EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|RIO BRAVO (director: Howard Hawks; screenwriters: from a short story by B.H. McCampbell/Jules Furthman/Leigh Brackett; cinematographer: Russell Harlan; editor: Folmar Blangsted; music: Dimitri Tiomkin; cast: John Wayne (Sheriff John T. Chance), Dean Martin (Dude, 'Borachón'), Ricky Nelson (Colorado Ryan), Angie Dickinson (Feathers), Walter Brennan (Stumpy), Ward Bond (Pat Wheeler), John Russell (Nathan Burdette), Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales (Carlos Robante), Estelita Rodriguez (Consuela Robante), Claude Akins (Joe Burdette), Walter Barnes (Charlie, bartender); Runtime: 141; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Howard Hawks; Warner Brothers; 1959)|
as a conservative response to the liberal High
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Howard Hawks made "Rio Bravo" as a conservative response to the liberal "High Noon." This rambling Western is not nearly as good as his near masterpiece "Red River," but it nevertheless is one of the better ones ever made. Despite being overlong and more a film that relies on set pieces and character development than a traditional Western epic story, yet it still is winsome in an oater sort of way because it has an easy going charm in its unhurried pace--even while waiting for its action-packed climax Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson have time to sing "My Rifle, My Pony, and Me."
Rio Bravo is based on a short story by B.H. McCampbell and is excellently scripted by Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett. Most of the film is made up of interior shots and it doesn't necessarily look much like a Western, more like a drama. It was more or less remade in 1966 as El Dorado and in 1970 as Rio Lobo.
It's set in Texas' rural Presidio County in the late
rifle-toting Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne) is
Joe Burdette (Claude Akins) in his small jail for the
murder of an
man in a saloon fight. Joe's ruthless land baron
(John Russell) is the richest and most powerful
The plot is real simple. The gunmen stalk the town and make attempts to free Joe, causing the sheriff to realize that he can't do it alone--he really needed his so-called misfits to help. Chance keeps the immobile Stumpy in the jail guarding Joe at all times and has given him the order to kill Joe at any attempt made to free him. It all leads to the exciting finale--a shootout between Burdette's hired thugs and Chance's friends.
The performances are all grand (that includes in a supporting role Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez and Estelita Rodriguez, who play the hotel working friends of the Duke); the characters are well-observed though all the good guys wear white hats and bad guys don black hats, as Hawks is more interested in the majesty and humor of this tight group he brought together and therefore his aim is to make them seem like family--where independence is fine but relationships are essential.
REVIEWED ON 8/28/2005 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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