In any form, I have come to the conclusion that Hondo features one of John Wayne’s best performances. For starters, he never looked better onscreen. Then watch him conduct a conversation with Geraldine Page while blacksmithing horseshoes, never missing a beat, and tell me he isn’t a model of what film acting is all about.
I find it hard to believe that it’s been seven years since I shot introductions for Hondo’s
As for that missing dimension, it’s a source of some frustration. The Batjac company has done a first-rate 3-D restoration which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival several years ago. I even hosted a showing at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2007. (click HERE)
The problem may not be with Wayne, but with 3-D. I’ve read that sales of 3-D television sets have not lived up to expectations, just as many moviegoers are seeking out 2-D screenings of new releases in order to save money (and headaches).
But all may not be lost. I’m told that Warner Home Video may take the plunge with Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, which would be very exciting. I’d also encourage the company to try releasing the reliable House of Wax, and Universal could hardly go wrong with Creature from the Black Lagoon (with Walter Lantz’s Woody Woodpecker cartoon Hypnotic Hick as a bonus feature). Admittedly, there wouldn’t be much of an audience nowadays for many of the programmers and potboilers that came out in 1953. I enjoyed seeing Those Redheads from Seattle and Taza, Son of Cochise at the last World 3-D Film Expo but I don’t think they’d be best-sellers today… and preparing two sets of negatives (right eye and left eye) for the exacting standards of Blu-ray is very, very costly.
There is, however, one major studio 3-D release from 1953 that’s already available…yet when I mention it to people, it seems to have escaped their notice. Sony Home Entertainment’s The Three Stooges Collection Volume 7 includes both two-reel comedy shorts featuring the Stooges, made by Columbia and producer-director Jules White: Spooks and Pardon My Backfire. Yes, they’re in anaglyph (red-green) 3-D instead of the superior Polaroid system, but they look amazingly good on a conventional TV set.