Batjac Productions

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Batjac Productions
Industry Entertainment
Founded 1952 (as Wayne/Fellows Productions)
1956 (as Batjac Productions)
Founders John Wayne
Robert Fellows
Key people John Wayne
(Founder)
Products Motion 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]

Year Title Distributor Producer Director Star(s) Academy Awards Notes
Wins Nominations
1952 Big Jim McLain Warner Bros. Robert Fellows Edward Ludwig John Wayne & Nancy Olson Produced as Wayne/Fellows Productions
1953 Plunder of the Sun Warner Bros. Robert Fellows John Farrow Glenn Ford & Diana Lynn Produced as Wayne/Fellows Productions
1953 Island in the Sky Warner Bros. Robert Fellows William A. Wellman John Wayne Produced as Wayne/Fellows Productions
1953 Hondo Warner Bros. Robert Fellows & John Wayne John Farrow John Wayne & Geraldine Page Best Supporting Actress (Geraldine Page); Best Story (Louis L'Amour) (later withdrawn) Produced as Wayne/Fellows Productions; Filmed in 3D
1954 The High and the Mighty Warner Bros. Robert Fellows William A. Wellman John Wayne & Claire Trevor Best 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)
1954 Ring of Fear Warner Bros. Robert Fellows James Edward Grant & William A. Wellman (uncredited) Pat O'Brien Produced as Wayne/Fellows Productions; Filmed in CinemaScope
1954 Track of the Cat Warner Bros. Robert Fellows & John Wayne William A. Wellman Robert Mitchum & Teresa Wright Produced as Wayne/Fellows Productions; Filmed in CinemaScope
1955 Blood Alley Warner Bros. John Wayne William A. Wellman John Wayne & Lauren Bacall Filmed in CinemaScope
1956 Good-bye, My Lady Warner Bros. John Wayne William A. Wellman Walter Brennan & Brandon deWilde
1956 Seven Men from Now Warner Bros. Andrew V. McLaglen & Robert E. Morrison Budd Boetticher Randolph Scott & Gail Russell
1956 Gun the Man Down United Artists Robert E. Morrison & John Wayne Andrew V. McLaglen James Arness & Angie Dickinson
1956 Man in the Vault RKO Robert E. Morrison Andrew V. McLaglen William Campbell, Karen Sharpe, & Anita Ekberg
1957 Legend of the Lost United Artists Henry Hathaway Henry Hathaway John Wayne & Sophia Loren Filmed in Technirama
1958 China Doll United Artists Frank Borzage & Robert E. Morrison Frank Borzage Victor Mature Batjac co-produced with Victor Mature's Romina Productions.
1958 Escort West United Artists Nate H. Edwards & Robert E. Morrison Francis D. Lyon Victor Mature Batjac co-produced with Victor Mature's Romina Productions.
1960 The Alamo United Artists John Wayne John Wayne John Wayne, Richard Widmark & Laurence Harvey Best Sound Best 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)
1963 McLintock! United Artists Michael Wayne Andrew V. McLaglen John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara
1966 Cast a Giant Shadow United Artists Melville Shavelson & Michael Wayne Melville Shavelson Kirk Douglas & Senta Berger Batjac co-produced with Melville Shavelson's production company, Llenroc ('Cornell' spelt backwards), and The Mirisch Corporation
1967 The War Wagon Universal Marvin Schwartz Burt Kennedy John Wayne & Kirk Douglas
1967 Hondo and the Apaches (TV Movie) MGM Television Andrew J. Fenady Lee H. Katzin Ralph Taeger Two episodes from the TV series of the same name, edited together and released as a feature.
1967 Hondo (TV Series) ABC Andrew J. Fenady Lee H. Katzin (and others) Ralph Taeger
1968 The Green Berets Warner Bros. Michael Wayne John Wayne, Ray Kellogg & Mervyn LeRoy (uncredited) John Wayne
1970 Chisum Warner Bros. Michael Wayne Andrew V. McLaglen John Wayne
1970 Swing Out, Sweet Land (TV Special) NBC William O. Harbach (and others) Stan Harris John Wayne Won Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction of a Variety, Musical or Dramatic Program (Dominic Frontiere) at the 23rd Primetime Emmy Awards
1970 Rio Lobo National General Howard Hawks Howard Hawks John Wayne
1971 Big Jake National General Michael Wayne George Sherman John Wayne & Richard Boone
1973 The Train Robbers Warner Bros. Michael Wayne Burt Kennedy John Wayne & Ann-Margret
1973 Cahill U.S. Marshal Warner Bros. Michael Wayne Andrew V. McLaglen John Wayne
1974 McQ Warner Bros. Michael Wayne John Sturges John Wayne Co-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.

Year Title Distributor Producer Director Star(s) Academy Awards Notes
Wins Nominations
1947 Angel and the Badman Republic John Wayne James Edward Grant John Wayne & Gail Russell
1949 The Fighting Kentuckian Republic John Wayne George Waggner John Wayne & Vera Ralston
1951 Bullfighter and the Lady Republic John Wayne Budd Boetticher Robert Stack & Joy Page Best Story (Budd Boetticher & Ray Nazarro)

External links[edit]