RIO BRAVO  [Blu-ray]
Recenserad i USA 🇺🇸 den 29 juni 2015
RIO BRAVO  [Blu-ray] Arguably Howard Hawks’ Greatest Film! Beautifully Acted, Wonderfully Observed and Scripted with Enormous Wit and Generosity!
On one side is an army of gunmen dead-set on springing a murderous cohort from jail. On the other are Sheriff John T. Chance [John Wayne] and two deputies: a recovering drunkard and a crippled codger. Also in their ragtag ranks are a trigger-happy youth and a woman with a past and her eye on Sheriff John T. Chance. Director Howard Hawks lifted the Western to new heights with ‘Red River.’ Capturing the legendary West with a stellar cast in peak form, he does it again here.
Cast: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Rick Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, John Russell, Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez, Estelita Rodriguez, Claude Akins and Malcolm Atterbury
Director: Howard Hawks
Producer: Howard Hawks
Screenplay: Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett. Based on the novel "Rio Bravo" by B. H. McCampbell
Composer: Dimitri Tiomkin
Cinematography: Russell Harlan
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Mono, English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo, French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, German: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Italian: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono and Spanish [Castilian]: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish [Castilian], Dutch, Korean, Spanish [Latin], Portuguese, Danish, Finish, Norwegian and Swedish
Running Time: 141 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Warner Home Video
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: In traditional Western storytelling, lone sheriffs have faced off against rowdy outlaws and emerged victorious countless times, but never with as much exhilarating craftsmanship, narrative and stylistic economy, or sheer escapist delight as in Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo. The picture is a celebration of several cinematic traditions at once. At the forefront resides a prescribed Western yarn in Hollywood terms, a familiar set-up about a singular lawman taming the Old West, complete with shootouts, treacherous villains, and even twangy songs. Going further, the exceptional treatment represents a culmination of both Howard Hawks themes and techniques, as well as the indomitable screen presence of John Wayne's heroic, yet understatedly complex stature. At the same time, Howard Hawks and John Wayne provide an antidote to the traditional Western archetype by creating an impossible, exceptionally tense situation wherein the lone hero must reluctantly accept help from others, a support system in the form of a mismatched posse, to overcome an impossibly grim opposition. From start to finish, rich, intricate characters populate a fast-paced and flawlessly constructed motion picture, perhaps the most enjoyable and satisfyingly of its genre.
‘Rio Bravo’  is a Western directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson. Howard Hawks was the king of banter and his films crackle with it and ‘Rio Bravo’ is the best of them all. It's nominally a western, but it's really about a group of friends who call each other names, put each other down, and generally delight in their relationships. They all have nicknames. John Wayne's risk-taking Sheriff is called Sheriff John T. Chance. Then there's his lame pal Stumpy [Walter Brennan] and drunken deputy Dude [Dean Martin], also known as Borachón (Spanish for "drunk").
They get holed up in a confrontation with an evil rancher, who has endless heavies at his command. "A lame-legged old man and a drunk – that's all you got?" someone asks Wayne. "That's what I got," he corrects them laconically. In Howard Hawks’s world, all a man needs is his gang of mates, however dysfunctional they may be.
Fortunately, the gang is rounded out by a sparky girl named Feathers [Angie Dickinson] and sharp youngster Colorado [Ricky Nelson], who conspires to outwit the baddies with a flowerpot. Angie Dickinson also runs romantic rings around John Wayne, making this icon of Hollywood machismo look like a bumbling fool. That was the kind of fun Howard Hawks loved to have with his stars; he made Cary Grant wear drag for most of ‘I Was a Male War Bride.’
Howard Hawks said he liked "three-cushion dialogue," in which no one says what they mean. ‘Rio Bravo’ is full of it, yet some of its most eloquent moments are silent. Dean Martin's recovery from alcoholism is shown not through speeches but through his struggles to roll a cigarette; and we know John Wayne loves him because he's always ready to give him his own. That's the kind of detail that makes this film. It's warm, human and absolutely essential, even 45 years on.
The only thing Dean Martin really had a problem with was a scene in which he had to cry. The idea of pretending to cry totally unnerved him but he eventually got it right. He also got along great with the cast and crew, even if his joke telling sometimes held up production or he was hung over for most of the shoot. Dean Martin and John Wayne also played mischievous older brothers to Ricky Nelson on the set, presenting him with a 300-pound sack of steer manure for his eighteenth birthday and then tossing him into the centre of it.
