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August 13 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm| $5 - $7
1959 American Western | Directed by Howard Hawks
Filmed on Location at Old Tucson Studios
Screenplay by Leigh Brackett & Jules Furthman
Starring John Wayne, Claude Akins, Dean Martin, John Russell, Walter Brennan and Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson
When gunslinger Joe Burdette (Akins) kills a man in a saloon, Sheriff John T. Chance (Wayne) arrests him with the aid of the town drunk, Dude (Martin). Before long, Burdette’s brother, Nathan (Russell), comes around, indicating that he’s prepared to bust his brother out of jail if necessary. Chance decides to make a stand until reinforcements arrive, enlisting Dude, an old cripple named Stumpy (Brennan) and baby-faced cowboy Colorado Ryan (Nelson) to help.
Some think this film was disregarded at the time of its release, and still underrated by many critics – but in the last 10 years, Rio Bavo is finally coming into its own. One reason that it has been underrated is that,it does not seem a typical western for the fifties. Most of the great westerns of the period were darker and moodier (like The Searchers). Others often sought to convey a moral message (like High Noon).
In contrast, Rio Bravo is unashamedly reactionary. Hawks actually claimed to have made the film as a reply to High Noon. In addition, there are very few pyschological or moral ambiguities here. Instead, we get a classic Hawksian scenario, also found in Only Angels Have Wings and To Have and Have Not, in which a groups of misfits and outsiders band together to defeat evil.
Here we have John Wayne- offering a performance of considerable subtlety and self knowledge – as the valiant hero, John T. Chance. To save the day, he calls on a cast of standard Western characters: The old-timer, the reformed drunk, The “kid’, and the “hooker with a heart of gold(Dickinson). Thanks to Hawks’ assured, efficient, direction, all of these actors rise above their stereotypes to deliver fine performances. Particularly worthy of notice is Dean Martin. John Carpenter once claimed that the scene of Martin’s “redemption” was the greatest moment in all of cinema. That may be an exaggeration, but Carpenter has a point. It is both moving and unforgettable. In short, Rio Bravo is a triumph!
Ticket Price: $5- $7