Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rio Bravo

Feeling a little homesick. So what do I do? I pop in a John Wayne movie. Miss you Dad!
John Wayne is as familiar to me as Disney is. The Rankins are big fans of John Wayne, so I grew up watching most of his movies. The most familiar to me is 'McClintock' and I would be watching that, but I don't have it with me, sadly. I re-discovered this movie a couple years ago, and came to love it, especially when I got old enough to appreciate its humor.
The story is hardly original, but I guess really it is, as this was the first in a spawn of movies based around a similar storyline. All of which I love. According to Hollywood lore, this film was made by Hawks and Wayne in response to 'High Noon' Apparently, they did not much care for the situation of everyone refusing to help the Sheriff - so, you will notice, the Sheriff in this film has loyal backup and a lot of people offering to help.
The best aspect of its movie is the moments of lightheartedness. The humor is simple, but brilliant and perfectly timed. Also, the songs. Think about it: there is a scene in the jail during the hold up that is so much fun. In the room are Walter Brennan, John Wayne, Ricky Nelson, and Dean Martin - each of these men had at least one album in their lifetimes - although John Wayne's was not a singing album so much as a narrated patriotic tribute. Of course, with Nelson and Martin in this film, you just knew there had to be a song or two. Like I said - a lot of fun.
This movie has a little something for everyone. A good old western with a fair amount of shooting and action. Humor that everyone can appreciate. A good story. Established stars and some hot newcomers for the younger crowd (for the time).
Acting wise, all are pretty good. Characters are the stock kind, but the actors really bring them to life. Dean Martin is really interesting to see in this film. For a man known for his musical comedy team films, he does a wonderful job playing a straight role as a ex-drunk. Wayne is amazing as always. He's iconic, really. Walter Brennan is my favorite though. He is so much fun. His laugh especially - and his singing. Dad told me that Brennan sings like my Grandpa Rankin.
So there is a lot of nostalgia in this film for me.
That aside, this film has one of the best beginnings of film. All silent. When something like that happens, you know that the first words are going to be important. The first words of the film: "Joe, you're under arrest." Perfect considering that the entire plot centers on this statement. You have to see it to appreciate it. I know I am a bit buyist, but I think you should see it.
4 out of 5 stars

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