The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)

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  • I have to agree with a lot of the posts here, a good, solid western, great way to pass a few hours

    I clumbed Pikes Peak .... you did what to Pikes Peak ?????

    George Kennedy plays a great baddie dont you think ?

    Windage & Elevation !

  • DULL Thats the best word i can use to describe this movie. seem to drag, didn't care for the story. One of the very few he made in the sixties that is not in my collection.

  • Watched this again yesterday afternoon, not one of my absolute favourites, but enjoyable. Found myself dum dum dumming along to the music naturally !!!

    Dee x

  • Sons of Katie Elder has been one of my favorites for a long while. I may be wrong, and if I am please correct me, but I believe this movie and Red River are the only two movies Duke reads the Bible on camera.
    I am a member of a bunch of online groups, and I use John Wayne holding Katie's Bible as an avatar or my signature.

  • ShortGrub, he also reads the Bible in The Three Godfathers as well. He was given a Bible in Angel and the Badman, but his friend is the one who reads from it.


    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • Well, I watched "The Sons of Katie Elder" just for this discussion last week, so I guess I can start it….

    I think this movie is one of the best! I had to edit my top 25 list, and move this into the top ten. I haven’t watched it in a while and had forgotten just how good it is.

    I think "Sons of Katie Elder" is one of Duke’s most underrated Westerns. When the classics are mentioned, this is often left out, and in my opinion it belongs up there with the best. Also many of the critics or movie experts don’t mention it much. I guess this was the time Clint Eastwood and the Sergio Leone movies were getting to be the in thing when it came to westerns, and the old school John Wayne Westerns were out. But as I said, I think this is among the best Westerns to come out of the 60’s.

    It has everything I like in a Western, (on any action movie); a good story, good characters, action, a little humor and even well done suspense. The gunfight at the creek is one of the classic Western scenes, as is the final explosive duel between John Elder and Hastings.

    If any modern film maker wants to make a good western, this is one of the films they should study to get it done right.
    I’ve been a fan of this movie for years, and have just learned recently that it was based on a true story. Instead of the fictional Elders of Texas, it was based on the Marlow Brothers of Oklahoma.

    TO sum it up, it’s a solid classic Western that belongs on any “best Western movies” list. :beer:

  • I watched it and enjoyed it as much as I always have. Some Duke films gain or lose positions in my favorites list but this one never rated very high. I enjoy it, but don't love it. It's entertaining and keeps my interest, but never made me feel like I was seeing a great classic. I think Dean Martin did a good job, but was much better in Rio Bravo. Earl Holliman was ok. I think Michael Anderson Jr. did a fantastic job as Bud. I enjoyed his enthusiasm and youthful energy. And Duke, well, Duke is always good. I thought the bridge scene was one of the better parts of the film. I think the ending could have been a little better. I would have liked Hastings to have "seen it coming" rather than just blowing up in his store.

    I hope this is ok. I always have trouble giving a critique on anything. I know what I feel, I just have a heck of a time spelling it out. lol


    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • As promised, here are my thoughts regarding the movie.

    Like most Duke movies this one was enjoyable, and in many ways the perfect film for him to make right after his surgery, he hadn't lost a step in anyway in the rough and tumble department. Although it was interesting to see how many times I could spot, who I assume was Chuck Roberson filling in for Duke in the brawl for all between the 4 brothers.
    It's a fun movie, but nothing substantial and not one that comes anywhere near my favorites. Although Duke's intro is memorable.
    I also have to acknowledge the fun performances of the always reliable Paul Fix who knew more than he should, but not enough to do anything about it and regretted it.
    George Kennedy as Curly, he's another actor who always delivers no matter how poor the material.
    John Doucette who played Hyselman, I can't believe I never realized he was also in Big Jake, he's another fun one to watch.
    Lastly, I always convinced that Morgan Hastings and Deep Throat from X-Files were played by the same person. Obviously, I was wrong.
    It's a standard revenge movie made memorable by the performances of the actors, but without them this movie is one that would quickly be forgotten.


    Film was delayed from 1964 to 1965 because Duke’s lung cancer had been discovered, and he had a lung and two ribs removed. However, he insisted on doing his own stunts. Never saw a place where he didn’t….not the ones that counted, anyway. It is said that he came close to getting pneumonia from being in the river.

