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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rio Bravo (1959)

The sheriff (John Wayne) of Rio Bravo arrests a man (Claude Akins) who's killed an innocent bystander. The man's brother (John Russell), a powerful rancher, gathers a gang and applies pressure to the sheriff to release his brother. The sheriff's only three allies are a drunk (Dean Martin), a green kid (Ricky Nelson) and an old man (Walter Brennan). Reputedly, Howard Hawks made RIO BRAVO in response to his dislike of HIGH NOON. But the films style are quite different. HIGH NOON was a tight economical (it runs under 90 minutes) suspenseful western while RIO BRAVO takes its time at a more languid pace (it pushes the 2 1/2 hour mark). It also has a lot more humor. The specter of Bogart and Bacall hover over the scenes between Wayne and Angie Dickinson (in her breakthrough role) which isn't surprising considering the writers also wrote Hawks' THE BIG SLEEP. Only Ricky Nelson, who's given two musical interludes, seems like a fish out of water though he's not detrimental to the film. I don't hold the film in the high esteem that most critics do but I still think it's a wonderful movie. With Ward Bond, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez and Estelita Rodriguez.

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