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Hondo [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hondo Lane a army scout comes across a ranch which is own by Mrs Lowe and her son Johnny. He informs her of the disrupt in the local Apaches and that of their chief Vittorio. Read morePublished 2 months ago by A. J. Harrison
Good John Wayne western, which in many ways is a re-hash of Shayne in plot. Wayne plays Hondo Lane, a cavalry rider who becomes a protector of a strong-willed Angie Lowe (Geraldine... Read morePublished 7 months ago by NDalby