Rio Lobo [1970]

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Jorge Rivero, Jennifer O'Neill, Jack Elam, Christopher Mitchum
Genre: Adventure, Western, Romance
Rating: G (General Audience)
Runtime: 114 minutes

El Dorado El Dorado (1967) doesn't quite have the scope or ambition of Howard Hawks's greatest Westerns, Red River and Rio Bravo. But this relaxed picture, made near the end of Hawks's marvelous career, still shows the steady, sure hand of a master. Hawks reunites with John Wayne, playing a hired gun mixed up in a range war; Robert Mitchum is Wayne's old pal, now a sheriff in the midst of a hopeless drunken bender. James Caan, in one of his first sizable roles, plays a kid who can't shoot straight and wears a funny hat (every character in the movie makes fun of this hat). As the plot moves along, it begins to resemble Rio Bravo rather closely ("I steal from myself all the time," Hawks was fond of admitting). But in El Dorado the heroes are a bit older, their powers a bit weaker; at the end Wayne must revert to a bit of subterfuge in order to get the drop on the steely gunslinger (ice-cold Christopher George) he needs to put down. As relaxed as the movie is, Hawks and Wayne and company are in good spirits, with plenty of broad humor and easy camaraderie on display. Hawks and Wayne would make just one more film, the disappointing Rio Lobo, before ending their fruitful partnership. --Robert Horton True Grit John Wayne hams it up as a one-eyed, broken-down marshal in this 1969 adaptation of Charles Portis's bestselling novel. Kim Darby plays the formal-speaking adolescent who goes to Wayne for help tracking down her father's killer, and singer Glen Campbell straps on his guns to join the quest. Directed by old lion Henry Hathaway (Rawhide), this is largely a showcase for Wayne (who finally won an OscarĀ®), but it is also a decent Western with a particularly stirring final act. --Tom Keogh Rio Lobo The final film by the legendary director Howard Hawks, released in 1970, found him paired with longtime leading man John Wayne in a story slightly similar to their more familiar Rio Bravo and El Dorado. Set at the end of the Civil War, the story finds Wayne playing a Union army colonel who recovers some stolen gold and roots out a traitor. Though a little creaky (Hawks had been making films since 1926), Rio Lobo nevertheless has his trademark, crackling dialogue, appealing characters, and ensemble spirit among the cast. This was a worthy finish to a fantastic career by a first-rank filmmaker. --Tom Keogh

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