Rio Bravo (1959)

Rio Bravo (1959), produced and directed by Howard Hawks.

It's become an often-used setup, mythically powerful: the sheriff has the punk killer locked up and his powerful family wants him back. There will be blood. The myth includes a siege of the jail, although that doesn't happen here.

Everyone says this was intended to be the anti-High Noon (1952). Townspeople are willing to help the sheriff, but he won't allow it. Dimitri Tiomkin scored both films. Although this one has mostly incidental music, it was influential for Ennio Morricone's music in the Sergio Leone westerns.

Great credit is due to Dean Martin, who gives an earnest performance of the recovering alcoholic, showing us how hard it is.

Only in the movies would Angie Dickinson (age 28) fall for John Wayne's ugly mug. We fade to black when he carries her up the stairs. A couple of times she seems to be channeling Lauren Bacall from Hawks' own To Have and Have Not (1944). Walter Brennan provides comic relief in both films.

Little Ricky Nelson is 18 and must croon, echo chamber included.

Hawks did two loose remakes of the picture: El Dorado (1966) and Rio Lobo (1970), both with John Wayne.

In this case Technicolor gives the film an antique look.

Available on Blu-ray, but my thumbnails are from the DVD.

I've seen the Blu-ray and the image upgrade seems very minor. It does have a commentary by John Carpenter and Richard Schickel. One of them says the film reacts not to High Noon (1952) but rather to 3:10 to Yuma (1957) where the lawman struggles to do his job.

They say Hawks adored John Wayne.