Hondo

1953

Drama / Romance / War / Western

103
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 86%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 9,454

Synopsis


Downloaded times
January 12, 2021

Director

Cast

Geraldine Page as Angie Lowe
James Arness as Lennie
John Wayne as Rock
Ward Bond as Dr. Joseph Holden
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
771.8 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
PG
23.976 fps
83 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.55 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
PG
23.976 fps
83 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ferbs54 8 / 10 / 10

Al Bundy Was Right!

In the 5/1/88 episode of "Married With Children," the one entitled "All in the Family," paterfamilias schlemiel Al Bundy tries--unsuccessfully, of course--to catch his favorite movie, the 1953 John Wayne vehicle "Hondo," during an ill-timed invasion of his wife's relations. Undeterred, six years later, Bundy, in the 5/8/94 episode "Assault and Batteries," again tries to catch his favorite flick, and with just as little luck. And back when, any Wayne fan could easily sympathize with the hapless sadsack. "Hondo," along with such Wayne films as "Island in the Sky" and "The High and the Mighty," was extremely difficult to see for many years: never shown on television, rarely screened in revival theatres and largely unavailable for home viewing. What Al wouldn't have given for today's current DVD from Paramount, featuring a stunning print and over an hour's worth of fascinating extras! Today, it is a simple matter to view "Hondo" at any time, and appreciate it for the highly impressive Western that it is. In the film--based on the early Louis L'Amour short story "The Gift of Cochise"--Wayne plays a part-Apache cavalry scout named Hondo Lane. When we first encounter him, in the year 1870, the footsore Hondo stumbles onto the New Mexico homestead of Mrs. Angie Lowe (Geraldine Page, the renowned NYC stage actress, here in her very first film) and her young son Johnny (appealingly played by child actor Lee Aaker). Hondo purchases a horse from Mrs. Lowe, is given a place to sleep after being provided with food and water, and, after learning that Mr. Lowe is something of a disreputable, absentee husband, helps the plain-looking mother with her chores. Trouble looms, however, when, after returning to his cavalry unit, Hondo has a run-in with a lowlife scumball whom he is forced to kill...and who turns out to be none other than Mr. Lowe! Already half in love with the woman whose husband he has just shot down, Hondo returns to the Lowe homestead with a double mission: to tell the mother and son the news of what has just transpired, and to protect the pair from an uprising of (justifiably) angry Apaches, who have recently gone on a murderous warpath.... Truth to tell, "Hondo" strikes this viewer as an unusual choice for Al Bundy's favorite John Wayne film, what with its emphasis on romance and courtship (indeed, for the first 25 minutes of the picture, Hondo and Mrs. Lowe do nothing but talk and grow close to each other), as well as father/son ties (then again, young Johnny is a lot more cute and loving than Bud Bundy could ever hope to be; perhaps Al saw in Johnny the son that he never had?). Still, the film is understandably captivating for any viewer, and boasts any number of sterling attributes. For one thing, it is a film of great visual beauty; the desert terrain outside Ciudad Camargo (Chihuahua State, Mexico), where the movie was largely shot, is often breathtaking, and just about every outdoor scene seems to be adorned by stunning cloud formations. The film also boasts several wonderful sequences, including Hondo fleeing from the Apaches on horseback, Hondo engaging in a knife fight with an Apache on top of a mesa, and, most memorably, Hondo "teaching" Johnny how to swim. This was Wayne's first Western in three years, since 1950's "Rio Grande," and fans would have to wait another three years to see him in another (arguably, Wayne's best: 1956's "The Searchers"), but he is simply terrific here as Hondo, the self-reliant loner whose creed--"I let people do what they want to do"--is one that we would all do well to emulate. Page has an interesting chemistry with him, and it is wonderful to see the homely mother blossom and grow prettier as the film proceeds, as she and Hondo fall very much in love. Page deservedly garnered an Oscar nomination (her first of eight) for her work here, ultimately losing the Best Supporting Actress statuette for that year to Donna Reed, for her fine work in "From Here to Eternity." Kudos must also be given to Australian actor Michael Pate, who would go on, 14 years later, to reprise his role as the Apache chief Vittoro in the short-lived ABC TV program "Hondo," starring Ralph Taeger (I know, I know...who?) in the title role, as well as young Aaker for his winning performance. Likewise, the great character actors Ward Bond, Leo Gordon and James Arness (two years pre-"Gunsmoke") all manage to make the most of their small but crucial roles. "Hondo" also features fine work behind the camera. With solid direction by John Farrow (husband of Maureen O'Sullivan and father of Mia, and who would go on to work with Wayne in 1955's "The Sea Chase"), in addition to uncredited direction by the legendary John Ford of the climactic battle sequence; a winning script from Wayne's favorite screenwriter, James Edward Grant; and a lovely theme song and pounding incidental music from Emil Newman and Hugo W. Friedhofer, the picture really is a fortuitous merging of great talents. Though shot in 3-D, the film is not overly reliant on in-your-face stunts to keep the viewer entertained; indeed, other than a few knife thrusts into the camera, there are few such tricks to speak of, and the film looks and works just fine in 2-D (apparently, "Hondo" was only shown in 3-D during the first week of its initial run, anyway!). The bottom line is that while "Hondo" may not be the Wayne masterpiece that "Stagecoach," "Red River" and "The Searchers" are, it yet remains a very solid, artfully made and highly entertaining picture. As it turns out, Al Bundy had good reason to rush home and turn on his television set....

Reviewed by jpdoherty 7 / 10 / 10

Memorable John Wayne Western.

