How can you go wrong with a movie featuring the great Harry Carey as a philosophical lawman named Wistful McClintock? Well sir (or ma'am), you can't, and this first production from John Wayne's personal unit at Republic is... more » simply one of the loveliest Westerns anybody ever made. The producer-star plays gunslinger Quirt Evans who, wounded by his archrival Laredo Stevens (Bruce Cabot), is taken in and sheltered by a Quaker family--in particular, by the daughter of the household, a dark-eyed angel (Gail Russell) who could entice Satan himself to the path of virtue. Not that these good people get pushy about converting "Brother Evans." For his part, Marshal McClintock, who's amiably looked forward to hanging Quirt someday, keeps dropping by to see which happens first--Quirt's reformation, or Laredo's return to finish the job he started. Entrusting the direction to screenwriter James Edward Grant, Wayne bolstered Grant's debut by tapping Yakima Canutt to handle the hard-riding second-unit stuff. The Duke also stole a few moves from a little project he'd been working on with Howard Hawks, Red River. Such larceny may have been superfluous. Grant wrote far and away the best script Wayne had ever had at Republic, creating a gallery of memorable characters (including comparative bystanders) and developing some very entertaining business for them--especially for such juicy character actors as Paul Hurst (the Quakers' mean-spirited neighbor), Olin Howlin (a braggadocious telegraph operator), and Hank Worden. The result was a minor classic deftly blending humor, romance, authentic sweetness, and just enough leathery menace to keep things on the generic up-and-up. This one's a real treat. --Richard T. Jameson« less
"I had read numerous reviews about the equally numerous DVD releases of this 1947 John Wayne vehicle. Apparently there are some pretty bad transfers out there. The Roan Group transfer was recommended, so I purchased it, but to hedge my bets I ordered this Goodtimes release also.The Roan Group DVD was a major disappointment! It was made from a less than perfect original, is not sharp, and suffers from severe interlacing effect on every object that moves. In other words, someone moves their head or arm and there is a ghost image or fine-tooth comb effect along the leading and trailing edges. This applies to EVERYTHING that moves in the Roan DVD, and it's extremely annoying. This plus the below average image quality makes the Roan version of this film unacceptable in my opinion.Enter the Goodtimes version! After the Roan Group experience, what a pleasant surprise! This Goodtimes transfer was made from an almost virgin print, and the transfer to DVD is extremely good. The images are very sharp, fully making use of the quality available in the DVD format. I view these movies on a computer monitor, so I get to see the whole enchillada, and this DVD is very sharp, has good brightness and full detail in the shadow areas.The sound is only fair, but good enough for an old movie. In fact, I've now seen this film on TV recently, and in these two different DVD transfers, and I am convinced the poor sound quality is in the original film. This was 1947, remember!As for the movie itself, it's an unusual Wayne flick, in that big John is shown as quite vulnerable to the gentle persuasions of a Quaker family, including the incredibly appealing Gail Russell (sigh!), and a little brother played by the son of writer/director and Wayne crony James Grant. There are some excellent and entertaining characterizations and able acting, including the ever-present Harry Carey.This is an above average post-War offering from John Wayne (as producer and star this time) and a great deal in the DVD version at this low price! A nice addition to your DVD collection. But be sure to get the Goodtimes version!!!"
Well Written, Well Acted, Well Done!
Chris Peters | Austin, Texas | 02/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great Wayne flick, and a great western to boot. I wasn't expecting much from a 1940's western, and the first 15 minutes or so seemed to prove my worst fears right. There is some terribly preachy philisophical dialog between Gail Russell's Quaker father and the local athiest doctor, arguing about the inherent good in all men vs the stupidity of living life by high-ideals alone, blah blah blah. It was spoken in that stilted voice that every bit actor of the time seemed to imitate, as if they were reading the news. I could just see the ending, with the hero dead and the philosophers saying something like "All men pay the price who..." blah blah blah In comes John Wayne to save the day, with a wonderful freshness in his every manner and word. Young, cocky, Wayne's performance is totally deserving of his superstar status, and is only matched by Gail Russell, who is perhaps the best female lead of any Wayne film. Russell brings some real life to the peaceful ideals of the Quakers (which appear terribly naive given the setting), and you can't help but fall in love with her hope and beauty. The Duke matches her step for step, playing a wild boy who is only a few trigger-pulls away from a hanging. Wayne always obeys Russell's requests for non-violent, peaceful solutions to problems, yet he can't help but putting his own mischievious country-boy spin on everything.In one short scene, we discover that a mean neighbor has damed the local water source. Russell and her family pray for his cold heart to melt while Wayne rides off and intimidates him into undamming it. When the Quakers shower the neighbor with food and kindness, his heart does melt, and he thanks Wayne for "asking" him to undam the water. The Duke is stunned. And moments like these litter this movie. Watching the Duke's heart melt to Russell's charms is the best part of this movie. Their romance is perfectly paced and entirely believable. Wayne is at his romantic best, and Russell has enough ability and looks to match him. The ending is a little too neat and sudden, but I just wished I could watch another 2 hours. Great stuff."
Great Transfer to DVD!!
Carolyn Falconer | Upstate, NY | 04/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD expecting the transfer to be average at best. What a great surprise to find that this version (GoodTimes) is the best transfer of "Angel and the Badmen" that I have ever seen! No hiss on the soundtrack, and a very clean print. Considering that this is a bargin-priced DVD, you really can't go wrong. As for the film, it has always been a favortive of mine for showing the Duke somewhat out of character. He never is shown as being an evil type, just not really on the side on law & order. Thanks to a family of Quakers that takes him in, and show him kindness & human understanding, the Duke changes his ways. A real winner from 1947!"
Good western, unacceptable DVD transfer!
David | Utah | 05/19/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I ordered both this Roan Group DVD and the Goodtimes version of the same film, both available here at Amazon. This Roan Group version is of generally poorer image quality compared to the Goodtimes version, is not as sharp, has poor balance/contrast balance. It also has no chapter selection menu. Also, the Goodtimes DVD has a trailer for you to watch.Worst of all, and the thing that makes this DVD unacceptable in my opinion, is the extremely bad interlacing effect in the transfer. This causes ghost effects that are very annoying. Additionally, it is very difficult to freeze frame this DVD. The Goodtimes DVD does not suffer from any of these failings.This is a neat western (see my review of the Goodtimes version, also here at Amazon) and well worth the very reasonable price, but don't get this version! Get the Goodtimes version!"
The Roan DVD:
David | 03/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not going to comment about the story here other than to say this is a must-have movie for anyone who likes character development in a good story levened with warmth, humor and action. So far, I've seen two DVD releases of this John Wayne classic western, the Roan DVD is by far superior. The image quality of the Roan release leaves the Laserlight DVD in the dust. The latter exhibits a very soft first half and a fine quality purple hue in the second half. Not so the Roan release which is a clean and sharp representation of this 1948 B&W western. I had a brief look at the bit rate and if my player is to be believed it's mostly 10Mbps! Someone correct me if I'm mistaken about this.The mono sound quality suffers somewhat in places but is fine for the most part. I grudgingly admit the Laserlight has better overall sound quality. Features here are next to nill. There is a cast listing but that's all it is, no bios or filmographies here. There is a one-screen "making of" page with print tiny enough to make you want to use your player's zoom feature. What were they thinking?Overall, this is the best-looking video release I've seen of this film. I wish Republic would retrieve the film rights and do a proper release with superior image and sound. This is a keeper."