Andrew V McLaglen

It’s just come to my notice that veteran film and TV director Andrew V McLaglen has passed at the age of 94. The son of Oscar winner and John Ford favorite Victor McLaglen, his long career in showbusiness makes for impressive reading and some highly entertaining viewing. On TV he directed over a hundred episodes of Have Gun – Will Travel and wasn’t far off that total for Gunsmoke. On the big screen he helmed a number of late-era John Wayne movies and a trio of enjoyable adventures I remember seeing in the cinema back in the day – North Sea Hijack, The Sea Wolves and The Wild Geese.

31 thoughts on “Andrew V McLaglen

  1. A fascinating career, no? The critical assessment seems almost beside the point when you realize he worked with the likes of Kirk Douglas, James Stewart, Mitchum, Burton, Widmark, Wayne, Peck, Niven, Roger Moore, and on and on. An astonishingly long run, which ought to count for something!


  2. A director doesn’t have to be the most inspired or individual to be very capable and make some good movies along the way. I’ve enjoyed a fair number of McLaglen’s and at least a few are outstanding, especially the Civil War drama SHENANDOAH (1965), a beautiful film I’d consider his best and it was made in that challenging mid-60s transitional period too. I’d also recommend his very early Western GUN THE MAN DOWN (1956), an early script by Burt Kennedy, with whom McLaglen ran a kind of parallel path through the years, especially after Kennedy too became a director.


    • Yes, there is a tendency among critics to speak of the great, visionary directors and, to a greater or lesser extent, dismiss most everybody else. McLaglen made enough good and enjoyable films to deserve a bit more respect. I haven’t watched Shenandoah for many years now but it’s certainly a classy production. Gun the Man Down is a good sparse little movie that is rarely mentioned.


  3. Last message got sent a bit prematurely – here is part 2: I would add that my personal favourites would be SHENANDOAH, a fine family epic and the sadly underrated FOOL’S PARADE, both starring the great James Stewart.


  4. I’ve been watching new to me Have Gun Will Travels on Youtube-some kind soul has put up every episode. It strikes me every time, what a well-done tv show it was, with interesting, well-written characters peppering it. Good to know McLaglen had his hand in directing many episodes of this excellent show.


  5. Must admit I haven’t seen much of his work, but, looking at his credits at the imdb, he had an amazing career. I’ve got a James Stewart Westerns box set with a couple of McLaglen’s films that I haven’t watched yet, so will definitely be watching Shenandoah soon after seeing the comments on it here. I was interested to see that he was William Wellman’s assistant director on several films, including the brilliant ‘Track of the Cat’.


  6. 94 years is a good, long run, and he certainly had a long and busy career. Aside from some of the work you cited, I also have a real appreciation for ffolkes (perhaps Roger Moore’s finest hour), CHISUM and THE UNDEFEATED. Not a lot meaningful actually happens in THE UNDEFEATED, which suffers from a lack of a villain, but it’s just such a fun, freewheeling and charming piece of entertainment that I find it endlessly rewatchable. He also worked as assistant director or other crew position on some heavyweight films, including an early gig on THE QUIET MAN. Nice tribute, Colin!


  7. As a American Civil War buff I always enjoyed his 1982 miniseries ‘The Blue and the Gray’ for CBS. I know greater Civil War movies have been done since but I always liked his work on this. Plus it had a great cast: Gregory Peck as Lincoln, Rip Torn as Grant, Geraldine Page, Stacy Keach, and Warren Oates as an insane Confederate officer. With some allowances it still holds up and Mclaglen deserves some credit for that. I recommend the UNCUT DVD. Chris.


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