BIG JAKE (Theatrical Release USA 1971)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.7|5.0 Starsììì

Big Jake—typical John Wayne fare—performs as a morality story about fighting for family, justice, and maximizing happy endings. John Wayne doesn’t seem to play this role with the same toughness that he plays his True Grit character, but there’s still enough Big Wayne in the scenes to fill the screen well. Richard Boone performs with his usual ‘toughness’ as he did in Hombre, but he’s definitely not in his suave mode as in his Have Gun Will Travel television series. Maureen O’Hara plays the female counterpart to John Wayne and works that role perfectly. Watch for John Wayne’s sons, Patrick and Ethan Wayne, and Robert Mitchum’s son, Christopher Mitchum, in the film. This is a straight forward western story with nothing lacking for the western movie fan.

Storyline

John Fain (Richard Boone), his brother Will (Robert Warner), and a rat pack of criminals come to Martha McCandles’ (Maureen O’Hara) homestead, kill many of her servants, injure her son, and kidnap her grandson, Little Jake McCandles (Ethan Wayne). Martha McCandles contacts her estranged husband, Jacob McCandles (John Wayne), for help. He returns home by train and meets her at the train station. She has a chest full of money ready and he leaves on a hunt to retrieve his grandson. His two sons, James McCandles (Patrick Wayne) and Michael McCandles (Christopher Mitchum), accompany him.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director George Sherman for his directing efforts. Thank you to Executive Producer John Wayne for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Jeff McCandles (Bobby Vinton), Sam Sharpnose (Bruce Cabot), O’Brien (Glenn Corbett), and Pop Dawson (Harry Carey, Jr.).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. There is a certain moral sense that comes out of the film, but the story runs a little slow in general and the acting is what one would expect in a B-grade film.

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Ben Meyers

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