Rio Grande: John Ford floats effortlessly between the intimate and the epic in this Western (the closing entry in the spiritual trilogy); even if it leans more into the former, there are some very intense action set-pieces in the film. They, nevertheless, are there to punctuate relationships and values. It’s interesting also how the story explores the North-South divides (both within and without the USA). John Wayne is in his usual fine shape as the tough-sentimental officer; he more than meets his match in Maureen O’Hara, who is strong and determined, and incredibly beautiful to boot; the rest of the cast, a lot of usual faces in Ford films, are very fine as well. There’s also some very strong stunt work done. Director of photography Bert Glennon’s work is classic, and he captures Monument Valley beautifully. Victor Young’s musical work is a classical Western score, and the musical interludes are touching and nicely executed.
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