Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rio Bravo

Howard Hawks was one of the more versatile directors of the Golden Age. He made comedies (His Girl Friday), dramas (To Have and Have Not), westerns (Red River) and film noirs (The Big Sleep). Probably one of the few names who could venture into many genres and do it successfully.

This was John Wayne and Hawks' response to High Noon, where Gary Cooper is on his own protecting the town. In Rio Bravo, Wayne has a ragtag posse consisting of a cripple (Walter Brennan), a drunk (Dean Martin) and a young gunslinger (Ricky Nelson). They may be a questionable group, but all of them are pretty handy with a gun.

I really liked Martin's work in Rio Bravo. It's not an exaggerated performance from him. He knows his drinking's a problem, but he finds it hard to control it. He also proves that when sober, he's quick on the draw.

Rio Bravo is different from other westerns I've seen. The others rely mostly on action; Rio Bravo only uses it in small doses. It also has to be the most fun I've had watching a movie. And to close this review, I shall use an excerpt from Peter Travers: "How many great movies do you know that blend comedy and tragedy and still have time for Martin and Nelson to sing a duet?" (That scene was the highlight of the movie to me.)

My Rating: *****

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