Friday, June 20, 2014

Cinema Cycle - Big Jake

(Cardio Workout And Reviewing Movies At The Same Time)


DATE: 06/20/2014

TITLE: Big Jake

FORMAT: Laserdisc

TIME RIDDEN / FILM LENGTH: 1 hour 50 minutes



SYNOPSIS: A young boy is kidnapped by a band of desperadoes circa 1909.  The estranged ranch owner returns to track down his grandson and bring him back to his grandmother.

CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: John Wayne is larger than life, bad ass and he is always right.  Respect your elders and do what they tell you and you might not get killed.

PROS AND CONS: It has been a while since I have seen ‘The Duke’ in action. I had forgotten just how powerful a presence he was on screen, especially dressed in cowboy garb.  I have to say that his is not one of Wayne’s better films.  The cinematography, location shooting, soundtrack are all up there, but there isn't a lot of empathy between Wayne’s character, Jake Macandles, and his estranged sons which makes some of the dialog a bit stiff and awkward.  This is supposed to be a bonding film where the estranged father and his sons band together and learn to respect and support each other.  That is what they were shooting for, but they sort of missed the mark.

This is a film similar to Wayne’s “The Searchers”, which was a much better film in this genre. Some interesting points about the film, is that it appears that they were trying to make the western film genre a bit more ‘hip’ with the advent of the Steve McQueen / Clint Eastwood cop dramas that came out during the same period.  Since this is a turn of the century western, the new fangled technologies such as automobiles and semi-automatic weapons come into play along with the horses and rifles.  Another point of interest is the extreme graphic violence in this film. In most previous Wayne films, the violence was always implied but never shown.  That isn't the case here.  The scenes of a crazed outlaw hacking Mcandles’ trusted Indian scout and dog with a machete are particularly gruesome.

In the end, The Duke never really made a bad movie, this just wasn't one of his best. (ow, and of course, there is Maureen O’Hara acting spicy and Irish as ever)

To read an overview of this project, check out the initial post for this series.

This film is a part of my LaserDisc Collection.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film. 

This film was viewed while exercising on my recumbent cycle.  A summary of my time spent working out on my journey through movie-land can be found on