Hondo: The Complete Series
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Based on the character created by Louis L’Amour and the John Wayne film of the same name, Hondo depicts the adventures of former cavalry scout Hondo Lane (Ralph Taeger) and his dog, Sam (himself), as he tries to broker a peace between the white settlers and the Native Americans fighting to keep their land and way of life. Ex-scout, ex-Confederate officer, and widower of a massacred Apache bride, Hondo has the right mix of perspectives needed to troubleshoot the dangers found in the lawless and powder-keg atmosphere that envelopes the Arizona Territory of the 1870s. Aiding Hondo is frontier widow Angie Dow (Kathie Brown), her son Johnny (Buddy Foster), grizzled sidekick Buffalo Baker (Noah Beery Jr.), Apache Chief Vittoro (Michael Pate), Colonel Crook (William Bryant) and Captain Richards (Gary Clarke). Notable guests include Robert Taylor, Nick Adams, Annette Funicello, Robert Reed,Claude Akins, John Carradine and Farley Granger.
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The extras were nice, nothing spectacular, though Maltin's introduction was nothing but schmaltz. His work on the commentary is good though and provides nice insight for newcomers to Wayne films.
You have two films here: a gently evolving love story and a war. The former feels awkward and proceeds in jumps and starts but perhaps it was meant to and may ring true to many. Everything seems to fall smoothly into place toward the end because John Ford directed that portion of this movie.
High points are Geraldine Page in an odd but wonderful debut for an accomplished stage actor. The other is the soaring main music theme by Hugo Friedhofer, easily the most underappreciated composer in movie history.