Was a John Wayne Anti-Communism Re-Dubbed and Edited to Make it into an Anti-Drug Film Outside the U.S.?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: A John Wayne anti-Communism film was dubbed in Europe and other places as an anti-drug film.

Only John Wayne could portray a heroic investigator for the House Un-American Activities Committee, busting up Communists trying to “interfere” in labor unions in Hawaii.

And that’s just what he did in Big Jim McLain in 1952.

James Arness co-starred as Wayne’s HUAC partner in the film.

Well, as you might imagine, such a topic would not be as popular in other countries as it would be in the 1950s United States, so in OTHER countries, Big Jim McClain was released instead as…

And here, Wayne and Arness are fighting the illegal drug industry, not Communists.

Pretty funny, huh?

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

3 Replies to “Was a John Wayne Anti-Communism Re-Dubbed and Edited to Make it into an Anti-Drug Film Outside the U.S.?”

  1. I’ve seen Big Jim McLain (and a truly fascinating piece of paranoia it is). That must have been some redubbing job.

  2. I’ve certainly seen it in Australia as an anti-communist version (but this was in the 90s so it may have been re-released.)

  3. Yeah, likely it was a re-release, as people looking for the film decades later are more interested in seeing the original, I’d imagine.

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