Rio Bravo: Howard Hawks is perfectly aware that, if the story is good, there’s no rush to tell it; this classic Western is leisurely paced, recognizing that the fight of the main character touches a wide circle of people around him (no matter how much he tries to avoid involving anyone else) and allowing for a good look at those supporting characters. The camaraderie of the professionals (and some well-intentioned amateurs) that are fighting the very-much powerful black-hats is a great joy to watch. It’s a great cast: John Wayne is playing his usual heroic, easy-going and towering character, and he nails it (as well as his initial awkwardness in the romantic sub-plot); Angie Dickinson is very alluring and convincing as the romantic interest; Walter Brennan is always a joy; Dean Martin is very convincing drunk. The weak spot in the cast is Ricky Nelson, a little bit too smooth in his carelessness; nevertheless, despite his billing his presence is limited enough so the damage is very minor. The film’s geography is simple, and always crystal clear; that results in great action set-pieces, which are never too long or too fast. Well-shot in a no-nonsense style by Russell Harlan, well-edited by Folmar Blangsted (who keeps the film at an easy but always forward-moving pace). The musical score by Dimitri Tiomkin (which includes a couple of nice songs) is beautiful.
Read what I wrote before: Rio Bravo
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