12.21.2007

Rio Bravo


My, but do I love, love, love this movie! It took me by surprise, since my two previous forays into the realm of western classics (as you may recall, with The Searchers and Red River) left me a little disappointed. Oh, I enjoyed them. But they didn't fill me with glee like this one did. In Hollywood terms, it simply has everything: action, romance, humor, even character development.

This film was also the first time I understood the Duke's charm, and it's all thanks to Angie Dickinson. I mean, usually you talk about actors having chemistry. Here, she just sparks so much I think Wayne had no choice but to spark back. And I loved how here, the comedy stems from the characters and from the tension. In the Searchers, the comical interludes were in too sharp contrast with the grim reality of the search and the grimness of the characters, but here, it all fit.

Isn't this Tarantino's 'test movie'? If it is, I think I'd pass.

5 comments:

Kaj said...

I remember having just about the same reaction the first time I saw it. A second time, earlier this year, left me disappointed though. I guess the charm kind of worn off or something like that, and if you're not charmed anymore, it suddenly becomes a long film... But I'm glad you've enjoyed it.

Hedwig said...

A long film...I just checked imdb, you're right, it's 141 minutes! I think it's a testament to how much I enjoyed it that I never felt it drag. On a second viewing I might feel different. On the other hand, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly still feels like an hour and a half to me even after seeing it three or four times, and I think there's enough to appreciate here on a second viewing too: the wordless opening scene, all the sparring scenes between John T. and Angie Dickinson, the wonderful singing scene...

We'll see, I suppose. But for now, this is in my Top 5 Westerns.

Kaj said...

Well, then there's only one thing I can do: show you even better westerns next year to push this one out of the top 5. ;)

Hedwig said...

It's a deal. Just out of curiosity (I'm sure it's somewhere on the filmtotaal forum, but that's a scary jungle), what IS your top 5 westerns?

Kaj said...

Actually, I've never done a western list on that forum. I do submit a top 100 of all time films there each year for the Filmtotaal top 100, and if I subtract the first five westerns from that list, I get:

1 C'era una volta il west
2 Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo
3 The Wild Bunch
4 Per qualche dollaro in piĆ¹
5 Unforgiven

I'll send you a link of my full top 100 in a PM on the forum.

My list of classical westerns would be:

1. The Gunfighter
2. The Naked Spur
3. High Noon
4. Red River
5. Johnny Guitar

And my list of non Leone Spaghetti westerns would be:

1. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
2. La resa dei conti (The Big Gundown)
3. Django
4. Keoma
5. Da uomo a uomo (Death Rides A Horse)

And a top 6 of postclassical American westerns would be:

1. The Wild Bunch
2. Unforgiven
3. The Ballad Of Cable Hogue
4. The Outlaw Josey Wales
5. Dead Man
6. McCabe & Mrs. Miller