    I couldn’t find anywhere that counted in the brothers’ fight scenes where Duke had a stand in. Only two places I saw. One where Bud was holding him with his back to us….hair didn’t look quite right. Also, if you frame by frame, you will see that when Bud jumped on him, Duke’s face seemed to display pain as it did when he grabbed his arms especially when he turned away from the camera very possibly to “ask” for a cut quickly. Next thing you know, there is a cut and up comes a darker and longer haired “Duke”. There would have been no reason for Roberson to double him there since they didn’t do anything except that Bud’s being on his back and pulling his arms back must have been quite painful after his chest surgery. Once it came time for him to get hit again, there was Duke. Also, you will see when Bud came at him, Duke really pushed him down hard, perhaps to keep him from his body hitting his chest, and you can see the real pain that act caused him right before the punch from both brothers. Second place was probably Roberson falling through the screen door. It was definitely Duke when he got the punches from Dino and Earl, but I saw him look back and his hand grab the door jamb as he was falling backwards which straightened him up to keep him from falling. Cut, and then out falls hard, turned in a different direction than Duke had been, a dark haired fellah in Duke’s clothes…right under the screen. Then, up comes Duke. Well done. Always wondered why they didn’t cut and lighten Chuck’s hair! But then, most folks would never notice, so why would they?

    I loved all of the actors in this movie….just really introduced to Bud but thought he did a great job.

    Seeing folks I recognized amongst the town people was a big plus as always. Paul Fix helps to make any movie exceptional in my book. Heck, I watched The Rifleman as a child for him more than for Chuck Conners. Later I had to babysit Chuck when he was doing drugs to make sure he made it to the first tee in time for his tee off in the Atlanta Classic Golf Tournament. Glad to have seen him at my club in The Springs years later “clean”. We talked in the coffee shop, and I told him of my love for Paul Fix. Seems as if the feeling was mutual. I also got a big kick out of the relating of Pa Bass Elder’s “duel” with roman candles and greatly enjoyed Hyselman‘s description of it as he seemed to really be remembering it and the fun of the whole escapade. He also did a super job of making you believe how much he loved and respected Katie.

    I am not big into physical violence but didn’t mind it a bit when John whacked George Kennedy’s character in the face with the ax handle. Seems as if the make-up guys didn’t show anywhere near what that kind of thing would have produced in the way of facial damage! Wonder if Web was sick that day?

    I laughed a lot and cried some also. That usually makes a pretty enjoyable movie for me….not an Oscar winner maybe, but a really nice, good movie. Duke and Dino were always great together even on Dino's show on TV!

    You may not count this, but I did immensely. For some reason or other, I could NOT help but thinking of Katie, (often called Kate), as Herself, Maureen O’Hara. I had her in my mind from the beginning of the picture, and as it progressed, the picture grew stronger. And she is the ONLY female “hero actor” of mine, that would really make a big difference in a movie to me. The way I “saw” it, she was the glue in this somewhat “rambling” story. The “glue” that made it all work well for me. That and the fact Duke refused to use a double for anything his pain could stand……seems like he was always thinking of his fans more than himself.
    And that rocking chair at the end...seemed like HERSELF was there and approved!

    Well, finally got my thoughts together. This is my first one, so I won't be insulted if a bunch of you tell me all the things I did wrong, LOL! KPKEITH

    God, she reminds me of me! DUKE

  • I had somehow missed this one in its theatrical release and had first seen it, pan and scan, on Sunday Night at the Movies. Not an optimal way to be introduced to any film. I have since seen it in its proper format but watched it again that way today and I've avoided reading all the other entries in this project. Please don't excoriate me if I'm repetitive.
    This is a movie that could only have been made if John Wayne were in it. He personified westerns in the mid '60s and I can't envision Kirk, Burt or Clint in it. The whole story revolves around Johnny Elder's reputation which is simply shorthanded by casting Duke. He surrenders his gun for most of the picture and it's obvious that he has nothing to prove by doing so.
    The director and cinematographer are flawless. Each shot of the four brothers either walking across a dusty street or riding down a slope punctuate that they are a family unit, even if they bicker and throw a semi lethal punch at each other now and again.
    The plot takes its time (hell, the audience knows who shot Bass in the back right away) in order to allow us to enjoy the reunion of the Elder brothers.
    The supporting cast is pitch perfect, even if you didn't know who they were at the time of release. George Kennedy's strange inflection early on is unsettling; Strother Martin's whiny voice is amusing; nervous and blustering Dennis Hopper is obviously seeking his father's approval; and Jeremy Slate's martinet is mitigated by his subtle attraction to Martha Hyer which prompts moving the Elders and his fatal decision to join them.
    Elmer Bernstein's music score accentuates the action and moves it along when there are some slow sections and the main theme is classic.
    Dean Martin makes a bunch of upstaging moves to call the audience's attention, like catching the coins in one overhand grab or playing solitaire with intensity.
    Mike Anderson plays it a little aggressively just as a younger brother would amongst such characters.
    Earl Holliman does what he can with a role that is underwritten, but manages to establish that he does belong to this brotherhood.
    Yet everything meshes into an extremely satisfying two hours, the likes of which can not and will not be duplicated.
    A bit of deducing: Katie and Bass were married in 1850. The date on Bass' memorial is 1890 something. That would make Johnny Elder in his forties.
    Now I'm going to read all the other entries and, probably, kick myself in the ass.

    We deal in lead friend.