of John uploaded on YouTube.
A death scene factors into the story. I don’t wanna tell you who it is.
Now that we live in the modern age, you can skip the intermission using your remote.
John Ford (The Searchers, The Who Short Liberty Valance, among a dozen westerns) directed the last scenes uncredited, because the actual director John Farrow, was contractually working on another movie.
Nay: To be honest, I couldn’t find anything wrong with this film. I’ll give it an Extra Point for The Cast & Crew for making a picture as flawless as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
If you’re into classic westerns, Hondo is a decent John Wayne film that’ll keep you entertained. If you’re having a difficult time looking for it like Al Bundy struggling to watch it on television, go look for it on DVD or Blu-Ray. Wanna look for more John Wayne related movies? Buy a collection on Amazon worth every penny! That’ll keep you busy pilgrims!
One thought on “Classics Review: Hondo”
Same deal with my father (He was born about 6-8 weeks into the 60s) – he was into this kind of stuff when he was pretty young. Most children from the late 50s and early 60s might’ve watched stuff like The Flintstones but he was watching Gomer Pyle and Hogan’s Heroes, mostly war/western stuff and he grew up 30 miles south of St. Louis.