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#1
Old 11-12-2009, 12:48 PM
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John Wayne Throwdown: Rio Bravo vs. El Dorado (50 year old spoilers)

For reasons that I don't understand (probably money), John Wayne made the same movie twice. Rio Bravo in 1959 and El Dorado in 1966. The plot of both movies is: The Duke helps an old, drunken sheriff friend keep a bad guy in jail. The Duke is aided by a young gun slinging sidekick with a state nickname and a crusty old deputy.

My thoughts:
John Wayne's character is the same in both movies. Push.
Drunken sheriff: Robert Mitchum (ED) has a slim edge over Dean Martin (RB).
Sidekick: James Caan's (ED) Missippi character is funnier and more likeable than Ricky Nelson's (RB) Colorado.
Crusty old deputy: Clear winner to Walter Brennan (RB) over Arthur Hunnicutt (ED) who although he was very good, he was no Walter Brennan.
Ladyfriend: I give the edge to Angie Dickinson (RB) over Charlene Holt (ED). Both were extremely sexy but Angie Dickinson is, well, Angie Dickinson.
Bad guy in prison: Again, very close but I'm going with Ed Asner over Claude Aikens.

The voters on IMDB apparently favor RB giving it 8/10 stars versus ED's 7.6/10. I have to give the edge to ED, I'd give it 9 and RB 8.

What say you old time Dopers? Don't get me started on Rio Lobo.
#2
Old 11-12-2009, 12:58 PM
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I like both films. I have to object: John doesn't play the same character in both films.

In Rio Bravo, Wayne is a Sheriff. In El Dorado, Wayne is a gun for hire.

I think it's a little creepy watching a young Angie Dickensen necking with a 52 year old Duke, but since I'm fast approaching 50, I reserve the right to change my attitude in the future.
#3
Old 11-12-2009, 01:04 PM
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I always questioned the decision to put pop stars in Wayne's movies. Ricky Nelson, Glen Campbell etc.

The only 60's Wayne movie I really like is Sons of Katie Elder. El Dorado was ok. War Wagon was terrible. True Grit good, but painful seeing a fat J. Wayne.
#4
Old 11-12-2009, 01:04 PM
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Mississippi: [examining J.P.'s leg after he's been shot] I gotta cut this pant leg.
Sheriff J. P. Harrah: Well, go ahead and cut it! Have you got a kni...
[Mississippi pulls out his knife from its hiding place on his back]
Sheriff J. P. Harrah: A knife? Uh, I suppose I've asked this before, but just who?
[looks at Cole instead]
Sheriff J. P. Harrah: Who is he?
Cole: Tell him your name, Mississippi.
Mississippi: [sighs and looks up] Alan Bourdillion Trehearne.
Sheriff J. P. Harrah: Well, no wonder he carries a knife.


El Dorado in a walk. I never liked Walter Brennan much, except maybe in Support Your Local Sheriff!
#5
Old 11-12-2009, 01:09 PM
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Gotta go with Rio Bravo all the way. Mitchum & Caan are fun, but are hamming it up. Martin actually convinces more as the reformation case, and Nelson is the exact opposite of a young turk--playing things cool and close to the vest, something Caan would've been incapable of. Ricky's not a great actor, but he delivers exactly what that character needs--there's a reason Pat Wheeler (Ward Bond) has such confidence in him. Plus, he doesn't get a love interest, which is a distraction for Mississippi in ED.

Plus, two perfect moments of brilliance that Dorado can't touch: The flowerpot through the window, and "My Rifle, Pony, and Me."
#6
Old 11-12-2009, 01:21 PM
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The wikipedia article mentions the similarity between these two films. There are plot spoilers!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Dorado_%28film%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_Bravo_%28movie%29

Hawkes Sheriff trilogy never matched his Cavalry trilogy.

Last edited by aceplace57; 11-12-2009 at 01:23 PM.
#7
Old 11-12-2009, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Hawkes Sheriff trilogy never matched his Cavalry trilogy.
Probably because it was Ford's Cavalry trilogy, not Hawks'.
#8
Old 11-12-2009, 01:24 PM
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oops... you're right. So much for my memory.
#9
Old 11-12-2009, 01:30 PM
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El Dorado J. Wayne seemed more vulnerable. He got shot and partially paralyzed. The character has more dimension than usual.
#10
Old 11-12-2009, 01:33 PM
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I liked El Dorado better, mostly because I like James Caan and his character.
#11
Old 11-12-2009, 01:54 PM
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I love that Hawks revisited the story, giving Duke a chance to play both roles. I never thought of Wayne as an actor till I'd seen both. But while El Dorado is a good movie, Rio Bravo is one of the greatest movies of all time.
#12
Old 11-12-2009, 02:11 PM
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I like El Dorado better probably because I saw it first, give me a break I'm a young pup, but if nothing else Mississippi's poetry beats out Colorado's singing any day of the week.
#13
Old 11-12-2009, 02:40 PM
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RB for Walter Brennan. Walter alone takes it. Stumpy.
#14
Old 11-12-2009, 02:43 PM
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As alluded to in the OP, It actually was remade a third time in 1970, with Wayne as Wayne, Bill Williams (who?) as the sheriff, Jack Elam as the crusty deputy, Jennifer O'Neil as the young gunslinger, and Sherry Lansing as Wayne's love interest.

