Batjac Productions

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Batjac Productions
IndustryEntertainment
Founded1952 (as Wayne/Fellows Productions)
1956 (as Batjac Productions)
Founder(s)John Wayne
Robert Fellows
Key peopleJohn Wayne
(Founder)
ProductsMotion pictures, television programs
 
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Batjac Productions
IndustryEntertainment
Founded1952 (as Wayne/Fellows Productions)
1956 (as Batjac Productions)
Founder(s)John Wayne
Robert Fellows
Key peopleJohn Wayne
(Founder)
ProductsMotion pictures, television programs

Batjac Productions is an independent film production company founded by John Wayne in the early 1950s as a vehicle for Wayne to produce as well as star in movies. Its first release was Big Jim McLain with Warner Brothers in 1952, and its final film was also with Warner Brothers, McQ, in 1974. Today, Gretchen Wayne, wife of the actor’s late son, Michael Wayne, who managed and owned the company for over 30 years before his death in 2003, is its owner and president.

About the company[edit]

Wayne and producer Robert Fellows founded Batjac in 1952 as Wayne/Fellows Productions. When Fellows left the company several years later, Wayne renamed the corporation after a fictitious trading company mentioned in the 1948 film Wake of the Red Witch. The company name in Wake of the Red Witch was spelled Batjak, but Wayne's secretary misspelled it as Batjac on the corporation papers, and Wayne let it stand. Having his own company gave Wayne artistic control over the films he made.

Among Batjac's productions: The Alamo, Hondo, Cahill U.S. Marshal, Big Jake, McLintock!, The Green Berets, Seven Men from Now, and McQ.

The most famous of all Batjac's films is Wayne's 1960 version of The Alamo, a project he had planned for several years. It was an account of the battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution of 1836. A labor of love for Wayne, The Alamo cost Wayne much of his personal fortune.

The "Lost" Wayne films[edit]

Because of a production/distribution deal with Warner Bros. and United Artists, Batjac was allowed to retain all rights to four Wayne films: the WB-distributed The High and the Mighty, Hondo, Island in the Sky, and the UA-distributed McLintock!. It also held full copyright ownership in several non-John Wayne movies, Seven Men from Now, Man in the Vault, Ring of Fear, Plunder of the Sun, Track of the Cat, China Doll, Escort West and Gun the Man Down.

After Wayne's death, his son Michael assumed full ownership and managed the company for over 30 years. He meticulously managed the release pattern of his films and restored Hondo and McLintock! in the early 1990s for release on VHS and television. His passion was to restore the other two films, but water damage to the original elements made it impossible during his lifetime. Taking advantage of the new digital restoration processes, Michael's widow Gretchen restored these films in 2004 and released them through a distribution deal with Paramount Pictures in 2005.

List of Batjac productions[edit]

