The history of the depiction of the relationships of men and women and violence are as old as the history of the motion pictures. Tracy and Hepburn, Gable and Colbert, Stewart and Dietrich all were depicted in various famous movies engaged in hand to hand combat in the battle of the sexes. But my favorite pairing of all time is of course John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
The famous liberal icon and all around nasty cunt Pauline Kael once disparaged Maureen O’Hara as portraying a “John Ford” woman whose main job was to keep the home fires burning and say things like “Be careful Matt.” As usual the incoherent feminist twat had no idea what she was talking about. The women of the John Ford films were tough enduring pioneer women who were creatures of their times but who were full partners with there men. Even the citified Claudette Colbert who moved to the rough Frontier in Drums along the Mohawk, toughed up and became a full partner with her husband in the fight for survival. And no one was tougher than Maureen O’Hara.
The first pairing of Wayne and O’Hara in Rio Grande has always seemed to be the best to me. They were originally meant to star in the Quiet Man but the Studio insisted on the cavalry movie first to pay for the quaint Irish tale. The themes of honor and duty and sacrifice recur throughout Fords work and he sets up the contrast between Colonel Yorkes stern dedication to his honor and Kathleen’s devotion to a genteel ideal past of the antebellum south. North vs. South. Yankee vs. Confederate. Man vs. woman. The continual battle of opposites that attract each other. It is a staple of all the movies that Wayne and O’Hara made together.
In the Quiet Man, they are transported to Ireland as Sean Thornton woos and marries Mary Kate Danaher despite the obstacle placed in their path by her brother the Squire. The comical fist fight between Thornton and Red Will Danaher is also a staple of most of Fords best work bring a measure of comedic violence to leaven the sentiment. You know he didn’t want it to be too mushy.
If Rio Grande and The Quiet Man were the work of the master, then McClintock is homage by lesser talent. Made by Wayne’s Batjack productions it was done at the time the studio system had fallen apart and stars had to finance their own projects. Wayne was able to get financing based on the fact that it was a Western and starred him and O’Hara which was considered money in the bank. Loosely based on the Taming of the Shrew the comic violence and conflict between the rough hewn frontier and the civilizing influence of a woman were also in place. Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, the son of Victor McLaglen who played Red Danaher as well as Wayne’s faithful sergeant in so many Ford Films. McLaglen had a long career directing Westerns but he is of course just a pale imitation of the Master. And he was constrained by Wayne’s sensibility as he had his pet writer pen this trifle of a home movie. Also starring Wayne’s son they basically copied the comic fight scene from the Quiet Man but made it between a Wayne and O’Hara with a lot of slapstick thrown in. So it is not quite fair to judge McClintock in comparison with the work of the master John Ford.
Still, it is miles better than the crap these assholes produce today.