Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 27th Log

1959, Howard Hawks, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Think your good enough?” The Howard Hawks trademarks themes have never been clearer then are here with Rio Bravo, one of his most beloved and most purely entertaining films of his incredible filmography. There really are very few flaws to this film, which tells it’s story directly and without force or flashy style and technique. As always, Hawks finely crafts the film and the characters at his own leisurely pace blending elements of action, comedy, and romance within the western setting. This was Hawks return to filmmaking after a 4-year hiatus. He opens the film with an equally dazzling and bizarre action sequence that is almost completely without dialogue. This sets the pace for the rhythmic flow of the film and sets up the characters who are gradually developed further as several subplots submerge into a beautiful film of morals and values that define Hawks as a filmmaker. The cast is perfect, with the great John Wayne leading the way in a role he was more then capable of handling. Here as Sheriff John T. Chance he plays the trademark hero figure. Starring in his second of five Wayne gives one collaborations with Hawks, this is one of Wayne’s very best performances. His chemistry with the cast is exceptional, especially Angie Dickinson who here is playing the quintessential Hawksian female in the way she mixes it up with the guys. Together Wayne and Dickinson capture that magical wit and charm of Hawks screwball romantic comedies. Of course not to forget is the supporting performance given by Walter Brennan, one of the greatest “character” actors in American film. In Rio Bravo, Brennan seems to be a recycling of his other roles with Hawks, but you really can never get enough of him. Rio Bravo is one of the truly definitive Howard Hawks films. At the center of just about every Hawks film lies characters that must rely on or believe in each other. This is clearly defined here, in a film that is pure old-fashioned Hollywood filmmaking at its best. Why did it take me so long to see this one!?!


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