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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.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.5 Ounces
- Media Format : Box set, Color, NTSC
- Run time : 13 hours and 54 minutes
- Release date : June 6, 2017
- Actors : Ralph Taeger, Kathie Browne, Noah Beery, Jr., Gary Clarke, Buddy Foster
- Studio : Warner Archive Collection
- ASIN : B0711RGH21
- Number of discs : 4
- Best Sellers Rank: #32,617 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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of the 1953 movie
by Warner in November
Generally considered to be one of the great western movies, HONDO was only moderately successful at the box office. John Wayne believed it was because HONDO was similar to another 1953 western movie, SHANE starring Alan Ladd. SHANE was released a little earlier than HONDO.
HONDO was based upon a Louis L'amour short story, THE GIFT OF COCHISE. After the movie was released and considered by most critics to be a great movie, L'amour wrote HONDO, a very successful novelization of the movie. The screenplay was nominated for an Academy award but the nomination was withdrawn when L'amour said that it was not an original story but was based on his short story.
The movie features John Wayne in one of his best roles. Originally, Wayne intended to work on producing the movie through Batjac. He planned for Glen Ford to star in the movie but Ford had differences with director John Farrow stemming from his experiences with Farrow on PLUNDER OF THE SUN. Ironically, John Wayne had serious differences with Farrow on HONDO and later had more trouble with him when Farrow directed Wayne in THE SEA CHASE.
The cinematography is beautiful and the picture and sound are clear in the version I streamed through Amazon Prime. Wayne is joined by a strong supporting cast which includes acting great Geraldine Page in her second movie. Page was nominated for an Academy award for her role.
Note that Amazon has mixed reviews of the 1953 movie with those of the 1967 TV program.
Top reviews from other countries
I've never seen Wayne quite so tender or so restrained as here. Those who still maintain he wasn't much of an actor should watch this, Red River and Rio Bravo, then get back to the rest of us who know he was one of the finest film actors who ever drew breath or a gun.
He plays a cavalry rider in the South-West named Hondo Lane, who is first seen exhaustedly walking towards us out of the plains, his eccentric dog in tow, into the life and solitary shack of Angie Lowe, mother of son Johnny, and lonely wife to a ne'er-do-well who hasn't been seen for days.
She's played, in her feature debut, by Geraldine Page - later almost an American institution renowned for her intense stage roles - and she makes a change from the usual 'Wayne-bait', being both quietly tough and genteely dignified. It's a good match, and is surely one of the reasons why this was in fact Wayne's favourite among his own films.
Johnny is acted well by Lee Aaker, while the errant husband is played by Leo Gordon, with the young James Arness as a cavalry officer.
They are both caught between the cavalry and the Apaches, who are portrayed and treated more sensitively here than in most westerns of the period. The Apache chief is played brilliantly, and with some subtlety, by Australian actor Michael Pate.
That ornery old stalwart Ward Bond plays to the hilt a rugged, rowdy old pal of Hondo's, whose reply when asked if he's ready is: "I was born ready!"
The screenplay is by Wayne's writer of choice, the pithy James Edward Grant, and Farrow (and Ford too) direct with a masterly eye for landscape and composition. Some shots, and entire scenes, take your breath away.
It's an unusually thoughtful western, with a slightly abrupt denouement, though that simply leaves you wanting more, as well as wondering how they're all going to fare, as they ride off...
The extra features are exceptional for an old 80-minute western: a 'Making of' featurette, a short affectionate profile of Ward Bond, and a fascinating one of writer Grant, plus a commentary and a short but welcome outline of the history of the Apache tribe. There are interviews with the grown-up Aaker, remembering fondly being chucked into a river by Wayne in the 'unorthodox swimming-teaching' scene, as well as the likable Pate recalling his role as the Apache chief.
"A man oughta do what he thinks is right" says Hondo/Wayne some way into the film, and I`m very glad he thought it right to make this beautiful yet strangely modest film. It`s one of the highlights of his saddle-sore career.