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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic Duke film
This was one of the first ever John Wayne films i saw, and from the first scene in which you find him walking over the desert alone, carrying his saddle in his arms and his dog running along beside him, he became my all time favourite movie star. This action packed, yet at times moving western finds a widow and her young boy living in a lonely farm house constantly...
Published on 20 Oct. 2003

versus
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film, bad DVD
I have to agree with everything the reviewers before me said regarding the quality of the movie.

However, I was disappointed by the DVD transfer. This film was originally shot widescreen with the best equipment around in its day (3D even!). The transfer to the 4:3 format is painful, considering the beauty of the shots that has gone lost. In some scenes, the...
Published on 21 April 2006 by b-bendertelecaster


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic Duke film, 20 Oct. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Hondo [VHS] [1954] (VHS Tape)
This was one of the first ever John Wayne films i saw, and from the first scene in which you find him walking over the desert alone, carrying his saddle in his arms and his dog running along beside him, he became my all time favourite movie star. This action packed, yet at times moving western finds a widow and her young boy living in a lonely farm house constantly terrorised by the local indian tribe. Luckily for the widow however, the duke finds his way to their home, giving the indians something to worry about. In my opinion, this movie comes close to matching John Ford's 'The Searchers' when it comes to cowboys and injuns, so go on, buy it. For fans of John Wayne, westerns or just great movies.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A man oughta do what he thinks is right., 24 Aug. 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hondo [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
A man oughta do what he thinks is right.

Leonard Maltin proudly does the intro for the DVD special edition of Hondo, his regard for the film is obvious. Maltin, who also provides a commentary track for the film, muses on the importance of Hondo in light of the 50s tonal shift in the Western genre. A time when the Western cast off its one dimensional approach of cowboy/cavalry heroes slaughtering the enemy (Indians) purely as an entertainment medium. But is Hondo any good? And is it also worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Delmer Daves'-Broken Arrow (Maltin again) which ushered in the 50s with a bold and poignant crack of the whip? The answer to both questions possibly depends on how much you enjoy John Wayne movies in the first place. Here The Duke, playing a half bred Indian it should be noted, is wonderfully framed amongst the Camargo, Chihuahua (Mexico) location. The plot (starting off like Shane, released the same year) follows an interesting course, requiring Hondo to ultimately protect those he has fell in for, while simultaneously understanding his enemy since his blood contains the very same. Also of interest is that Hondo has very much become a solitary man of the wilderness, so when his emotions lean towards love and fatherly instincts, it makes for a nice bit of in character confliction. Something that Wayne delivers with much conviction.

Geraldine Page was Oscar nominated for her role as Angie, and rightly so as well. Strong-willed and waiting out of loyalty for her thuggish husband Ed (Leo Gordon) to return to the family home. Angie herself is conflicted by her regard for the Apache and the stirrings brought about by Hondo's considerable masculine presence. Especially when a revelation later in the piece calls for her to decide her life course. All of which gives Page the license to feed off Wayne's presence, to which it provides great interplay that makes the film a potent and intriguing character piece. Stock players such as Ward Bond and James Arness aren't given much to do, and due to the film having originally being shot in 3D, the thrusts at the screen by various weapons are more quirky than impacting. But still, backed up by a fine score from Hugo Friedhofer and containing a rousing battle laden finale (apparently filmed by John Ford as director John Farrow had been called elsewhere), Hondo is a cinematic treat for like minded individuals. It's not as important as Maltin and many others would have us believe, but that doesn't stop it being an essential watch for fans of Wayne, Page and particularly those into Western's in general. 7/10
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return to form., 10 Feb. 2009
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hondo [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
"Hondo" made in 1953 is based on the short story "The Gift of Cochise", by that prolific writer of Westerns Louis L'Amour. It was something of a forgotten Western for many years until it came out on VHS a few years ago. It had long been in the vaults of John Waynes Batjac Estate. The early fifties was not the best period for Wayne fans. He made a crop of poor films such as "Big Jim McLain", "Trouble along the Way" and "Island in the Sky", but Hondo is a very pleasant return to form in his favourite genre.

