Big Jake [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) [Import]
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An aging Texas cattle man who has outlived his time swings into action when outlaws kidnap his grandson and wound his son. He returns to his estranged family to help them in the search for Little Jake.
This is not one of the Duke's classics, but a diverting attempt nonetheless. Everyone seems to think that Jacob McCandles is six-feet under ("I thought you was dead" is a running line throughout), so some bad men kidnap his grandson. They want a piece of the family fortune and will kill to get it. Patrick Wayne, the Duke's own son, plays one of Big Jake's kids, and together they start out after the boy's abductors. Richard Boone makes a worthy adversary to Jake's larger than life figure, and the final confrontation between the two contains some great gritted-teeth dialogue. Maureen O'Hara is barely in the feature, sharing the same fate as Bobby Vinton as the boy's father. He seems to be onscreen just to get shot. --Keith Simanton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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It is 1909, the old West is quickly passing away, there are oil derricks all over the Texas horizon. The Duke plays "Jacob McCandles", a man exiled from his home "spread" for eighteen years. His estranged wife, played by O'Hara, sends him an urgent message: their little grandson has been kidnapped, come home, pronto!
The Duke arrives riding his ol' horse and carrying his familiar Colt 45. His sons (played by real life son Patrick and Chris Mitchum, and Bobby Vinton!) do not know him, except by reputation. Two of them accompany him on his man hunt. Duke is carrying one million dollars ransom money aboard an old mule. The sheriff and Texas rangers want to join the posse, but Big Jake demurs, so they set out in their newfangled automobiles to parallel his track and meet up with him later. Meet up they do, but the cars are not as durable as Duke's horse and he leaves them stranded to walk home. Also, the younger son, a "gadget freak", rides an early motorcycle, carries an automatic pistol, and a scoped rifle.
Duke and his sons are accompanied by one of the most savvy Indian scouts ever seen on the silver screen, "Sam Sharpnose", well portrayed by Bruce Cabot.
Led by lead villain Richard Boone, there are nine bandits to four pursuers... who will win in the inevitable confrontation?Read more ›
The film begins with a raid on the McCandles Ranch where Little Jake McCandles (Ethan Wayne, the Duke's youngest son, named for the character he played in "The Searchers") is kidnapped by a gang of cutthroats led by John Fain (Richard Boone). Fain demands a ransom to be delivered across the border in Mexico. The Texas Rangers are willing to do it, but Martha McCandles (Maureen O'Hara), the boy's grandmother, announces that this is a disagreeable task and needs to be done by a disagreeable man. At this point the came cuts to a close up of John Wayne peering down the barrel of a rifle. It is a great introduction to Wayne's character in the film and a fitting counterpart to the moment in "Stagecoach" when we first see the Ringo Kid and his Winchester.Read more ›
After we've been through 90 minutes of establishing trust and killing a few bad guys along the way, we come to the big showdown where the Duke tries to bluff the kidnappers, and then kill them. It's a pretty good shoot-out, and of course the good guys win.
The problem I have is that the Duke loses his best friend and his dog in the fight, as well as getting shot twice himself. When it's all over, Big Jake, his two sons, and his grandson exit with big smiles on their faces. The camera freezes on this image while the credits are rolling. It was kind of like a bad 1970's crime drama. I expected to see in bold letters, "A QUINN MARTIN PRODUCTION."
In tow are Wayne regulars, Harry Carey (disgusting tobacco chewing baddie), Bruce Cabot as the Indian tracker showing age with Jacob, Glen Corbett as breed the fast gun that faces off against Patrick Wayne in a gun fight, the most natural actor to ever grace the screen, the late Richard Boone, and a lovely appearance by the eternally beautiful Maureen O'Hara, once again playing John's long suffering wife whot loves him, but cannot live with him.
It is super to watch Wayne with Cabot, Carey, Boone and O'Hara, and Jim Davis (later rose to fame once more as Jock Ewing of Dallas) and though the film is intensely violent, I don't see it was gratuitous. The violence came from the end of a very violent era, times were changing, but not fast enough. The violence of the kidnappers had to be there to show Wayne's to-the-wall rescue of his small grandson was called for. Wayne's character was a violent man when the times called for it, but it was just as willing to let things go - if ONLY the other person walked away.
He worked well with his sons and Mitchum, and the interaction between Jacob and his two sons provides the Wayne brand humour in the film.
The times were changing for the code of the old west, and in the same way, times were changing for John Wayne....
I give Wayne credit for not pulling punches in a film that does him credit.
Most recent customer reviews
Love the movie - would love it even more if I had paid attention and not ordered a Region 2 DVD - Oh well, live and learnPublished 24 days ago by Ursula G. Webber
I am an avid fan of all John Wayne movies and am still trying to collect al of them. John Wayne was a gentle man but his portrayals are always awe inspiring.Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
what could be better than the Duke, his two sons, Christopher Mitchum (son of Robert) Ms Maureen O'Hara (RIP) super great funPublished 8 months ago by Genny Walker