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Thursday, May 29, 2008

RIO BRAVO (1959)

Howard Hawks' famous character driven Western dawdles a bit more than you recall, but there’s enough individuality in John Wayne, Dean Martin, Angie Dickenson, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan to liven up the dialogue (and singing!) scenes between the exceptionally clear action sequences. It's damn good dialogue, too, thanks to Leigh Brackett and the great Jules Furthman in his final credit. Hawks shows less interest in the disappointingly bland villains and his typically efficient camera-style isn't helped by an almost aggressively unattractive palette. But you won't mind since you'll probably be hooked right from the first reel's quadruple whammy of turnabouts Hawks uses to set up his narrative. Be sure to check out Hawk's loose remake of this film EL DORADO/'67. It's critical rep is a lot lower, but it may well be the better pic.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: See if this pair of films (BRAVO, DORADO), and their relative critical reputations, don't remind you of the relative merits & reps of those two Akira Kurosawa Samurai 'Westerns' from just about the same time, YOJIMBO/'61 and SANJURO/'62.

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