Thursday, June 5, 2008
Rio Bravo; western / comedy, USA, 1959; D: Howard Hawks, S: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Neslon, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond
John T. Chance is a sheriff of some small town. One day he catches criminal Joe Burdette for murder and puts him in prison where he guards him with the drunk Dude and some old man. But the situation becomes a race with time since Joe's more dangerous brother filled the town with outlaws and now nobody can get in or out. While Chance waits for help from a Marshall, he falls in love with the girl Feathers. The outlaws constantly challenge him and in the end even kidnap Dude demanding an exchange for Joe. But when they get exchanged, Dude attacks Joe and Chance eliminates outlaws in the chaos.
The best western of 1959 and for many one of the highlights of Howard Hawks' career, "Rio Bravo" is untypically cheerful and funny film full of relaxed style that at the same time works both as a comedy as well as a parody of "High Noon". One especially needs to mention the action scenes: among the ones that stand out is the one in the bar where Dude (Dean Martin) notices how water is dripping into his cup, coming from the boots of an outlaw how hid himself on the roof. Honest, simple and completely free of cliches film with excellent actors who, although slightly too long, offers fine fun. Even western haters will have a treat since it seems as if the authors are subtly mocking that genre. It's unbelievable how such a simple and fun film can be so clever and multi layered at the same time, once again proving Hawks is a talented director, but sadly, once again the Oscars completely ignored his work, even though "Rio Bravo" is today rightfully considered a classic. A few years later, Hawks made similar remakes of this film, "El Dorado" and "Rio Lobo", that became his last film.