Hondo (1954)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


    Plot Summary
    Hondo Lane, a despatch rider for the cavalry, encounters Angie Lowe,
    a woman living alone with her young son in the midst of hostile Apache territory.
    She presumes she is safe because the Apaches, under their chief Vittorio,
    have always left them alone.
    Later Lane has a run-in with Angie's reprobate husband and is forced to kill him,
    not knowing who he is.
    Vittorio captures Lane and to save his life, Angie tells the Apache chief
    that Lane is her husband,
    unaware that Lane has killed her real husband. In order to protect her
    from a forced marriage with one of the Apache,
    Lane reluctantly goes along with the lie, though he knows the truth
    must eventually come out, to Vittorio and to Angie, both.
    Summary written by Jim Beaver

    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... Hondo Lane
    Geraldine Page .... Angie Lowe
    Ward Bond .... Buffalo Baker, Army Indian Scout
    Michael Pate .... Vittorio, Chiricahua Apache Chief
    James Arness .... Lennie, Army Indian Scout
    Rodolfo Acosta .... Silva
    Leo Gordon .... Ed Lowe
    Tom Irish .... Lieutenant McKay
    Lee Aaker .... Johnny 'Small Warrior' Lowe
    Paul Fix .... Major Sherry
    Rayford Barnes .... Pete
    Frank McGrath .... Lowe's partner (uncredited)
    Morry Ogden .... Horse Rider-Opening Scene (uncredited)
    Chuck Roberson .... Otawanga/Cavalry sergeant killed in Indian attack
    Sam ... Hondo's dog (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Louis L'Amour (story The Gift of Cochise)
    James Edward Grant screenplay

    Original Music
    Hugo Friedhofer
    Emil Newman

    Robert Burks
    Archie Stout

    Production Management
    Nate H. Edwards .... production manager
    Andrew V. McLaglen .... unit production manager

    Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
    Nathan Barrager .... assistant director (as Nate R. Barragar)
    John Ford .... second unit director (uncredited)
    Cliff Lyons .... second unit director (uncredited)

    X Brands .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Hayward .... stunt double: John Wayne (uncredited)
    Fred Kennedy .... stunts (uncredited)
    Fred Krone .... stunts (uncredited)
    Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
    Frank McGrath .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bob Rose .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bobby Somers .... stunts (uncredited)
    Terry Wilson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Jack N. Young .... stunts (uncredited)

    Originally filmed in 3-D.

    Katharine Hepburn was originally sought for the role of Mrs. Lowe, but turned it down due to her outrage at John Wayne's activities as President of the far-right-wing Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, which endorsed, among other things, the blacklisting of "Commies, pinkos and fellow travelers" in the motion picture business. Ironically, more than 20 years later Hepburn did act with Wayne in Rooster Cogburn ... and the Lady (1975).

    Geraldine Page, a left wing liberal actress from Broadway, was horrified by the right-wing views of John Wayne, Ward Bond, James Arness and John Farrow.

    According to TCM, John Wayne won the well-trained dog Sam from his owner/trainer in a poker game after the movie wrapped.

    John Wayne was originally to be only the producer for his Batjac company, and wanted Glenn Ford for the title role. But Ford had such an unpleasant working experience with director John Farrow on their previous collaboration, Plunder of the Sun (1953), that he turned down the offer. Wayne then took on the role himself.

    In the "Married with Children" (1987) episode "Assault and Batteries," Al Bundy says that Hondo is his favorite movie of all time, and he spends the entire episode trying to watch it in peace.

    John Wayne attributed the film's moderate performance at the box office to its similarity with Shane (1953).

    Film debut of Geraldine Page.

    Pal, the dog that played Sam, was the son of Lassie. In the movie, he is supposed to be vicious and ill-tempered, but the temperatures during filming were so hot, he simply panted instead of snarling when on camera. In order to overcome this, he was kept in a special air-conditioned crate while on set and was only brought out for his shots.