The story concerns a Calvalry scout Hondo Lane played by Wayne and his relationship with a frontier woman Angie Lowe played by the stage actress Geraldine Page and her young son. (The role of Mrs Lowe was offered to Katherine Hepburn who turned it down) They live in an isolated ranch endangered by hostile Apache Indians led by their great leader Vittorio. During the story Lane clashes with both the Apache and Mrs Lowes husband gone bad. We head to an exciting finale.

The film was directed by the Australian John Farrow and also starred Ward Bond as Buffalo, Lanes sidekick. Lassie also throws in a performance as Lanes faithful dog Sam. The scenes of the Apache are surprisingly realistic given the period and it was not until the seventies with Aldrich's "Ulzanas Raid" that this realism was surpassed. Scenes from Hondo were used poignantly in Waynes last film "The Shootist" in the opening homage to his long career.

The film is a simple enough story but it is good entertainment. The colour filming is quite striking and picks up those glorious Western hues to good effect. Well actually Mexican hues as it was filmed at Camargo in that country. The role of Lane fits Wayne perfectly like an old worn favourite stetson. A memorable scene was Lanes unorthodox method of teaching Mrs Lowes young son to swim. Mrs Lowe in the process of adding she is also a non swimmer, halts mid sentence and decides to run for it, not wishing to share her sons fate. Overall a very enjoyable Western. Although not a classic it was one of Waynes better films.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was born ready, 2 July 2012
By 
G. O'Neill (Qatar) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hondo [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
John Wayne talks, walks, fights Indians, kisses women and dispenses sage wisdom as only John Wayne ever could in this classic western. There are men being men, women baking bread, Indians chasing wagon trains and its all wrapped up in a fable about honesty. There are interesting twists to the morality questions posed here. The characters are flawed, their morality is flawed but it all turns out OK in the end. There is genuine tension in the quiet moments, genuine adrenalin in the classic wagons-in-a-circle-trying-to-escape sequence and some memorable quotes like the title of this review. For me, Hondo is only second to "The Searchers" in all-time great westerns. Or maybe third to "Shane", or maybe fourth to "Pale Rider" or maybe fifth to "Outlaw Josey Wales"....................
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wayne never better, the West never more haunting, 7 Jun. 2014
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Hondo [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
1953 was the year the latest techniques in 3-D were tried out, Hondo being one of the guinea-pigs. You`d hardly know it, since the facility is used sparingly, and the film is already vivid and beautifully photographed, mostly by Robert Burks, until John Ford took over for the final scenes when main director John Farrow had to honour another contract.
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.

Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "You smell all over like a woman. I could find you in the dark, Mrs. Lowe", 25 Oct. 2012
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hondo [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
How can anybody resist a western in which John Wayne's character says such a thing to a lady (and, even more important, a married one)? I certainly couldn't. I liked almost everything in this great western, which, all John Wayne's big fan as I am, I discovered only recently.

The story happens in the time of Apache Wars, but history is very much mistreated in this film, so it is not possible to say anything more precise. A half-Indian civilian scout (and a renowned gunfighter) working for US Cavalry, Hondo Lane (John Wayne) is dispatched with a message and after losing his horse is forced to travel alone on foot through Indian territory. There, to his surprise, he discovers an isolated little farm, in which lives a woman, Mrs Angie Lowe (Geraldine Page) and her six years old son, who seem to be left alone by the overwise extremely aggressive and cruel Apaches commanded by Vittorio. This film describes a surprisingly complex romance which will ultimately develop between Hondo Lane and this mysterious married woman, when in the same time all around rages a murderous, merciless war...

