Wednesday 10 July 2013

Hondo [1953]

Hondo might not rank as the best film John Wayne had been part of, but it sure is a contender for the most entertaining movie he acted in. Like Shane, which was released in the same year, it too had a laconic and enigmatic, but essentially good man, with a possibly violent past taking up the responsibility of protecting a family, and like a number of John Ford films, had a strong presence of Native Americans as part of its storyline. Also, interestingly, it was made in 3D which surely was a marvel at its time. The eponymous protagonist (Wayne), a mysterious stranger, makes an unplanned stop at the small ranch at the middle of where Angie (Geraldine Page) and her young son live. Unable to move out with him as this happens to be Indian territory and the Apaches happen to be on a collision course with white folks on account of the latter having breached certain agreements, he goes off to the nearest town. However he returns when he realizes of the grave danger they are in, and when captured by the Apaches, their Major (Michael Pate) mistake him to be the lady’s husband and release him as he has, in the meantime, decided to spare the family’s life. And thus begins an initially tentative but ultimately tender romance between the world-weary man who has never settled down in one place and the sad, homely lady, while also becoming the father that the kid that never had. The spectacular battle sequence between the US Cavalry and the natives rounded up this exquisitely shot and gently affecting film. Both Wayne and Page gave fine turns too.

Director: John Farrow
Genre: Western/Romance/Action
Language: English
Country: US


Sam Juliano said...

I'm not the biggest fan of this particular western, but I can't deny it's exceedingly entertaining, and has a strong fan base. Yes the humanist appeal is substantial here.

Excellent review!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. Yes, I do remember your rather subdued response when I'd mentioned Hondo in one of your Monday Morning Diaries. Some reviewers have, in fact, gone so far as to call this the best movie that John Ford never made! I wouldn't of course go that far :)