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I've been going though a John Wayne movie binge and it's been a blast.
Since there were three Howard Hawk films with basically the same premise, with the 3rd film, "Rio Lobo" being an inferior non-contender - I was curious if any Asylum fans had a preference. Rio Bravo verses El Dorado?
1959's Rio Bravo seems to be the critics darling of the three, but I disagree. Certainly the supporting cast of Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan and Ward Bond make it a good Western and fortify the placid non-acting of Ricky Nelson - Rio Bravo doesn't doesn't have the punch of El Dorado.
El Dorado (1967) has Christopher George , James Caan and Arthur Hunnicutt as "Bull". Arthur Hunnicutt might not be on par with the great Walter Brennan but he does a great job as the jail house "wife" of John Wayne. And James Caan is in another league then teen-idol Ricky Nelson.
The deal breaker for me that pushes El Dorado over the top for me is Robert Mitchum. He is tremendous as the pathetic, angry, drunken sheriff . Robert Mitchum was never afraid of gettin' ugly and El Dorado and Cape Fear are proof of that.
Though Dean Martin was supremely talented and an underrated comedian, his role as the drunken sheriff is almost convincing, at best.
Have a great day!
Edits: 05/08/18Follow Ups:
Ricky nelson should have been fired on the first day , because he can't act. Dean martin , same deal, he can only play dean martin. Good thing they weren't attempting Shakespeare.
Funny thing, but just last night I was listening to a director speak about how he dealt with non acting from James coburn. He met with the guy before production, and expressed his concerns, he didn't want the guy to just cruise through on his voice as he had been doing for some years. Coburn said, like real acting? I can do that, it's just that nobody has asked for that in a while.
So , on the first day of shooting, coburn does his coburn thing , and the director is very unhappy. He calls coburn to his room that night to discuss his performance. HE had him read his entire part for him, but had an insight come to him, and had him do the reading in falsetto. He reasoned that this actors voice was his manhood,,, a great part of his identity. So in striping him of that, the actor has nowhere to hide, except in his character. Without the voice, he couldn't be james coburn. HE told the actor , to use his normal voice, but be ready, because at any time he might need the falsetto delivery. Coburn delivers a good performance as a violent father passing down that heritage to his sons through the conduit of alcohol.
I see the two movies pretty simply , robert mitchum is not easily replaced , and certainly not by ricky nelson, the same can be said for caan and martin. Both movies are enjoyable, but the remake is like a diet version of the original.
Rio B for me---more aspects that stuck over from the first viewing --Angie --great--as was Deano
El D close but no cigar
Thank you Des. There's no arguing the performance of 22 year old Angie Dickinson, but maybe it's what film one sees first? In any event, thanks for your post and have a great day!
Since you are a wayne fan, a small fact you might enjoy.
A director friend of his, john houston if I remember, told him to point his feet when he walked, to attract more attention to his character. This walk is very noticeable in these rio bravo films, and the actor adopted this walk in real life.
I was on a ship with three books about john wayne in the library, and it was a long trip. I know more than needed about the guy.
As you might know, the usc football team was used as one day extras in a gladiator film, but since wayne was off the team with an injury, he had time to go back the next day, and the next, and in time the big kid with the good looks got noticed, and became the first non singing cowboy star, although he did sing twice on film before that idea was canned.
It was only luck that he made it on the bus, he wasn't going since he wasn't with the team at that time , but his friend , ward bond , saw him walking by as they were boarding the bus, and told him to get on the bus with the team. Wayne told bond he was too ugly to be an actor, so he better go.
THe surfers tell the broken collarbone that lead to his acting gig was from bodysurfing the wedge, a spot famous for lost swim fins and breaking collarbones when it gets big. I would think it was from USC football , but none of the books I read mentioned how the injury happened. Surfers do have strong oral traditions, from hanging with the island guys. The also say J. paul Getty built his mansion where he did so he could surf sunset beach. I wouldn't know , not having any oral traditions in my life except for grade school playgrounds. About the only place left where one can still find oral stories passed between generations.
"...A director friend of his, john houston if I remember, told him to point his feet when he walked, to attract more attention to his character. This walk is very noticeable in these rio bravo films, and the actor adopted this walk in real life..."
Good stories - thank you.
I always thought the "John Wayne walk" was graceful and deliberate, simultaneously. Like a ballet dancer with hemorrhoids!
But yes, I'm a fan. Red River, The Searchers, The Man who Shot Liberty Valance are all wonderful movies that I continue to enjoy. The Hateful Eight was a good western for the new millenium , but they don't and can't make em like John Wayne anymore.
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