The dialogs are the greatest treasure of this film. John Wayne's rough and tough as nails character delivers pearl after pearl, in principle very seriously but in fact with tons of humour. Geraldine Page plays magistrally a very civilised and gentle woman suffering in an extremely unhappy marriage and inexorably attracted by the forbidden fruit personalized by the taciturn and straight speaking "barbarian" who used to live long years amongst "savages" and even was married to an Indian woman - and who is widely known for having killed many men in gunfights (and knifefights)...

Dialogs between John Wayne and his best friend, another civilian scout named Buffalo, are also great. Even better are exchanges between Mrs Lane and Indian chief Vittorio, who tries to marry her to one of his braves, as he hates to see a "good woman wasted" by living without a man...

The weaker thing in this film is the portraying of the Apache and the violence made to history.

This film being an adaptation of a bestselling western novel, the Apache are portrayed here with all the cliches necesseary to this kind of works - they always capture alive people who killed many of them and then they always give them a chance to fight for their lives, and therefore a chance to kill even more of them... Although being essentially warlike early neolithic farmers in transition from nomadic paleolithic hunters-gatherers (and therefore very behind their times), the XIX century Apache were certainly not stupid - in fact they were very pragmatic people and in time of war any captured white settler or soldier would never receive any second chance, but would be slowly tortured to death, for the amusement of braves... And a single white woman found on their territory would be simply gang raped and then tortured to death, or, if she was really lucky, taken away as slave/concubine - but certainly never left in peace...

It is also good to remind that the real famous Chiricauha Apache chief was called Victorio (and not Vittorio) and his real fate was to die in a fight against Mexican Army (very different from what happens in the film). Also, general Crook cited all the time in this film was in reality nowhere near Apache territory in times of Victorio War (1879-80) - in real history American commander who fought Victorio was general Sheridan. Finally, the character of Vittorio in the film is almost a kind of a white knight - when in reality he ruthlessly slaughtered dozens of American and Mexican civilians and he earned a particularly nightmarish reputation with the infamous Alma massacre...

But those weaker points notwithstanding, watching this film and especially the wonderful interactions between John Wayne's and Geraldine Page's characters was such a pleasure, that I simply can not give to this western less than five stars. Enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Duke in a fast-moving classic, 21 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Hondo [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
Another great one with The Duke.He plays a cavalry scout with Native American heritage.It's similar to Shane (coincidentally made the same year)but I prefer this myself.It's a short film at just over 80 minutes but don't be fooled,it has just as many epic camera shots as the likes of The Searchers,especially during the action scenes.The DVD picture and sound quality is fantastic throughout.There's a couple of short scenes where the print looks blunt and very much like a 50's western.Maybe the print was so old that some of it was damaged.But the majority of the film looks remastered and in top condition.This classic film also has some additional featurettes as well as an audio commentary by a couple of film hisorians.Halfway through the film an intermission comes up on the screen which completely baffled me at first.But the film was shot in 3-D in 1953 and in order to change the projector halfway through this needed to happen.I don't understand why it wasn't removed for the DVD transfer though.But apart from that a great DVD treatment of a classic western.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Return to Form, 5 April 2009
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"Hondo" made in 1953 is based on the short story "The Gift of Cochise", by that prolific writer of Westerns Louis L'Amour. It was something of a forgotten Western for many years until it came out on VHS a few years ago. It had long been in the vaults of John Waynes Batjac Estate. The early fifties was not the best period for Wayne fans. He made a crop of poor films such as "Big Jim McLain", "Trouble along the Way" and "Island in the Sky", but Hondo is a very pleasant return to form in his favourite genre.

The story concerns a Calvalry scout Hondo Lane played by Wayne and his relationship with a frontier woman Angie Lowe played by the stage actress Geraldine Page and her young son. (The role of Mrs Lowe was offered to Katherine Hepburn who turned it down) They live in an isolated ranch endangered by hostile Apache Indians led by their great leader Vittorio. During the story Lane clashes with both the Apache and Mrs Lowes husband gone bad. We head to an exciting finale.

