Rio Bravo (1959)


Our Weekly Entertainment Dispatch

Can The Duke save the day?

Rio Bravo (1959) 

A few weeks ago, we recommended the excellent western True Grit.  Not the John Wayne version, the updated version with Jeff Bridges.  Although we standby that call, the snub of the Duke has been gnawing at us.  We have visions of the Duke calling us a couple of commies and referring us to the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

In an effort to make amends with the ghost of the long deceased American icon we went with a John Wayne recommendation for this weekend.  Rio Bravo (1959) is one of the best of Wayne’s 142 films.  It is an American Icon unto itself.

“Only a Commie would snub The Duke”

John Wayne is known for his collaboration with legendary Director John Ford, but this isn’t one of them.   This film is directed by the underrated Howard Hawkes.  Hawkes and Wayne made 5 films together, this is the best of the bunch. 

Wayne stars as John T. Chance, the sheriff of the small Texas town of Rio Bravo.  Wayne is at the height of his career in this role, and he is excellent as the All-American good guy that made him famous.  Sheriff Chance has arrested the brother of powerful and corrupt land baron, Nathan Burdette, played by John Russell.  He must hold off Burdette and his murderous crew until the US Marshalls can take the prisoner off his hands.    

Sheriff Chance has the help of the town drunk, Dude, played by Dean Martin.  Martin is surprisingly good in this role.  We never considered him as an acting force, but he really nails it in this role, fighting the bad guys and the lure of the bottle.  Colorado Ryan, played woodenly by Ricky Nelson, and “Stumpy” (the comic relief) played by Walter Brennan.  The beautiful Angie Dickenson provides the film’s love interest.   

This movie is right up the middle, good guys v bad guys.  The plot is not complicated, but good writing, great actors, and competent direction makes it an American classic.  An easy movie to sit back and enjoy. 

Rio Bravo runs over 2 hours.  It might seem long for a simple story, but the character conflicts, both internal and external, give it legs.  There is plenty of action, a little comedy, and real drama.  It is available at the usual streaming spots for a few dollars.  Once again, we couldn’t find it for free, this annoying trend continues. 

Find some time this weekend to sit back and enjoy this piece of Americana.  The Duke pins on the Sheriff’s tin star and saves the day in the wild west.  Does it get any better that this?

Enjoy the movie and Stay Safe!


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