    Katharine Hepburn was originally planned to have been cast as the female lead, with the idea being that her part and Wayne's would be roughly equal. However, the female lead role grew less prominent as the script was developed, until it was clearly subservient to Wayne's. Therefore, producer Bob Fellows sent a letter to Hepburn's agent expressing his belief that such a role was beneath a star of Hepburn's stature, and explaining that rather than embarrass her by offering her a part she would be forced to turn down, he decided not to offer it to her at all. The role went to Broadway actress Geraldine Page, instead, while Hepburn and Wayne finally teamed more than twenty years later in Rooster Cogburn.

    After viewing the finished film at a private screening, John Wayne jokingly said, "I'll be damned if I'm not the stuff men are made of!"

    * Crew or equipment visible: When Hondo runs up a small rise to jump on a horse, the white shirt of the person holding the horse can be seen briefly at the left.

    * Miscellaneous: The brim on Hondo's hat changes how it is bent, up or down, from one shot to the next.

    * Continuity: The Apaches throw Hondo down in the mud when they return him to Mrs. Lowe's ranch. Mrs. Lowe takes Hondo inside and seats him in a chair. The back of the chair is already wet and mud-stained before Hondo sits down in it.

    * Boom mic visible: When Hondo first encounters Ed Lowe, the shadow of a boom mic is visible in the tent.

    * Continuity: In the final battle scene at the end of the movie, the wagon being driven by Buffalo Baker has one of its lead horses go down. John Wayne cuts the animal loose and the wagon takes off with three horses pulling it. In the final scene of the movie, after the battle has concluded, the wagon rides off with a full compliment of four horses.

    * Audio/visual unsynchronized: The sound of sharpening continues after Hondo has lifted the ax from the grind stone.

    * Continuity: (At 25:00) When the Apache first appear (when Mrs. Lowe meets Vittorio for the first time), Johnny comes out to defend his mother. Silva goes to confront the boy and Johnny first tries to shoot Silva and then troughs the pistol at him. The pistol lands to the right on the ground by the pole (porch post), but then after a short scuffle, when Vittorio tells Silva to bring the boy, the pistol is laying on the porch next to where Johnny was.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Camargo, Chihuahua, Mexico
    Chihuahua, Mexico
    Delle, Utah, USA
    Lonerock, Utah, USA
    Skull Valley, Utah, USA
    Snow Canyon State Park - 1002 Snow Canyon Drive, Ivins, Utah, USA
    Tooele County, Utah, USA
    Utah, USA

    Watch the Trailer:-


    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 11 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Hondo is a Warnercolor 3D Western film made in 1953,
    starring John Wayne, directed by John Farrow.
    The screenplay is based on the July 5, 1952 Colliers short story
    "The Gift of Cochise" by Louis L'Amour.
    The book Hondo was a novelization of the film also written by L'Amour,
    and published by Bantam Books in 1953.

    This is a brilliant film, and right up there with the great ones,
    not quite a classic, but nearly, or maybe it is, what do you think?
    Duke is right at home in this role,slightly reminiscent of his first appearance
    in The Searchers and come to think of it, Angel and the Badman.

    Although John Farrow, was directing,

    Chuck Roberson noted,


    Duke's word was Law

    In fact he relied heavily on Actors and craftsmen he knew from the Ford days,
    using people like Andrew McLaglen, Archie Stout, Cliff Lyons,
    basically now becoming The John Wayne Stock Company!
    Ford turned up on the set, but Duke dispatched him off, for some menial 2nd. unit task,
    although he did direct the final battle scene.
    Ward Bond, and James Arness, were both solid in their roles.
    The strangest casting, was that of Geraldine Page, who had recently come to
    Hollywood, from Broadway.

    She said of Duke,


    "He loved to swear.....He had the warmest, most spontaneous, most wonderful laugh...
    Everybody just adored him, in the most hysterical way

    Duke and his pals considered her a peculiar eccentric!
    Duke complained of her whiny voice, and inexperience in front of the camera.

    Duke Said,


    "She may have been great on Broadway, but she didn't know a thing about making movies

    Duke was amazed, when she had been nominated for an Academy Award, for her
    However, Duke maintained, that the popularity of the very similar film
    Shane(also 1953) took the edge off Hondo.
    The movie opened to favorable reviews, and did well, making enormous profits
    across Europe and Japan.

