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Warner Home Video presents
McQ (1974)

"I can infer anything I want now, Chief. I'm a civilian again."
- Lon McQ (John Wayne)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: May 03, 2005

Stars: John Wayne
Other Stars: Eddie Albert, Diana Muldaur, Colleen Dewhurst, Clu Gulager, David Huddleston, Al Lettieri
Director: John Sturges

MPAA Rating: PG for (violence)
Run Time: 01h:51m:13s
Release Date: May 03, 2005
UPC: 012569692305
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

The late, great, John Wayne became a Hollywood legend by appearing in a multitude of Westerns through the years. From Rio Grande to his best film, The Searchers, Wayne has always been the name in Hollywood Westerns. The early 1970s signaled the twilight of Wayne's career, as he had been battling cancer and had one of his lungs removed in 1964.

With the popularity of the genre waning, "The Duke" chose to finish up his acting career on a diverse note, agreeing to star in John Sturges' McQ in 1974. McQ is a cop/action film along the lines of (but not as good as) The French Connection and Dirty Harry. Unfortunately, I couldn't help but feel that John Wayne is simply out of his element in the rogue-cop-out-for-revenge role that was perfected by Clint Eastwood and others.

In the film, Wayne plays Detective Vaughn McQ, a hard-nosed Seattle cop whose partner has recently been shot. McQ is on a mission to find the man behind the shooting, and the trail leads, seemingly, to drug kingpin Manny Santiago (Al Lettieri). However, a few clues lead McQ to believe that his own police force might have had a hand in the crime, so he quits and decides to solve the crime as a civilian.

Even though McQ is an uneven film, and Wayne is definitely not in his element, this is still the Duke we're talking about. His classic, unmistakable voice sounds better than ever as he scolds evil drug dealers and crooked cops after they've wronged him. Plus, his intimidating presence is enough to stop many of these criminals in their tracks. McQ might not be Wayne's worst choice of roles in his career, as most of his fans believe, but it's definitely in the "bad" section of his filmography. It's a great reminder that all legends are, indeed, mortal.

Warner Home Video is releasing McQ as part of their new "John Wayne Legendary Heroes Collection" DVD set, also including the films Tall in the Saddle, The Sea Chase, The Train Robbers, and Blood Alley. While McQ is the least impressive film in this set (and one of the worst in his illustrious career), it's still a welcome addition, especially if you're a diehard fan.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Given the age and non-classic status of the film, I wasn't expecting much from this anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen transfer. The images are remarkably clear and detailed, right down to the specific threads on Wayne's 1970s wardrobe. It's amazing just how clean the transfer is! Good luck finding any dirt or grain, a simply incredible feat for the video folks to pull off. The colors, as is the case with many 1970s films, are muted, but appropriately bright and vivid during a few outdoor, lakeside scenes.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: All we have audio-wise is a mono track, which does its job of delivering the best-sounding dialogue that it possibly can. The gun shots, explosions, and other action-oriented sound effects are integrated into the mix quite nicely and never sound overly cluttered, despite the inherent restrictions of the mono format.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 32 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Tall in the Saddle, Fort Apache, Blood Alley, The Sea Chase, The Train Robbers, Cahill: United States Marshal
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Aside from a John Wayne Trailer Gallery, we also get a wonderful featurette called McQ: John Wayne in Action. This nearly seven-minute piece was shot back in 1974, and takes wonderfully candid look at the making of McQ, focusing on Wayne and the cast and crew's feelings about working with this legend. It's a real bonus to see rare, on-set interviews with Wayne himself, who shares his feelings on shooting a non-Western, action film like this.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

John Wayne's rabid fan base would likely watch him tie his shoes for two hours, so they will be more than pleased with this solid DVD. However, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who ranks McQ among the John Wayne "classics," and rightfully so.


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