Hondo (1953) Bfi Film on Film 2023

June 10th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: John Farrow | Cast: John Wayne, Geraldine Page, Ward Bond, Michael Pate, James Arness | US 83′

Despite the obligatory shots of arrows heading straight for the camera climaxing in a rousing encirclement by injuns, Hondo, based on Louis L’Amour’s best-seller, is more a character study than a straight western and stands up perfectly well played flat.

John Wayne plays army dispatch rider Hondo Lane who finds his true place in the world when he comes across a woman and her son living in a remote homestead amongst warring Apaches.

Katherine Hepburn was reputedly intended for the role eventually played by Geraldine Page (who gets an introducing credit) reputedly selected for her homely looks, so as not to outshine Duke Wayne.

Wayne doesn’t actually get to tell her she’s beautiful when she’s mad but she frequently curls her lip in the face of his swaggering machismo. @RichardChatten

BFI Film on Film Festival (8-11 June) is the UK’s first film festival dedicated to screening works solely on celluloid with films showing on rare Nitrate, 16mm, 35mm, 70mm, dual-strip 3D and Super 8.

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