Over the course of ‘Rio Bravo’ we are treated to an entertainment masterclass, a high watermark of Hollywood cinema in its heyday. I may not go as far as Quentin Tarantino, who declared that he would show the film to any new girlfriend and end the relationship if she did not declare her undying love for Howard Hawks’ classic, but it is the film I return to again and again, to revisit old friends and remind myself what form optimism takes in a work of art.
‘Rio Bravo’ was filmed in Old Tucson Studios, the same Arizona movie set where ‘Gunfight at the O.K. Corral’  was filmed. Cinematographer Russell Harlan modelled the look of the film on the frontier paintings of Charles M. Russell. Filming outdoors was often a chore due to the 120-degree heat and an invasion of grasshoppers that fried on the hot lights and littered the sets.
Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘Rio Bravo’ appears in a respectable aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film comes with a pretty average 1080p transfer. I must admit that the image looked worse than I had come to expect based on current standards. Grain could be a little bit heavy, and I noticed a mix of specks and marks through the film. Sharpness also demonstrated some issues. Definition usually seemed fine, but the shots could turn somewhat soft at times. The colour rendition was fine. Blacks were appropriately dark and dense, while shadows showed nice definition. But despite this, the transfer was acceptable and I enjoyed it immensely.
Blu-ray Video Quality – 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural audio of ‘Rio Bravo’ appeared fine for a more than a 50-year-old film. Speech could be a little thin at times, but the lines showed reasonable warmth and never suffered from any other form of defects. Music lacked great dimensionality as well, but the score showed acceptable clarity and definition. Effects came along the same lines, as they were clean and without distortion but they failed to present much range. Some light background noise cropped up at times, but this was a competent track for again the age of the film.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary by Richard Schickel and John Carpenter: Here we first get introduced to the Howard hawks film by Richard Schickel, who greatly admired the Western ‘Rio Bravo’ and mentions that prior to 1959, Howard Hawks had been absent from America, because he had been living in Europe for about 4 years and also mentions that when Howard Hawks returned to America, he found a great deal of change and the dominance of Television, compared to the Cinema. Now enters John Carpenter, who introduces himself to us viewers and also informs us that ‘Rio Bravo’ is one of his all-time favourite films and that Howard Hawks is also of his all-time favourite directors. They both comment the moment Dean Martin walks into the bar at the start of the film and it is basically a homage to the silent film genre and presentation that Howard Hawks was a great admirer of the silent cinema. They also mention that Howard Hawks was a big fan of the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Both of the commentators mention that Dean Martin was curious choice for the film, but at the time of the film is when he parted company with Jerry Lewis, because he wanted to branch out on his own career. They talk about the actor Walter Brennan and what a great character actor he is and has appeared in loads of Cowboy Films, but sadly had a tragic accident and lost all of his teeth and had two moulds done of his teeth, but had an outlook that was either teeth in or teeth out, where ever he was, especially when being respectable and in ‘Rio Bravo’ he asked Howard Hawks whether it was teeth in or out and Howard Hawks said he wanted the old toothless cranky fussy old character, so it was teeth out. We also get to hear how the famous Howard Hawks had a clever use of overlapping dialogue, which he enjoyed immensely. Another interesting fact we hear about is that Howard Hawks loved the location of Old Tucson Studios and made two more subsequent movies there, with the help of Leigh Brackett, who was his favourite screenwriter, who had written enough screenplay left over to make another Cowboy movie, that sadly was less successful. The first time Leigh Brackett met Howard Hawks, Howard was totally shocked to find out Leigh was a female. Her claim to fame was with her last screenplay that was for George Lucas and ‘The Empire Strike Back’ film and was release posumately around the time Leigh Brackett passed away at the age of 65 years of age in 1980. We find in part the reason Ricky nelson got the part in the film, is because his father Ozzie Nelson was a good friend of Howard Hawks, who was aware of Ricky Nelson being a teeny bopper singing artist. The film ‘Rio Bravo’ by all account was a very extremely amicable shoot, where everyone got along very nicely, despite the age factor and experience of some of the actors and shows why the film turned out a great success. Sometimes Howard Hawks would let the actors adlib their lines on set, often at times they would come in the morning and rehearse the scene and they would do a thing called “going to the table,” where Howard Hawks would tap a big pad of paper and actors would sit around the table and learning their lines and adding nuisances, then