movie film review | chris tookey

Rio Bravo

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  Rio Bravo Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
7.71 /10
John Wayne , Dean Martin , Ricky Nelson
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Directed by: Howard Hawks
Written by: Jules Furthman, Leigh Brackett

Released: 1959
Origin: US
Length: 141

A sheriff (John Wayne, pictured right) needs help from the local community when bad hombres try to spring one of their number from jail.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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High Noon was a liberal western which debunked the frontier spirit by portraying most pioneers as cowards unwilling to rally round their law-enforcer (Gary Cooper). Hawks wanted this film to show America in a better light. The initial plot premise is the same, but in Hawks's Old West virtually everyone in the community volunteers to help the beleaguered forces of law and order. The problem is that they're mostly too young, old, female, crippled or drunk. Even so, Wayne moulds them into a winning team. Dean Martin (pictured centre) gives easily his best performance in pictures, as an alcoholic regaining his self-respect; and the film has many good points, including a terrific score by Dimitri Tiomkin.

Underrated on release, it is now in danger of being overrated. Pop singer Ricky Nelson (pictured left) is a dead weight in the acting department; Angie Dickinson isn't much better; and the pace is over-deliberate. Hawks himself had reservations about the picture, remaking it in 1966 as El Dorado , and again in 1970 as Rio Lobo - although most critics reckon he never surpassed his original. John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) is, to all intents and purposes, an updated remake.

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