McLintock! appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt pleased with this terrific presentation.
Sharpness was solid. The only minor instances of softness came from depth of field issues. That was unavoidable and not an issue, as the image was consistently tight and well-defined. Jagged edges and shimmering caused no problems, and edge haloes were absent. Source flaws also never became a factor in this clean presentation.
With its western setting, McLintock! didn’t boast a dynamic palette. Nonetheless, it came with occasional bright hues – mostly related to reds and greens in clothes – and the tones appeared full and dynamic. Black levels were good, and shadow detail appeared satisfying without becoming impenetrable. Everything here worked well and turned into a strong image.
This release boasts a modern Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. It remixes the original monaural audio; that version also appears on the disc. The 5.1 track seemed perfectly passable but not anything memorable.
The soundfield remained subdued. The side speakers demonstrated minor ambiance during ranch scenes and action shots. These offered decent spread and a little movement but weren’t especially active.
Music came to us with fairly vague imaging. The songs and score blended across the front in a way that created mild localization. As for the surrounds, they played a minor role. They reinforced the material in a modest way – such as via the sounds of cattle - but I thought the front channels dominated the piece.
Audio quality was acceptable. Speech seemed a little thin but was intelligible and reasonably natural. Music showed fair range/clarity, while effects came across as accurate within age-related expectations. Nothing here impressed, but the track was fine given the era in which it was recorded.
An Introduction from Leonard Maltin goes for two minutes, 39 seconds. He gives us a little background about the flick in this short but satisfying piece.
An Audio Commentary provides info from film historians Leonard Maltin and Frank Thompson, actors Maureen O’Hara, Stefanie Powers, and Michael Pate, producer Michael Wayne and director Andrew McLaglen. Maltin and Thompson sit together for a running, screen-specific piece; the others appear via separate segments edited into the final piece. We learn about cast and crew, story, characters and performances, stunts, sets and locations, costuimes, and related elements.
When this commentary works, it does so mainly via the anecdotes provided by those directly involved in the film. Maltin and Thompson seem surprisingly bland, as they mostly just identify various participants; this gives us a little perspective but doesn’t tell us a ton about the movie’s creation. The others add a mix of nice tales and help make this a mostly enjoyable piece.
Among the remaining extras, the most prominent comes from a three-part documentary called The Making of McLintock!. It runs 41 minutes, 28 seconds and includes notes from Maltin, Michael Wayne, McLaglen, O’Hara, Powers, Batjac Productions’ Gretchen Wayne, Michael Wayne’s son Christopher, actor/singer Frankie Avalon, writer Andrew Fenady, producer Arthur Gardner, writer Steve Shagan, John Wayne Cancer Institute Senior VP Public Affairs Joyce Green, stunt coordinator Roydon Clark, and stuntmen Tom Morga and Wayne Bauer.
The program covers the life and career of Michael Wayne, anecdotes from O’Hara and Powers, and the movie’s big fight sequence. We learn a reasonable amount along the way, but the show never feels especially insightful. It mostly praises all involved and includes an awful lot of happy talk. The stunt section works the best, as it gives us the most real information.
Two short featurettes follow. The Corset: Don’t Leave Home Without One! goes for seven minutes, 49 seconds and provides info from Woodbury University Fashion Study Collection curator Louise Coffey-Webb. She gives us a history of the corset. That piece of clothing plays a role in the movie, so its discussion here makes sense. This becomes an unusual program but it’s a pretty educational one.
2 Minute Fight School lasts two minutes, 18 seconds and features Morga and Bauer. They offer a short tutorial on stunt fighting in movies. Despite its brevity, it turns into a fun and interesting piece.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a photo gallery. Its 36 images mix advertisements, shots from the set and publicity elements. It brings us a fairly good collection.
On the positive side, John Wayne offers a charming, relaxed lead performance in McLintock!. However, he does so almost in a vacuum, as the other actors seem less winning, and the loose narrative doesn’t go anywhere. The Blu-ray provides excellent visuals, acceptable audio and a decent mix of bonus features. Fans will be happy with this release, but I must say the movie doesn’t do much for me.