John Wayne, nearing the end of his fifth decade and having beaten his first bout with cancer, continued to make at least a film a year (often more than one), many of them Westerns, The Sons of Katie Elder being among the most popular of the period.
He plays the eldest Elder son, John, a Texas gunslinger reunited at his mother’s funeral with brothers Dean Martin, a gambler, Earl Holliman, and college boy Michael Anderson Jr. The brothers begin investigating the death of their father despite being warned off by the local sheriff, and when they discover that James Gregory and his son Dennis Hopper were the only witnesses, trouble ensues. Elmer Bernstein contributed another of his signature Western scores.
Writing about The Sons of Katie Elder, critic Andrew Sarris observed, “The virtues of this kind of western are largely negative: that is, anti-pop, anti-camp and anti-pretentious.”
Cast: John Wayne, Dean Martin, George Kennedy, Dennis Hopper, Martha Hyer, Earl Holliman, Michael Anderson Jr., Paul Fix, James Gregory, Jeremy Slate,
Director: Henry Hathaway
Producers: Joseph H. Hazen, Hal B. Wallis
Original Story: Talbot Jennings
Director of Photography: Lucien Ballard
Editor: Warren Low
Composer: Elmer Bernstein
Screenwriters: Harry Essex, Allan Weiss, William H. Wright
Production Designers: Hal Pereira, Walter Tyler
Set Designers: Sam Comer, Ray Moyer
USA / Paramount / 122 minutes / 1965