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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Shakespeare in Movies
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2481  Monday, 29 October 2001

From:           Sydney L. Kasten <
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Date:           Sunday, 28 Oct 2001 23:47:04 +0200
Subject:        Shakespeare in Movies

Richard Burt and others have kept us up to date on profane use of
Shakespearean titles, remakes of Shakespearean themes in TV and movies
as explicit translations of the play or working of the thematic matter
into the framework of an ongoing TV series, the words of Shakespeare put
into the mouth of a character and references to Shakespeare by a
character.

I recently came across a movie in which Shakespearian material was used
without explicit mention of Shakespeare in the text.

The movie "McLintock!",  termed a "comedy western" by the Internet Movie
Database, is a 1963 vehicle for John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.  The
preview or trailer suggested that we would be seeing a Western remake of
Taming of the Shrew.  In fact, it was the Tempest that popped up here
and there.

McLintock (Wayne) is a wealthy cattleman, the centre of power in the
town, whose wife has left him and the wild west taking their daughter
with her to have her educated in the fine schools of the east.  Early in
the play a group of migrants is stranded at the outskirts of the town,
among them an attractive widow (Yvonne De Carlo) and her post-adolescent
son.  The young man gains McLintock's attention through his pride and
willingness to work.  McLintock hires the young man and takes on the
widow as a housekeeper.

In due course Mrs. McLintock (Maureen O'Hara) arrives on the scene
followed some time later by the daughter (Stefanie Powers), who is
courted by a dandified oaf, the son of the local banker.

The first overt Shakespearian "quotation" that struck me was a scene in
which the young man is hard at work carrying logs from point A to point
B without any clear purpose to the task.  Later on, Mrs. McLintock
notices that her husband is not at home well after dark.  She eventually
finds him at the jailhouse playing chess with the sheriff.  A falling
down drunk scene involving McLintock and the widow follows the
housekeeper's giving notice, as the sheriff has proposed to her: one
toast leads to another   Mrs. McLintock gets her soused husband to bed.
McLintock's only discernible magic is the ability to toss his hat
accurately onto the rooftop weathervane when he arrives home three
sheets to the wind.

There is no attempt in the movie to remake a Shakespearean play, but
these few elements out of The Tempest seem so striking that I wonder
what else might be there that went over my head.

The director was Andrew V. McLaglen, the writer, James Edward Grant.

The distributors listed by the IMDB are Gemstone Entertainment (video)
(122 minute version), Goodtimes Video (128 minute version), and MPI Home
Video.

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten

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