A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Friday, September 23, 2011
After shooting an unarmed man during a melee at the saloon, the brother of a wealthy rancher is taken into custody by the local sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne). Having only his drunk deputy (Dean Martin), a crippled old codger (Walter Brennan), and a talented young sharpshooter (Ricky Nelson) on his side, Chance must fend off the mounting threat set to spring the rancher's brother from the jail before the U.S. Marshals arrive to haul him away. With its leisurely pace, character development, and leisurely asides, Howard Hawks' "Rio Bravo" plays more like a good play than it does a typical Western. The film contains a great performance from The Duke, who shows a really surprising and endearing softer side here (don't get me wrong, his character his still tougher n hell). His supporters are very fine as well. Dean Martin is excellent as the self-hating drunk and has many of the films best scenes. Walter Brennan is a hoot as the cantankerous trigger happy old coot who watches the jail. Angie Dickinson is extremely sultry and appealing as the card cheat who wins Wayne's heart. Hawks' approach to the material is really brave and what makes it work. The film is long, about 2 hours 20, but that gives his characters room to breathe, as we get to know them, and allows for wonderful scenes that you wouldn't think would work, such as well Dino and Nelson sing a duet in the jailhouse. "Rio Bravo" is a great film that offers a little bit of everything we love about the movies.