Excerpt: Hondo is the first of the John Wayne Batjac productions that Paramount in arrangement with the Wayne family has brought to Blu-ray. Hopefully we can look forward to the other titles in this package seeing their Blu-ray debuts in the not too distant future also (such as Big Jim McLain Island in the Sky , and The High and the Mighty ) though no announcements have yet been made. Hondo , made in 1953 and originally released for John Wayne's Batjac company by Warner Bros.
Excerpt: Hondo Lane (John Wayne, The Searchers ) is an army dispatch rider who wanders onto the property of Mrs. Angie Lowe (Geraldine Page, The Trip to Bountiful ) and her young son Johnny (Lee Aaker, Bye Bye Birdie ). Unfortunately, Mrs. Lowe's property is located in the middle of a vast battleground which will soon by occupied by warring members of the U.S. Cavalry and a local Apache tribe. Hondo offers to protect Mrs.
Conclusion: For fans of the western, John Farrow's 'Hondo' is a beloved classic that comes with one of John Wayne's most memorable performances. On the surface, the film is your standard genre fare, especially from The Duke, but pay close enough attention at what lies just beneath that and we find a story that stands out from the typical Saturday matinee feature.
Excerpt: Hondo is Western cinema to its deepest cores. John Wayne, ranchers, bucking broncos, cattle, bar fights, Apaches, rifleman, and internal conflict. Instead of wasting time with known phrases like, “It’s as American as John Wayne and apple pie,” save yourself the trouble and yell Hondo . It’s more than a stock western with Wayne at the helm of it, but a respectful turn for the Apache. Bonds have been broken as Hondo kicks off, the Apache warring with a purpose.
Summary: Note that much of the historical background for this review -- namely the discussion of the film's limited 3D screenings upon its release -- is derived from the supplementary features found on this disc, namely the Leonard Maltin/Frank Thompson commentary track. These gentleman state early in the commentary that the film received a limited, weeklong 3D run in New York and Los Angeles (and possibly in the premiere city of Houston) and was shown otherwise in 2D thereafter.
Conclusion: Seeing Hondo probably won't turn you into a John Wayne fan if you aren't already one. It will, however, show you the kind of western Wayne often made and people often liked some sixty years ago. It's not the most gripping or exciting of cinema, but its characters and plot retain enough interest to hold your attention.