Free screening of the 1953 Western “Hondo,” starring John Wayne

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John Wayne, Michael Caine and Robert Duvall all can be seen on a big screen this weekend in Shawnee County for little or no money.

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library will present a free screening of the 1953 Western “Hondo,” starring Wayne in the title role, at 2 p.m. in Marvin Auditorium of the library, 1515 S.W. 10th, as this month’s installment of its Classic Film Series.

Then at 7 p.m. Saturday in the gymnatorium of the Auburn Community Center, 121 W. 11th, Auburn Community Theater will show “Secondhand Lion,” a 2003 comedy-drama starring Caine and Duvall as the eccentric uncles of a 14-year-old boy played by Haley Joel Osment. Admission to the theater’s Movie Night is a family-friendly $5 for adults or $3 for children 12 and younger.

“Hondo,” developed by Wayne’s own production company, is based on the July 5, 1952, Colliers short story, “The Gift of Cochise,” by Louis L’Amour, who would write a best-selling novelization of the movie.

Wayne plays Hondo Lane, a despatch rider for the U.S. Cavalry, who encounters Angie Lowe (Geraldine Page), a woman deserted by her husband for months and living alone with her young son Johnny (Lee Aaker) in the midst of hostile Apache territory.

She presumes she is safe because the Apaches, under their chief Vittorio (Michael Pate), have always left them alone. Later Lane has a run-in with Angie’s reprobate husband Ed Lowe (Leo Gordon) and is forced to kill him, not knowing who he is.

Vittorio captures Lane and to save his life, Angie tells the Apache chief that Lane is her husband, unaware that Lane has killed her real husband. In order to protect her from a forced marriage with one of the Apache, Lane reluctantly goes along with the lie, though he knows the truth must eventually come out both to her and the Apache.

“Hondo” marked the screen debut of Page, who earned the first of eight Oscar nominations for her role as Angie Lowe.

Directed by John Farrow, “Hondo” was shot and released in 3D.

Set in 1962 in the Texas countryside, “Secondhand Lions” follows comedic adventures of an introverted boy, Walter (Osment), left on the doorstep of a pair of reluctant, eccentric great-uncles, Garth (Caine) and Hub (Duvall), who pass their time shooting at traveling salesmen and telling tales of their youths, including Hub’s only love, Jasmine, a princess he had to rescue from a Middle Easter sheik. The movie’s title comes from a “used” lioness the uncle purchase with the idea of shooting and having its head mounted.

However, the men adopt the lioness, who gets named Jasmine, and she plays a pivotal role in attempts by outsiders and Walter’s mother to exploit the uncles in pursuit of their legendary fortune.

People attending “Secondhand Lion” can bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating or sit in one of the center’s chairs. Popcorn, soda, candy and other movie snacks will be sold before and during the movie.

Auburn Community Theater offers movie nights when the community theater isn’t staging a live production. Visit for coming attractions.

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