Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Further notes on Rio Bravo

I picked Rio Bravo (on Blu-Ray, of course) for last week's movie night with the Prices. It was the second time I'd seen it all the way through. I posted some thoughts a long while back, but it was only a few sentences, so here are my further reflections.

- I don't know if it's because we watched it with friends and it was getting late, but it struck me as a little long this time. I think it could have been trimmed a bit.
- I'm still impressed with Dean Martin. I haven't seen anything else of his, but he did a wonderful job bringing a unique character to life and making him sympathetic and believable. Great performance.
- The opening scene is still fantastic. No dialogue for quite a while. The story is introduced via pure physical acting.
- Ricky Nelson's performance isn't very good. It makes it seem like he only got the part for the musical duet scene with Martin, and maybe for his teenage-girl drawing power. His line delivery is stiff and unnatural sounding.
- Angie Dickinson is still has a unique beauty and edge to her, though the games she plays in the movie would drive me nuts, and it's weird seeing her end up with Wayne, who must have been 30 years her senior.
- Viewing the movie as a companion piece to High Noon is fascinating. Hawks made Rio Bravo in response to High Noon; he disagreed vehemently with the idea of law enforcement seeking civilian help. Each little comment Chance the sheriff makes about getting help sounds like Hawks himself yelling at Zimmerman. It's also worth observing the fates of each of those who do get involved, and how they go about doing so. Chance waits a really long time to finally accept Colorado's help, and even then, it's only after he's fully warned him and Colorado has proved that he knows what's at stake. Hawks makes it clear that civilians who get involved with the Law's business are at great risk and shouldn't be doing so.

Screen-caps from two great Martin scenes:

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