Hondo [1953]

Director: John Farrow
Stars: John Wayne, Geraldine Page, Ward Bond, Michael Pate, James Arness
Genre: Drama, Romance, War
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 83 minutes

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 OscarĀ®-nominated for this first film role. --Richard T. Jameson

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