There's a Civil War subplot thrown in as well, but it's really not important.
#15
Old 11-12-2009, 03:43 PM
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I have to soundly go with El Dorado. Wayne's characterization was better, Caan was far better than Nelson, the sidekicks were a draw, the girlfriend was hotter (apologies to Angie, but it's true) and, most surprisingly, Mitchum's drunken performance was better and more engaging than Martin's.

One of my favorite scenes is when it turns out Mississippi can't shoot worth a hill of beans and they go to visit The Swede. The way he tells the story about how he came to own the scatter gun is priceless.
#16
Old 11-12-2009, 03:48 PM
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Paul Fix (played the doctor) is another reason I prefer El Dorado. He's one of my favorite character actors. He was the Marshall in The Rifleman. Played the doctor in the Star Trek pilot. Fix was in a bunch of Wayne's films. He always did a good job.

Last edited by aceplace57; 11-12-2009 at 03:50 PM.
#17
Old 11-12-2009, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael View Post
As alluded to in the OP, It actually was remade a third time in 1970, with Wayne as Wayne, Bill Williams (who?) as the sheriff, Jack Elam as the crusty deputy, Jennifer O'Neil as the young gunslinger, and Sherry Lansing as Wayne's love interest.

There's a Civil War subplot thrown in as well, but it's really not important.
I heard a story (almost certainly apocryphal) about Wayne getting a call from Howard Hawks (who directed all three of the movies) asking if he'd read the script for Rio Lobo yet and Wayne reportedly responded something to the effect of "Why would I read it? I've already made the movie twice."
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#18
Old 11-13-2009, 09:48 AM
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I don't think of EL DORADO as a remake of RIO BRAVO, I think of them as variations on a theme. (Way less successful was RIO LOBO, which reversed the roles: the bad guy is the sheriff holding one of Wayne's friends hostage, and Wayne and company are the ones trying to break into the jail.)

But sticking to the first two: I think RIO BRAVO is a great film, totally likeable, and we watch it at least once a year just to enjoy. EL DORADO has more pain than RIO BRAVO, and more violence. There's more emphasis on mortality, on aging, and on physical deterioration that comes with age. If you look at the scenes that are different (in EL but not in RIO), I think you'll see that. The boy's suicide, for example, has no parallel in RIO BRAVO; shot in the stomach, he kills himself because he can't bear the pain. Similarly, Wayne's physical disability (caused by a bullet against his spine) isn't found in RIO BRAVO: he clutches his side after every physical activity; he collapses twice, totally helpless, partly paralyzed.

The level of pain and violence is much higher: For compare/contrast, consider the scene where Wayne hits a lying bad guy in the face with a gun -- the violence level and pain in EL DORADO is way more extreme, it's not just a whollop (with a rifle, not a gun), it's a clearly supressed desire to kill. The bit where Wayne forces a gunman out through a door to face an ambush by shooting him in the shoulder and leg, has nothing comparable in RIO BRAVO.

Mitchum's alcoholism is seen primarily as physical, where Dean Martin's was psychological/spiritual. The cure for Mitchum's alcoholism is a physical remedy (James Caan's disgusting concoction) compared to the (much more realistic) self-will and spiritual growth for Dean Martin faces.

One mild clue: When Wayne first meets Maudie (Charlene Holt), she says that he helped her when her gambler-husband was killed: that was the story of Feathers (Angie Dickinson) in RIO BRAVO. I read that as saying that EL DORADO is basically RIO BRAVO ten years later, with the characters older and mortality more imminent.

One more point: at the end of EL DORADO, both Wayne and Mitchum are on crutches. Yes, it's funny, but there's a dark undertone to EL DORADO that's absent in RIO BRAVO. I'm not saying it's a dark film -- to the contrary, the dark is well hidden under the action and humor. But it's there, for sure.

