Although scarcely seen in its original 3-D, and entirely out of sight for a decade and a half after its producer-star died, Hondo has maintained a high rep among John Wayne fans--and it wasn't even directed by Howard Hawks or John Ford. (Actually, Ford did shoot some second-unit stuff while visiting Wayne on location.) Half-breed Hondo, companioned only by an antisocial dog, tends to be more sympathetic toward the Apaches than toward the white society he occasionally scouts for. He falls into uneasy friendship with a New Mexico farmwoman (Geraldine Page) whose husband deserts her for long stretches, and whose son (Lee Aaker) is blood brother to the local Apache chieftain. A good, spare frontier tale--Louis L'Amour via James Edward (Angel and the Badman) Grant--in which danger and solace come in unexpected ways. John Farrow, who did direct, brings it in at a lean 84 minutes. Page was Oscar®-nominated for this first film role. --Richard T. Jameson
Based on the Louis L'Amour story "The Gift of Cochise," this sparkling western has Wayne as a half-Indian Cavalry scout who, with his feral dog companion, finds a young woman and her son living on a isolated ranch in unfriendly Apache country. A poetic and exciting script, outstanding performances, and breathtaking scenery make this an indisputable classic. Page's debut.
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