A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
The Sons of Katie Elder
Three sons arrive by train and stand with a crowd gathered at their mother's funeral while the eldest brother, not wishing to be seen by the crowd, watches from a nearby ridge. When the four brothers get together, catch up and tussle about a bit they realize that their beloved mother had been swindled out of the land they were raised on, and their father had been murdered six months earlier. Now the clan seeks revenge upon the person likely responsible for both crimes. The Sons of Katie Elder from director Henry Hathaway may not seem as grave as its plot description makes it out to be. Aside from an extended final passage comprising a shootout between the brothers and the villains, this is a surprisingly lighthearted movie where we see the brothers gamble, joke, drink, fight, and muck about with each other. Among the group is Dean Martin, who is a lot of fun as the gambler of the lot who'll bet anyone over anything and will never pay for his own drinks. And of course John Wayne, who made this film shortly after a cancer operation, stands tall above all as the eldest Elder and reminds everyone what a presence he was. Although I felt the film did get bogged down by that final segment, The Sons of Katie Elder is a rousing entertainment.