YearTitleDistributorProducerDirectorStar(s)Academy AwardsNotes
WinsNominations
1952Big Jim McLainWarner Bros.Robert FellowsEdward LudwigJohn Wayne & Nancy OlsonProduced as Wayne/Fellows Productions
1953Plunder of the SunWarner Bros.Robert FellowsJohn FarrowGlenn Ford & Diana LynnProduced as Wayne/Fellows Productions
1953Island in the SkyWarner Bros.Robert FellowsWilliam A. WellmanJohn WayneProduced as Wayne/Fellows Productions
1953HondoWarner Bros.Robert Fellows & John WayneJohn FarrowJohn Wayne & Geraldine PageBest Supporting Actress (Geraldine Page); Best Story (Louis L'Amour) (later withdrawn)Produced as Wayne/Fellows Productions; Filmed in 3D
1954The High and the MightyWarner Bros.Robert FellowsWilliam A. WellmanJohn Wayne & Claire TrevorBest Original Score (Dimitri Tiomkin)Best Supporting Actress (Jan Sterling); Best Supporting Actress (Claire Trevor); Best Director (William A. Wellman); Best Film Editing; Best Original Song (Dimitri Tiomkin & Ned Washington)Produced as Wayne/Fellows Productions; Filmed in CinemaScope; Won Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress (Jan Sterling); Nominated for DGA Award for Outstanding Directing in Motion Pictures (William A. Wellman)
1954Ring of FearWarner Bros.Robert FellowsJames Edward Grant & William A. Wellman (uncredited)Pat O'BrienProduced as Wayne/Fellows Productions; Filmed in CinemaScope
1954Track of the CatWarner Bros.Robert Fellows & John WayneWilliam A. WellmanRobert Mitchum & Teresa WrightProduced as Wayne/Fellows Productions; Filmed in CinemaScope
1955Blood AlleyWarner Bros.John WayneWilliam A. WellmanJohn Wayne & Lauren BacallFilmed in CinemaScope
1956Good-bye, My LadyWarner Bros.John WayneWilliam A. WellmanWalter Brennan & Brandon deWilde
1956Seven Men from NowWarner Bros.Andrew V. McLaglen & Robert E. MorrisonBudd BoetticherRandolph Scott & Gail Russell
1956Gun the Man DownUnited ArtistsRobert E. Morrison & John WayneAndrew V. McLaglenJames Arness & Angie Dickinson
1956Man in the VaultRKORobert E. MorrisonAndrew V. McLaglenWilliam Campbell, Karen Sharpe, & Anita Ekberg
1957Legend of the LostUnited ArtistsHenry HathawayHenry HathawayJohn Wayne & Sophia LorenFilmed in Technirama
1958China DollUnited ArtistsFrank Borzage & Robert E. MorrisonFrank BorzageVictor MatureBatjac co-produced with Victor Mature's Romina Productions.
1958Escort WestUnited ArtistsNate H. Edwards & Robert E. MorrisonFrancis D. LyonVictor MatureBatjac co-produced with Victor Mature's Romina Productions.
1960The AlamoUnited ArtistsJohn WayneJohn WayneJohn Wayne, Richard Widmark & Laurence HarveyBest SoundBest Picture; Best Supporting Actor (Chill Wills); Best Color Cinematography (William H. Clothier); Best Film Editing; Best Original Song (Dimitri Tiomkin & Paul Francis Webster); Best Original Score (Dimitri Tiomkin)Filmed in Todd-AO; Won Golden Globe for Best Original Score (Dimitri Tiomkin)
1963McLintock!United ArtistsMichael WayneAndrew V. McLaglenJohn Wayne & Maureen O'Hara
1966Cast a Giant ShadowUnited ArtistsMelville Shavelson & Michael WayneMelville ShavelsonKirk Douglas & Senta BergerBatjac co-produced with Melville Shavelson's production company, Llenroc ('Cornell' spelt backwards), and The Mirisch Corporation
1967The War WagonUniversalMarvin SchwartzBurt KennedyJohn Wayne & Kirk Douglas
1967Hondo and the Apaches (TV Movie)MGM TelevisionAndrew J. FenadyLee H. KatzinRalph TaegerTwo episodes from the TV series of the same name, edited together and released as a feature.
1967Hondo (TV Series)ABCAndrew J. FenadyLee H. Katzin (and others)Ralph Taeger
1968The Green BeretsWarner Bros.Michael WayneJohn Wayne, Ray Kellogg & Mervyn LeRoy (uncredited)John Wayne
1970ChisumWarner Bros.Michael WayneAndrew V. McLaglenJohn Wayne
1970Swing Out, Sweet Land (TV Special)NBCWilliam O. Harbach (and others)Stan HarrisJohn WayneWon Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction of a Variety, Musical or Dramatic Program (Dominic Frontiere) at the 23rd Primetime Emmy Awards
1970Rio LoboNational GeneralHoward HawksHoward HawksJohn Wayne
1971Big JakeNational GeneralMichael WayneGeorge ShermanJohn Wayne & Richard Boone
1973The Train RobbersWarner Bros.Michael WayneBurt KennedyJohn Wayne & Ann-Margret
1973Cahill U.S. MarshalWarner Bros.Michael WayneAndrew V. McLaglenJohn Wayne
1974McQWarner Bros.Michael WayneJohn SturgesJohn WayneCo-produced with Levy-Gardner-Laven

List of John Wayne productions at Republic Pictures[edit]

John Wayne served as Producer for Republic Pictures on the following films, prior to the founding of Wayne-Fellows/Batjac Productions in 1952.

YearTitleDistributorProducerDirectorStar(s)Academy AwardsNotes
WinsNominations
1947Angel and the BadmanRepublicJohn WayneJames Edward GrantJohn Wayne & Gail Russell
1949The Fighting KentuckianRepublicJohn WayneGeorge WaggnerJohn Wayne & Vera Ralston
1951Bullfighter and the LadyRepublicJohn WayneBudd BoetticherRobert Stack & Joy PageBest Story (Budd Boetticher & Ray Nazarro)

External links[edit]