It can be argued that this is just the trend in movies, towards more violence, but I don't think that's a sufficient explanation.
#19
Old 11-13-2009, 10:29 AM
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In a shallow male way, I'd like to say that El Dorado has Michele Carey in the cast and so it gets my vote.

Last edited by glee; 11-13-2009 at 10:30 AM.
#20
Old 11-13-2009, 11:20 AM
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True Grit good, but painful seeing a fat J. Wayne.
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#21
Old 11-13-2009, 01:53 PM
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Rio Bravo for the slash: Wayne kisses Brennan's bald head, Brennan whacks him in the butt with a broom. Clearly a long-established pattern of foreplay.
#22
Old 11-13-2009, 02:43 PM
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Rio Bravo was a favorite of my dad's. I like it best for the memories it brings. And Angie Dickenson is smoking hot.
#23
Old 11-13-2009, 06:26 PM
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It's Rio Bravo for me, but I love them both. The scenes that always stick in my mind are the gun fights (Yeah, I know that makes me a barbarian). But the one where Nelson tosses Wayne the Winchester, and Nelson really does draw and shoot twice while it's in the air. I was impressed. And Stumpy blasting the guy from the jail cell...And the final dynamite scene with Stumpy throwing and Wayne and Martin shooting...Yep, as a fun shoot-um-up Western. Rio Bravo wins. Yeah... and Angie Dickinson.

The final in the trilogy was ...Rio Lobo. That just sucked.

Last edited by TV time; 11-13-2009 at 06:27 PM.
#24
Old 11-13-2009, 06:40 PM
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I always questioned the decision to put pop stars in Wayne's movies. Ricky Nelson, Glen Campbell etc.
Wasn't Bobby Vinton in two of them? The Train Robbers and Big Jake. And Fabian in North to Alaska. Thank heavens he went with Opie Cunningham in The Shootist. We're probably lucky it wasn't Michael Jackson.

Last edited by TV time; 11-13-2009 at 06:41 PM.
#25
Old 11-13-2009, 07:08 PM
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Wasn't Bobby Vinton in two of them? The Train Robbers and Big Jake. And Fabian in North to Alaska.
Also, Frankie Avalon in The Alamo.
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#26
Old 11-13-2009, 07:52 PM
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I like them both, but really prefer Wayne's character in El Dorado. He just has such a commanding presence in that movie. My favorite scene is when he brings the dead lookout-boy back to the ranch. All those gunhands around, and Wayne is in total command. "But if THIS bunch is the best you've got . . ." And then the way he backs his horse out. Just great.
#27
Old 11-13-2009, 08:02 PM
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I must go for El Dorado. Arthur Hunnicutt is from Gravely, Arkansas.
#28
Old 11-13-2009, 08:12 PM
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It's a shame that a young Clint Eastwood was never cast in one of Duke's movies. I suppose he was already too big a star to play 2nd fiddle by the time True Grit was made, but he would have made that movie perfect by playing Le Boeuf.
#29
Old 11-13-2009, 08:34 PM
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It's a shame that a young Clint Eastwood was never cast in one of Duke's movies...he would have made that movie perfect by playing Le Boeuf.
He certainly would. I recall there was some hype over choosing Campbell who couldn't act worth spit because he was from the same state as the author, Charles Portis. Campbell starred in the film version of Charles Portis' Norwood.





Why the hell did I have to mention Gravely, why?

Last edited by carnivorousplant; 11-13-2009 at 08:35 PM.
#30
Old 11-14-2009, 01:26 AM
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Some Triva, anyone notice the Kid John Wayne shoots in El Dorado was Johnny Crawford?

That's right J. Wayne shot Lucas McCain's boy. The Rifleman would be a serious threat against anyone with a pistol.

Last edited by aceplace57; 11-14-2009 at 01:27 AM.
#31
Old 11-14-2009, 09:39 AM
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I must go for El Dorado. Arthur Hunnicutt is from Gravely, Arkansas.
The problem is they don't have true grit in Gravely like they do in Dardanelle in Yell County Arkansas.
#32
Old 11-14-2009, 09:55 AM
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The problem is they don't have true grit in Gravely like they do in Dardanelle in Yell County Arkansas.
But they are so close...
#33
Old 11-14-2009, 12:16 PM
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It's a shame that a young Clint Eastwood was never cast in one of Duke's movies. I suppose he was already too big a star to play 2nd fiddle by the time True Grit was made, but he would have made that movie perfect by playing Le Boeuf.
Yeah, but if I recall correctly, Le Boeuf was killed. You simply can't have Eastwood killed in a movie.