Howard Hawks would write everything down and get it typed up over lunch and then they would shoot the scene in the afternoon and Howard hawks felt this was a very humane way of working. As we get near to the end of the climatic finish, which both commentators say is truly glorious, funny and exciting, especially as the main group of actors come together to be reunited and doing what Howard Hawks calls “fun,” and Howard hawks would always choreography these types of ending of his films, especially where the actors are specifically positioned, to the point of great simplicity, which was always overlooked by people, because his visuals do not call attention to themselves. We are told people reported that John Wayne was very uncomfortable doing the love scenes with Angie Dickinson. Richard Schickel and John Carpenter comment that ‘Rio Bravo’ is a movie that is filled with fun, it is filled with humour and characters that are fun and is truly old fashioned filmmaking and it borrows from the 1930s and 1940s, but in colour in the 1950s. It has action; in fact it has got it all, and one of the greatest Western of all time. Again we get more comments that there is something about this film, in the sense it reflects what was best about Hollywood, especially when it makes it a Hollywood movie and was extremely popular when it was released and I is still very popular today. John Carpenter says at the end, “I hope you have enjoyed viewing this film like we have and see you at the movies.” Well I second that as this audio commentary has been really enjoyable experience, especially hearing the comments in this audio commentary from Richard Schickel and John Carpenter and I can tell you it is well worth listen to two people who know about this film and Western genre, who gave the impression they had a blast doing the audio commentary and so did I.
Special Feature Documentary: Commemoration: Howard Hawks ‘Rio Bravo’  [1080p] [1.85:1] 33:22] We find out from this Special Feature Documentary that we find out that this is considered Howard Hawks' "most personal film" and also his "most influential." This brief look at the film's development more than adequately covers why it is of all the great Westerns, this one "has everything." What is interesting to me is that before making this ‘Rio Bravo’ Howard Hawks looked at television and saw that the appeal of TV was the characters and the actors, and not the plot. And this is absolutely true, although television has become more long-form, it used to be a very character-driven with 30 minutes episodes each week. I also like how the film was a response to ‘High Noon,’ which Howard Hawks felt violated an ethical principle by having non-gunfighters be recruited to defend the town. Contributors to this very nice documentary are as follows: Peter Bogdanovich [Director]; Walter Hill [Director]; John Carpenter [Director]; Jonathan Kuntz and Stephen Mamber [UCLA Department and of Film and Television]; Angie Dickinson [Actress/Feathers]; James D’Arc [Curator of Howard hawks Papers at Brigham Young University in Utah].
Special Feature Documentary: Old Tucson: Where the Legends Walked  [1080p] [1.85:1] [8:34] With his special documentary we get a personal look at the backstage tour of the Old Tucson Studios in Arizona where the film was shot. This mocked-up frontier town, which was also the setting for other classic westerns like ‘Winchester '73’ and ‘The Gunfight At The OK Corral,’ and today serves as an Old West theme park. Brimming with nostalgia and graced with that rare Howard Hawks interview, this great for you cinephiles out there. Contributors to this very nice documentary are as follows: Jonathan Kuntz [UCLA Department and of Film and Television]; Dan Schneider [Tour Guide for Old Tucson Studios]; Rob Shelton [Former owner of Old Tucson Studios] and Mark Kadow [Entertainment Manger of Old Tucson Studios].
Theatrical Trailer  [480i] [4:3] 2:45] Even though it is the original trailer, it looks like it was specially made to be broadcast on American Television at the time of the release.
Finally, personally I am not a massive fan of Westerns most of the time, but there are certain classic Westerns I like very much, and one of them of course is 'Rio Bravo' and always have an enjoyable ride viewing it, and one that holds up very well almost fifty years on. ‘Rio Bravo’ is a very good film, though it’s stark black-and-white view of the world is slightly dated now. It is the ultimate legitimate classic of its genre, particularly notable for what is considered John Wayne's most tender performance and a strong supporting cast including Dean Martin and a very young Ricky Nelson. John Wayne gives a strong performance as usual, but it is director Howard Hawks that really shines, putting together an exciting film filled with humour that never drags during its 2 hours and 21 minute run time. Warner Home Video has put together a fine retrospective Blu-ray release for this Howard Hawks favourite, with an impressive transfer and excellent supplementary material. This 2015 restoration may not be quite up to the calibre of 'The Searchers,' but it is certainly a more-than-respectable effort befitting a legend of John Wayne's stature. All in all I am so glad it is now in my Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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