Big Jake (1971)

“And now *you* understand. Anything goes wrong, anything at all… your fault, my fault, nobody’s fault… it won’t matter – I’m gonna blow your head off. No matter what else happens, no matter who gets killed I’m gonna blow your head off. ” – Jake

Number of Times Seen – 1 (1 May 2018)

Brief Synopsis – After his grandson is kidnapped and ransomed by a gang of criminals, a man sets out to free him however he can.

My Take on it – This is another Western that I chose to watch since it was recommended to me by my good friend Catherine of Thoughts Are Sorts who is a big fan of the genre.

I was quite impressed that even at the age of 64, John Wayne was a very commanding and powerful onscreen presence.

The story itself works quite well and despite it being a bit dark due to the idea of kidnapping for ransom, it comes across as being told really well.

I liked the way that this film is somewhat of a transitionary Western because it takes place towards the end of the Old West Era and even includes automatic guns and automobiles instead of just six shooters and horses.

Over the years, Wayne amassed a lot of actors who he enjoyed working with and it was nice to see many of them appear in this film in both small and big roles. (see Trivia below)

I heard that many viewers disliked the added bits of comic relief in this film, but I actually was happy that they did so because it allowed them to find a way to “lighten” the dark themes of this story just a bit in order to make it even more palatable.

Bottom Line – Wayne is great in this film and is just as powerful and commanding onscreen as he always was even in his waning years. The story works really well and it plays quite well as a transitionary western since it takes place during the final years of the Old West and includes automobiles and even automatic guns.  Nice to see many of Wayne’s usual “suspects” of actors in parts both big and small here. (see Trivia Below).  The jokes are typical of Wayne’s films and help keep things a bit more interesting so that it doesn’t feel too dark. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Many of the actors in the cast were members of John Wayne’s well known “stock company” of regular actors, including: Chuck Roberson (21+ actor, 30+ stunts); Hank Worden (15+); Bruce Cabot (10); Patrick Wayne (10); Harry Carey Jr. (9); Dean Smith (7 actor, 10 stunts); John Agar (6); Gregg Palmer (6); Maureen O’Hara (5); Jim Burk (5 actor, 14 stunts); Jerry Gatlin (5 actor, 11 stunts); Tom Hennesy (5 actor, 10 stunts); Richard Boone (3); Christopher Mitchum (3); John Doucette (3); Jim Davis (3); plus at least two others with two John Wayne movie acting credits. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)


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5 thoughts on “Big Jake (1971)

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