Last edited by BrotherCadfael; 11-14-2009 at 12:16 PM.
#34
Old 11-14-2009, 12:40 PM
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You simply can't have Eastwood killed in a movie.
SPOILER:
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#35
Old 02-18-2012, 09:20 AM
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gotta go with el dorado,james caan was so superior to nelson,martin was ok he held his own but so did mitchum,nothing against dickinson but charlene holt was a truly beautiful woman
#36
Old 02-18-2012, 10:49 AM
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Rio Bravo. I saw it in my youth and have a fond memory of a generally good family-together time.
#37
Old 02-18-2012, 03:09 PM
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Kismet: Just as I opened this thread, Get Along Home, Cindy Cindy came on the radio. Rio Bravo is my all-time favorite movie.
#38
Old 02-20-2012, 02:40 AM
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Rio Bravo in a walk. James Caan's character wasn't that interesting to me, Robert Michum was great in everything he did, but Dean Martin was more interesting to me, and was great in that role. Angie Dickinson had the better role. Ricky Nelson was middlin' in his performance (but much better than Glen Campbell in True Grit), but an interesting wild-card as a character.

Interestingly, the Sci-Fi writer Leigh Brackett wrote the screenplay for Rio Bravo, Rio Lobo, and El Dorado (and several other well-known movies).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leigh_B...t#Screenwriter

I forget where I read it (maybe in the foreword to a collection of her short stories in a library book I took out), but as I recall, she was well aware of the similarities, but that's what they wanted her to wrote, so she wrote 'em anyway.
#39
Old 02-20-2012, 03:00 AM
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It's a toss up for me. I'd watch either movie. I really prefer Walter Brennan, but for the other characters I don't have a great preference. I don't think either Martin or Mitchum gave their finest performances here, but they were stuck playing second fiddle to the Duke.
#40
Old 02-20-2012, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mlees View Post
I like both films. I have to object: John doesn't play the same character in both films.

In Rio Bravo, Wayne is a Sheriff. In El Dorado, Wayne is a gun for hire.

I think it's a little creepy watching a young Angie Dickensen necking with a 52 year old Duke, but since I'm fast approaching 50, I reserve the right to change my attitude in the future.
Angie Dickinson(b . 1931) was either twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old at the time of the filming of Rio Bravo(1959). While she's clearly an adult and in fact had been married since 1952, the general formula for non-creepiness in romantic relations is [Elder's Age] / 2 + 7 <= [Younger's Age] This sets a lower bound for the elder partner's prospects. I didn't invent the formula, but I've seen it around for some time and it maps fairly cleanly to my own squick meter. I'm not saying it's never workable to have larger differences, and it obviously doesn't hold up when both parties are very young.

So in this case we have Wayne, 52, and Dickinson, 28. 52/2 = 26 + 7 = 33 is the lower bound for necking with the Duke at this point in life without running afoul of the creepy calculation.

Now that we're in the future, and your own age has crept up on you, how do you feel about a 28 year old?

Enjoy,
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#41
Old 02-20-2012, 11:46 AM
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Mtgman asks:
Quote:
Now that we're in the future, and your own age has crept up on you, how do you feel about a 28 year old?
I am fifty eight, six years older that the Duke in Rio Bravo. I think that women in their twenties and thirties can be decorative, but I really don't find women under forty to be really attractive. The other, more complete answer to this question: I have never found Angie Dickenson attractive at all, no matter what her age was at the time.