The film was directed by the Australian John Farrow and also starred Ward Bond as Buffalo, Lanes sidekick. Lassie also throws in a performance as Lanes faithful dog Sam. The scenes of the Apache are surprisingly realistic given the period and it was not until the seventies with Aldrich's "Ulzanas Raid" that this realism was surpassed. Scenes from Hondo were used poignantly in Waynes last film "The Shootist" in the opening homage to his long career.

The film is a simple enough story but it is good entertainment. The colour filming is quite striking and picks up those glorious Western hues to good effect. Well actually Mexican hues as it was filmed at Camargo in that country. The role of Lane fits Wayne perfectly like an old worn favourite stetson. A memorable scene was Lanes unorthodox method of teaching Mrs Lowes young son to swim. Mrs Lowe in the process of adding she is also a non swimmer, halts mid sentence and decides to run for it, not wishing to share her sons fate. Overall a very enjoyable Western. Although not a classic it was one of Waynes better films
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware regarding items listed as being on this Region 2 DVD., 12 April 2008
By 
Mr. David Rayner "David Rayner" (STOKE-ON-TRENT, STAFFORDSHIRE United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hondo [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
I would have given this DVD five stars, because it's an excellent transfer with a good commentary. But...extras that may have been on the Region 1 release and are misleadingly listed on the packaging of this Region 2 release are not on there.

The DVD packaging lists four extras that are not actually on the disc: New, never before seen footage; photo gallery; original theatrical trailer and a Batjac teaser. Paramount DVD, who have released this former Warner Bros release, should be taken to court and prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act.

What if someone saw this DVD in HMV or somewhere and bought it especially to see the extras listed on the box? When they got the disc home and played it, they would feel like they'd been conned. This practice of releasing the Region 2 DVD version of a film without the extras that are on the Region 1 release, even though the packaging on the Region 2 version lists those extras, has to be stopped.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I don't guess people's hearts got anything to do with a calendar", 22 Jan. 2010
By 
Humpty Dumpty (Wall St, Upton Snodsbury) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hondo [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
Having watched this through, I immediately watched it again and it grew upon me. For John Wayne, it comes along midway betwen Red River (1948) and The Searchers (1956), and if can hardly be compared to those classic westerns, it's still a serious film of considerable merit.

While the narrative is a little episodic and there's no big theme to speak of, the film's treatment of the Apaches allows them a measure of dignity (though a white actor plays their leader, Vittorio) and the film does explore the lonely existence of an effectively single woman living in the back of beyond, as well as the way in which a semi-tamed man becomes a father substitute and prospective good husband. This is a version of the good old western standby theme, the battle for men's hearts and minds between the nomadic pull of the prairie and its notions of rough justice versus the increasing spread from the east of 'civilised' values and lifestyle.

Visually, the picture's a treat. Filmed with two parallel cameras for the brief 1953 craze for 3D, the 3D element never spoils in any degree the grand Mexican landscapes against which the whole action takes place. Director John Farrow (larger-then-life father of Mia) makes the most of the huge azure skies by often employing a low camera position that silhouettes his action against the changing firmament. The action scenes are excellent, especially those that conclude the picture, and we are told that John Ford, on an impromptu visit to the set, was press-ganged into service when Farrow, having overrun his shooting schedule, had to hurry back to LA to begin on his next contracted movie. Geraldine Page, in her first film after some experience on Broadway, does well after a slightly mannered start; it can't have been easy to line up against John Wayne who's not only appearing in his zillionth western, but calling many of the shots on set. Wayne is great - making the most of his tremendous screen presence, but never stealing scenes from others nor becoming casual from familiarity with genre or stardom.

Extras are well above average. There's a full and well-planned commentary by two film historians, eg very good on JW's career, the ups and down of the location shoot, and the stunt work + a Making Of that covers much of the same ground + a short but excellent account by a Native American woman on the shameful history of The Apaches in this region.

Hondo's not as well known as it should be. I recommend it.
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Hondo [Blu-ray] [1953] [Region Free]
Hondo [Blu-ray] [1953] [Region Free] by John Farrow (Blu-ray - 2013)
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