“ It has a few good lines, and Wayne projects inimitable stage presence, but "The Sons" is too long by half, does not live up to its promise, and ends anticlimactically.
“ 53 years on, it seems somewhat more romanticised, and just a little bit pretentious than way back then.
“ "The Conqueror" deserves mention in this discussion but it was so unintentionally funny that the boredom is relieved.
“ The plot is engaging as it trades off the relationship dynamics of the brothers as its base while developing the story on the way to a solid conclusion.
“ Good, well made Western, traditional and enjoyable .
“ Old-fashioned western is resolutely entertaining .
“Hathways direction is tight and tho a bit on the slow side you can't switch off once watching.
“ Just good, enjoyable entertainment with a bit of a moral tale mixed in.
“This is an ill-conceived (weak screenplay) and poorly executed (Hathaway's mind-numbingly static and bland direction) mess in a bright shiny Technicolor package.
“ She is epitomized by the empty rocking chair (final shot) and a Bible she leaves behind.
“ We are also treated to another rousing score from composer Elmer Bernstien.
“ Plodding oater is paced too slowly .
“ Unfortunately, this movie is a dissapointing example in Wayne's career and Hathaway (a regular director) gives a peasant treatment to the narrative that made this one a boring exercise.
“ Not bad, but slow in spots.
“ It may be due to the fact that I’ve just gone through a run of The Duke’s films in honor of his 100th Anniversary, but I found myself more receptive to it this time around: the plot, simple as it is, being nonetheless reasonably compelling as Wayne and his three brothers (Dean Martin, Earl Holliman and Michael Anderson Jr.) contrive to get to the bottom of their father’s violent death and the ensuing loss of the family ranch to a greedy landowner (James Gregory); the latter has a wimpish son (Dennis Hopper), so he appoints a stout and aggressive gunman (George Kennedy) to defend him against the Elders.
“So what was so worth watching?
“ The range of actors: a believable John Wayne, an entertaining Dean Martin with "third-eye" act, a menacing George Kennedy, a "likable" Strother Martin in a brief role as the winner of the third eye, and a fine performance by young Dennis Hopper makes the film above average viewing.
“ The plot well there is one with bad guy's but oh how that score from Elmer Bernstein soars above the whole movie rousing action-full and stirring!
“ There is also the reassuring presence of Strother Martin in one of his many character roles; the great cinematography of Lucien Ballard; and a rousing score by Elmer Bernstein, with the title song done by the legendary Man In Black himself, Johnny Cash.
“ Bernstein and the Duke first worked together in The Comancheros and this one is every bit as good as that rousing score.
“ "The Sons of Katie Elder", though not one of John Wayne's best westerns, is very entertaining nonetheless.
“ John Wayne's Most Boring Film .
“ This slow-paced Western is a typical example of how a dull action movie can be saved by Elmer Bernstein's powerful music score, just like he does to THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and THE GREAT ESCAPE.
“ clichéd, predictable, with annoying soundtrack .
“ Director Henry Hathaway keeps the story moving providing us with breathtaking scenery and a rousing finale.
“ There is an intensity here that rewards the careful watcher, there is a breadth to this film worth a bit of slow pacing in the second half.
“ I just saw this movie some 30 years after my first viewing of the film--and surprisingly I found it to be a lot more entertaining than my first recollections of the film.
“ Wayne and Martin is a good pairing and the plot of sons seeking revenge is quite compelling.
“ It was love at first site for Dean Martin and Michael Anderson Jr. and to make matters more intense, there is a small dialog that really caught mt attention.
“ The story is pretty interesting with some compelling villains.
“ So all in all it's not without its itches, but as 60s Westerns go, The Sons Of Katie Elder is a hugely enjoyable picture to enjoy by the fireside on a Sunday afternoon.
“ That said, I found it entertaining for what it was: a story about four men trying to do right by their maw after a life of muddying the name Elder, especially John who is known for the bloodshed as a reputed gunfighter.
“The set-up of the story (involving four brothers grieving the loss of their mother is touching) and I suppose this can extend two-fold in respect of their father, but the truth is that The Sons Of Katie Elder is so boring that any aspects that set the story up seem to almost burn into insignificance...
“ It's not that this oater is all that bad, it's just that Hathaway tries to infuse his western with a deeper moral meaning than the average 60's western, and gets bogged down in boredom for his efforts.
“ It's a slow-build drama with entertaining highlights, a quality score (for the era) and a compelling final act.
“ Entertaining Wayne Oater.
“ Great old-time western with a wonderfully-rousing Bernstein score.
“The basic plot is confusing.
“ But thanks to the slow pacing you have plenty of time to think about that issue.
“ Breathtaking and lively musical score by Elmer Berstein , one of the best of Western genre along with ¨The Magnificent Seven¨ and ¨Comancheros¨ soundtracks.
“ Wayne's romance with Martha Hyer and was pointless and a waste of time; the film should have devoted the attention to better build up the relationship among the brothers.
“Here's what dragged the movie down:Wayne's just way too old for his role.
“ Very nice movie, typical of the many entertaining, solid Westerns John Wayne made in the 1960's i.
“ At the end the showdown causes the incarnation of dramatic, tragic, the frontier-conflict between savageness and civilization with a rousing happy-end.
“ From the opening scene with that locomotive spewing smoke out the top to that riveting Elmer Bernstein score I had a feeling this would be a top notch cowboy film....
“Entertaining if overlong and a bit meandering western has a good cast and direction(Henry Hathaway) and an exciting climax to maintain viewer interest.
“ "The Sons of Katie Elder" is even more boring than "Wings of Eagles", both films make you glad that they invented the remote control so that you can effortlessly change the channel.
“ Ah well, even if it's all rather pointless the biggest justification for the movie is that folks got jobs and some money must have been made.