Made in 1953 Warner Bros. HONDO is a good entertaining western. A Wayne/Fellows production it was originally filmed in the short lived process of 3D but here is thankfully without many of the gimmicks associated with that format. Nicely directed by John Farrow the picture has become well established over the years as one of John Wayne's better westerns.From a novel by Louis L'Amour it had a fine screenplay devised by James Edward Grant and was glowingly photographed in Warnercolor by Robert Burks and Archie Stout. John Wayne is Hondo Lane a dispatch rider for the U.S. cavalry in 1874 who, after having his horse shot from under him by Indians stumbles across an isolated ranch occupied by a deserted woman (Geraldine Page) and her young son (Lee Aaker). At first the woman is suspicious of the stranger but she soon realizes he means no harm and later develops deep feelings for him. She gives him a horse (which he had broken) so he can get back to the fort where he learns that because of the Apache unrest the army is about to ride out and evacuate families from the outlying ranches and take to the field against the fearsome Apache leader Vittorio (Michael Pate). Hondo must now return to the ranch and help bring the woman and the boy to safety. But on his journey he tangles with and is forced to kill a would-be assassin (Leo Gordan) who he discovers is the woman's errant husband. Then in a brilliant chase sequence he is run down and captured by the Apaches but Vittorio, who is fond of the boy, releases him back to the ranch. The picture ends in a spectacular fashion with a full scale desert battle between the cavalry and the Apache horde. Performances are splendid. Wayne is especially good as is Geraldine Page. Page, a New York stage actress in her first film is very impressive and her early scenes with Wayne are engaging and pleasing. However I have a couple of quibbles about the production of HONDO. Firstly, Wayne's stunt double is a very slight and much smaller man than the actor. His height and size is jarringly obvious in a few scenes such as the horse breaking sequence and the stunning chase scene. Then the second half of the movie - which is reputed to have been directed by John Ford - somehow doesn't really jell very well with the first half at all. It almost becomes a different movie - eschewing the fine dramatic power and character development inherent in the beginning and it even relegates the woman and the boy to mere bit players. The blame for this must be laid at Ford's door. It's like he never saw the first half and just proceeded to do his own thing. His section of the film is simply a cavalry versus Indian actioneer. But then perhaps Ford wasn't totally at fault since he had no involvement in the project from the outset and probably only did the thing as a favor to Wayne. Nevertheless there is still much to enjoy in HONDO which has arresting cinematography, excellent performances, a wonderfully written first half and a vibrant score by Emil Newman and Hugo Friedhofer.

Reviewed by bsmith5552 7 / 10 / 10

Under the Blue Mexican Skies!

"Hondo" was originally filmed in the then popular 3-D process which explains the emphasis on foreground shots and a few "comin' at ya" 3-D process shots. By the time the film was released at the end of 1953, the 3-D craze was over and it was on to CinemaScope. The film has been unavailable for viewing for about 15 years. For its DVD release it has been beautifully restored to its original brilliance. The colors are rich and vibrant including the many Mexican blue sky shots. The story has a tired and horseless army scout Hondo Lane (John Wayne) coming upon an isolated ranch where he meets Mrs. Lowe (Geraldine Fitzgerald) and her young son Johnny (Lee Aaker). They have apparently been deserted by the husband and father, the brutish Ed Lowe (Leo Gordon). Hondo befriends the pair and stays around helping with the long neglected chores. Naturally an attraction develops between him and Mrs. Lowe. Finally Hondo leaves for the army post. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Lowe and Johnny are visited by a warring Apache chief, Vittorio (Michael Pate) and his warriors. Vittorio is impressed with the bravery of young Johnny and makes him a blood brother. Meanwhile back at the post, Hondo meets up with his old pal Buffalo Baker (Ward Bond). In the saloon they are confronted by Lowe and a brawl ensues. When Hondo leaves to return the horse he borrowed from Mrs. Lowe, he is followed by Lowe and his partner (Frank McGrath). Hondo and the two are ambushed by the Apaches. Following the confrontation, Hondo is forced to kill Lowe in self-defence. As Hondo rides toward the Lowe ranch, he is captured by Vittorio and his warriors. When Vittorio discovers Lowe's picture of young Johnny on Hondo he spares his life. Vittorio's sadistic chief Silva (Rodolfo Acosta) objects and Hondo is forced into a knife fight with the Indian. Hondo eventually arrives at the ranch where he continues to romance Mrs. Lowe. Vittorio believing that Hondo is Mrs. Lowe's husband, respects his bravery. Later Buffalo and another scout Lennie (James Arness) arrive with a cavalry troop sent out to bring any settlers into the army post for their safety. We learn that Vittorio has been killed and that the Apaches are now being led by Silva. Without Vittorio's protection, Hondo and the Lowes are forced to leave with the troops. Along the way they are attacked by the Apache and.................. This was one of John Wayne's better westerns however one can't help but compare certain aspects of the story with that of "Shane" released the same year. Geraldine Page received an academy award nomination as best supporting actress for this her first starring role. Long time Wayne crony Bond delivers a colorful performance as the grizzled scout Buffalo. Lee Aaker is probably best remembered for his role as "Rusty" in the TV show "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin". James Arness who was under contract to Wayne at the time would achieve lasting fame as Marshal Matt Dillon in TV's long running "Gunsmoke". Leo Gordon who was typecast as a villain went on to write several screenplays for Roger Corman in the 60s. Wayne's pal Paul Fix appears briefly as Major Sherry. John Ford directed the final battle sequence when Director John Farrow had to leave to fulfill other contractual obligations. The DVD release has an excellent commentary by Leonard Maltin (who also serves as host for the variopus segments), film historian Frank Thompson and Lee Aaker. There is a behind the scenes featurette and tributes to Ward Bond and Wayne screenwriter James Edward Grant are also included. Great action.

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