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Big Jake (26-May-1971)

Director: George Sherman

Writers: Harry Julian Fink; R. M. Fink

Music by: Elmer Bernstein

Producer: Michael A. Wayne

Keywords: Western

Outlaws raid the McCandles Ranch and kidnap Jacob McCandles, age 8, demanding a ransom of $1M in twenties. The matriarch of the ranch, Maureen O'Hara, calls for her estranged husband who has been 18 years absent, to rescue the boy (his grandson) and dispense justice. More violence than most of Wayne's films, still very entertaining.

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
John Agar
31-Jan-1921 7-Apr-2002 Sands of Iwo Jima
Richard Boone
18-Jun-1917 10-Jan-1981 Have Gun, Will Travel
Bruce Cabot
20-Apr-1904 3-May-1972 Saved Fay Wray from King Kong
Harry Carey, Jr.
16-May-1921 27-Dec-2012 The Whales of August
Glenn Corbett
17-Aug-1930 16-Jan-1993 Lincoln Case on Route 66
Jim Davis
26-Aug-1909 26-Apr-1981 Jock Ewing on Dallas
Bernard Fox
11-May-1927 14-Dec-2016 Dr. Bombay on Bewitched
Maureen O'Hara
17-Aug-1920 24-Oct-2015 Miracle on 34th Street
Gregg Palmer
25-Jan-1927 31-Oct-2015 The Rebel Set
Bobby Vinton
16-Apr-1935   Sealed With A Kiss
John Wayne
26-May-1907 11-Jun-1979 The Duke
Patrick Wayne
15-Jul-1939   Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
Hank Worden
23-Jul-1901 6-Dec-1992 The Searchers


John Wayne   ...   Jacob McCandles
Richard Boone   ...   John Fain
Patrick Wayne   ...   James McCandles
Christopher Mitchum   ...   Michael McCandles
Bruce Cabot   ...   Sam Sharpnose
Bobby Vinton   ...   Jeff McCandles
Glenn Corbett   ...   O'Brien
John Doucette   ...   Buck Duggan
Maureen O'Hara   ...   Martha McCandles
Jim Davis   ...   Lynching Party Leader
John Agar   ...   Bert Ryan
Harry Carey, Jr.   ...   Pop Dawson
Gregg Palmer   ...   John Goodfellow
Roy Jenson   ...   Gunman
Virginia Capers   ...   Delilah
William Walker   ...   Moses Brown
John McLiam   ...   Army Officer
Bernard Fox   ...   Shepherd
Don Epperson   ...   Man in Saloon
Jim Burk   ...   Trooper
Dean Smith   ...   Kid Duffy
Ethan Wayne   ...   Little Jake McCandles
Hank Worden   ...   Hank
Tom Hennesy   ...   Mr. Sweet
Chuck Roberson   ...   Texas Ranger
Robert Warner   ...   Will Fain
Jeff Wingfield   ...   Billy Devries
Jerry Gatlin   ...   Stubby
Everett Creach   ...   Walt Devries


Review by Pat Shaffer (posted on 11-Aug-2007)

"Big Jake" is the best example of the later John Wayne - Batjac (his production company) -- with Wayne playing "The Duke" -- and surrounding himself (many for the last time) with cast and crew who had worked with him on many rugged productions. This is his final film with the actress that many consider his best female co-star, Maureen O'Hara -- Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, Wings of Eagles and McKlintock. Robust musical score by Elmer Bernstein and evocative photography by William Clothier enhance this kidnapping/ransom tale -- with a gang of thugs led by Richard Boone, in a performance described by Gary Wills, as Wayne's best opponent in these later Westerns. Directed by George Sherman, a good friend of Wayne's since doing the "3 Mesqiteers" series in the 30s, and later produced many westerns, including "The Comancheros" with Wayne. That film, the last by Hollywood veteran Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) -- was co-directed by Wayne, as the ailing Curtiz was unable to handle the work, sick as he was, so Wayne stepped in. he refused co-director credit. A similar situation arose on "Big Jake" - as Sherman, active in the 60s with Fess Parker's successful "Daniel Boone" series -- was now ailing, and John Wayne stepped up and directed many scenes - including the very successful and suspenseful final scene. The end result was the most financially successful Wayne film, of the 70's -- perhaps due to the reteaming of Wayne/O'Hara -- but also because John Wayne's fans knew that this was the Duke as they liked him best, tough, humorous and delivering the action.

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