“You can call me father. You can call me Jacob, or you can call me Jake. You can call me a dirty son of a bitch. But if you ever call me daddy again, I’ll finish this fight.”
Welcome to a special Sunday Morning Westerns installment of my Quick Daily Reviews column here on TVE. Today I’m taking a look at a guilty pleasure, childhood favorite kind of movie starring none other than the Duke himself (John Wayne for this taking notes)Richard Boone (Have Gun Will Travel) and Maureen O’Hara once again playing Mrs. Duke.
This is a very simple western, which is why it clicked so well with me as a kid. I can see now that quality wise this is nowhere near the level of movie Wayne was making alongside John Ford and Howard Hawks, but it’s about as good of that group of westerns he made that I call the “Best of the Rest”.
Wayne here plays Jacob McCandles, a big time rancher in 1911 that has been away so long that nearly everyone he knows thinks him dead.
One day a group of dirty scoundrels led by Boone raid his ranch, kill one of his sons, as well as many hired hands, and finally kidnap his grandson. This of course does not sit well with Big Jake, who proceeds to outrun a posse of Texas Rangers in those new fangled automobiles on his trusty old horse and open up a can of old school whoopass on these no good ruffians.
Along the way there is also a lot of father son bonding as McCandles’ two adult sons (played by Wayne’s real life son, and the son of Robert Mitchum) come along with him on the journey, mainly so Wayne can grunt and growl and occasionally embarrass them with zingy one liners.
Like I said, this is far from a classic, but if you dig old westerns from the era where the blood looked like bright red paint, this is one of the better ones.
Big Jake gets a three out of five: GOOD.