    Michel Wayne said of his father in 1991


    Hondo holds up after all these years... I think my father, looked his best and was at his best, at the time.
    In a way that film set some of the characters he played later.It wasn't his best film,
    by a long shot, but it set his character.

    Well that sums it up nicely,

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 6 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • We enjoyed Hondo, though have not watched it nearly as much as some other movies, but I think that is because we didn't own until it came it out last year.

    It is easy to see which scenes were originally meant for the 3D glasses in original release. They do literally jump out at you! :o

    Deep Discount DVD has the Paramount release of this title, for under $10.

    Amazon has the Paramount DVD, the book by Louis L'Amour (you can get it used, starting at $0.01, plus $3.49 shipping), and of course VHS.

    Chester :newyear:

  • </span></span></span> is my all-time most favorite Western. Everything about that movie--cast, story, scenery and all; is just so classic. I remember the first time I ever saw this movie was back about 1980 or so. HBO, played it dozens of times on their station over the period of about 3 months. I watched this movie as many times as I could get away with it. The only other movie that comes as close to this one that I then never tired of is: The Big Red One. BRO, was played hundreds of times on HBO, TMC & Cinemax; in the period of about a year. Hondo was also played on Cinemax and HBO dozens more times that year.

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

  • Hi Robbie
    Looking through the information, I can't find any mention,
    of cut scenes.
    I can only assume, it was shorter, because of the costs involved,
    of filming it, in its original 3D format.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Robbie,

    As I understand it, most 3D films were generally pretty short. The reason being because the audience had to sit during the film holding a pair of 3D glasses and looking through them. After a while, people's arms and eyes started getting tired!

    Plus with the added cost of shooting in 3D, you can be sure that they weren't going to shoot anything more then was absolutely necessary.



    "I am not intoxicated - yet." McLintock!

  • Quote

    Originally posted by ethanedwards@Feb 5 2006, 04:53 AM
    This is a brilliant film, and right up there with the great ones,
    not quite a classic, but nearly, or maybe it is, what do you think?

    Couldn't agree with you more. A film I could just watch again and again. Brilliant direction and photography, a great cast of actors, and a fantastic story all add up to a solid 9/10 in my book. And Paramount did a great job of transferring the film to DVD last year.

  • Hi Mike,

    As far as I know, not yet.

    When it was released on VHS, if you didn't
    purchase it then, you were out of luck,
    cause it hasn't been released since!!

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • FINALLY! I located the collectors' edition of "Hondo" at our local H-E-B store yesterday evening and picked it up :lol: . Haven't had a chance to watch it (the wife went into the hospital the other day and, needless to say, things have been rather hectic.). But will as soon as possible.
    Cheers - Jay :D

    Cheers - Jay:beer:
    "Not hardly!!!"

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Jay J. Foraker@Jun 9 2006, 10:00 AM
    FINALLY! I located the collectors' edition of "Hondo" at our local H-E-B store yesterday evening and picked it up :lol: . Haven't had a chance to watch it (the wife went into the hospital the other day and, needless to say, things have been rather hectic.). But will as soon as possible.
    Cheers - Jay :D


    Hi Jay, please relay my best wishes to your wife for a full and speedy recovery. Also, the brief moment I got to chat w/ her by phone was a nice time.

    Take care and best regards--C. :)

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

  • Quote

    Originally posted by The Ringo Kid@Jun 10 2006, 02:52 PM
    Hi Jay, please relay my best wishes to your wife for a full and speedy recovery. Also, the brief moment I got to chat w/ her by phone was a nice time.

    Take care and best regards--C. :)


    Ditto from me as well Jay, hope your wife is feeling better.

    Oh, and you will enjoy all the extras as well as the movie!!!

    Life is hard, its even harder when your stupid!!
    -John Wayne

  • Despite Geraldine Page . I have grown to love Hondo with every viewing. It is great movie to watch and because it was originally shot in 3D it has a short running time which makes it seem like there is action all the way through the movie.

    Region 1 Print is magic too!