Just one man's opinion.
#42
Old 03-16-2015, 02:05 PM
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I love them both, although I have to give the edge as an overall movie to "Rio Bravo," simply because it's the greatest western ever made. When you go down the list, though, it's very close.
John Wayne: Great in both movies. More vulnerable in "El Dorado" because of his age and his injury, but still a rock either way. Nobody else you'd rather have on your side in a fight.
Second Banana: Dean Martin in "Rio Bravo," Robert Mitchum in "El Dorado." Again, both are equally great so I can't say who's better. Some have said Dean Martin isn't believable as a cowboy: why? Because he's Italian? What, there weren't any Italians who made it out to the west? Come on.
The Sidekick Deputy: Walter Brennan in "Rio Bravo," Arthur Hunnicut in "El Dorado." While I love Hunnicut a lot, and appreciate his greater physical presence in the latter movie, Brennan is simply one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, character actors of all time. Edge has to go to him.
The Kid: Sadly, this one isn't close. Rick Nelson is a (still) criminally under-appreciated musician who had more to do than anyone with making rock 'n roll acceptable as a pop culture phenomenon, but he was not an actor. He's not so bad in "Rio Bravo" that he "interrupts the movie," as some have said, but he's not good. James Caan, on the other hand, probably couldn't sing his way out of a paper bag but he's a damn good actor. He gets it.
The Girl: Another tough one. Angie Dickinson in "Rio Bravo," Charlene Holt in "El Dorado." I love Angie Dickinson a lot, and don't find it bothersome in the least that she's so much younger, I still have to hand it to Charlene Holt, who is more clearly a WOMAN. And gorgeous, too.
The Bad Guy: Not really close here, either, unless you count the wonderful Claude Akins in "Rio Bravo" instead of the relatively generic John Russell as the villain. But really, Ed Asner is just too good either way. One could say that the real bad guy in "El Dorado" is Christopher George's gunslinger, but I think he's only really leaning the way he's leaning because he's being paid. If the money was good enough, he'd probably have joined up with Duke. He is excellent in this film, though. One of several actors in it who puzzlingly did not become major stars, even though they had serious charisma and real acting chops. Charlene Holt is another, Michelle Carey is yet another.
Other than that, it's a wash. Same director, same screenwriter (both among the greatest in their fields), even the same location (Old Tucson Studios, Arizona). Two excellent, classic movies that make me scratch my head and wonder why the hell they don't even TRY to make 'em this good anymore.
#43
Old 03-16-2015, 02:16 PM
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I like the scene in The War Wagon when Wayne and Kirk Douglass turn around and shoot the two guys coming out of the bar. Douglas says, "Mine hit the ground first." and Wayne replies, "Mine was taller."
#44
Old 03-16-2015, 03:44 PM
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Personally I have just merged the best of both in my head and remember a truly great movie with Wayne, Mitchum, Caan, Brennan,Asner and Dickenson.
#45
Old 03-16-2015, 03:50 PM
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Caan blasts a cactus with a shotgun, and Wayne looks at him suspiciously, "We you aimin' at it?"
#46
Old 03-16-2015, 04:44 PM
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(Second resurrection for this one, huh?)

Probably my second and third favorite John Wayne movies ("The War Wagon" has to be #1). Dean Martin was far better than Mitchum, but in most other ways I give the nod to "El Dorado".

The scene in ED where Wayne declines the job from Asner, that alone makes ED stand out. The bit with "Fancy vest", and then the way he backs his horse out. Just classic. Second runner up is the scene where he takes the dead boy back to the family. Wayne's "It don't help much" was perfectly understated.
#47
Old 03-16-2015, 05:33 PM
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Mitchum played a drunk much better than Martin because Martin was a fake Hollywood drunk who basically pretended to be a lush. Mitchum was the real thing.
#48
Old 03-16-2015, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
Mitchum played a drunk much better than Martin because Martin was a fake Hollywood drunk who basically pretended to be a lush. Mitchum was the real thing.
I'd say Mitchum was just a better actor. This wasn't a bad performance for Martin, he was just better suited for lighter drama.
#49
Old 03-16-2015, 09:25 PM
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I love 'em both. I agree completely with mahermis' analysis.

Personally, I like El Dorado a little more, because the big fight scene made a little more sense. In Rio Bravo, the fight scene is just developing when it gets completely snafued by the dynamite.

(If dynamite was that effective, it would have been the go-to weapon in all western gunfights!)

The fight in the church, with Bull shooting at the bells, was more fun, and (slightly) more believable. (Bad special effects of the guy falling to his death in the pews.)

By the way, I'm really pissed at Turner Classic Movies for trimming out the business with James Caan pretending to be Chinese so he can sneak up on the bad guys. Racist? Hell yes. And so the hell what? Are we really going to get into the business of editing out bits of great movie classics? Phooey!
#50
Old 03-17-2015, 02:23 PM
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I too love 'em both; but If I can't choose McLintock! then El Dorado would edge out Rio Bravo.
I enjoy John Wayne as the moral gunfighter over JW the sherrif
Side Kick James Caan the sawed off shotgun shooter is more fun than Ricky Nelson the gunfighter.
While I like Angie Dickenson; When I hear Charlene Holt laugh when she realizes that John Wayne and Robert Mitchum both know her. Man that's one sexy laugh. It makes me feel all tingly down there.
Friend in trouble: Robert Mitchum over Dean Martin. DM is better with his interaction in the bar when the dollar is thrown into the spittoon; but RM is more fun to watch as he's getting sober, and how when everybody bring him soap; then when Maudie has to leave through the back, RM is the one in the tub and he covers HIS eyes as Maudie walks past.

Bonus hot girl: Michele Carey as Josephine "Joey" MacDonald. Who doesn't love that scene when James Caan tells her "Why do you wear your hair like some wild mustang that needs a curry-comb and a brush?"

Bad guy gunslinger I definitely have to go with Christopher George over Ward Bond in this one.

For pure entertainment value I have to go with El Dorado.
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