DIRECTED BY HOWARD HAWKS
PRODUCED BY HOWARD HAWKS/ PAUL HELMICK
MUSIC BY NELSON RIDDLE
INFORMATION FROM IMDb
Hired gunman Cole Thornton turns down a job with Bart Jason
as it would mean having to fight an old sheriff friend.
Some months later he finds out the lawman is on the bottle
and a top gunfighter is heading his way to help Jason.
Along with young Mississippi, handy with a knife
and now armed with a diabolical shotgun, Cole returns to help.
Summary written by Jeremy Perkins
John Wayne .... Cole Thornton
Robert Mitchum .... El Dorado Sheriff J.P. Harrah
James Caan .... Alan Bourdillion Traherne ('Mississippi')
Charlene Holt .... Maudie
Paul Fix .... Dr. Miller
Arthur Hunnicutt .... Bull Harris
Michele Carey .... Josephine (Joey) MacDonald
R.G. Armstrong .... Kevin MacDonald
Edward Asner .... Bart Jason
Christopher George .... Nelse McLeod
Marina Ghane .... Maria
Robert Donner .... Milt (McLeod gang)
John Gabriel .... Pedro (McLeod gang)
Johnny Crawford .... Luke MacDonald
Adam Roarke .... Matt MacDonald
Victoria George .... Jared's wife
Jim Davis .... Jim Purvis (Bart Jason's foreman)
Ann Newman-Mantee .... Sam MacDonald's wife (as Anne Newman)
Diane Strom .... Matt's wife
Robert Rothwell .... Saul MacDonald
Olaf Wieghorst .... Swede Larsen (gunsmith)
Richard Andrade .... Bit part (uncredited)
Charlita .... Bit part (uncredited)
Don Collier .... Deputy Joe Braddock (uncredited)
Enrique Contreras .... Bit part (uncredited)
Chuck Courtney .... Jared MacDonald (uncredited)
Linda Dangcil .... Bit part (uncredited)
Nacho Galindo .... Mexican saloon keeper (uncredited)
Joseph Garcio .... Bit part (uncredited)
Betty Jane Graham .... Bit part (uncredited)
Robert 'Buzz' Henry .... Bit part (uncredited)
William Henry .... Sheriff Dodd Draper (uncredited)
Riley Hill .... Bit part (uncredited)
Chuck Horne .... Joe (uncredited)
Rodolfo Hoyos Jr. .... Bit part (uncredited)
Bonnie Charyl Josephson .... Bit part (uncredited)
Mike Letz .... Bit part (uncredited)
Frank Leyva .... Bit part (uncredited)
Myra MacMurray .... Bit part (uncredited)
John Mitchum .... Elmer (Jason's bartender) (uncredited)
Ruben Moreno .... Bit part (uncredited)
Deen Pettinger .... Bit part (uncredited)
Lee Powell .... Bit part (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson .... Jason's gunman (uncredited)
Anthony Rogers .... Dr. Charles Donovan (uncredited)
Danny Sands .... Bit part (uncredited)
Robert Shelton .... Bit part (uncredited)
Dean Smith .... Charlie Hagan (McLeod gang) (uncredited)
John Strachen .... Bit part (uncredited)
Rosa Turich .... Rosa (uncredited)
Ralph Volkie .... Bit part (uncredited)
Christopher West .... Bit part (uncredited)
Harry Brown (novel The Stars in Their Courses)
Leigh Brackett (screenplay)
Polly Burson .... stunts (uncredited)
Joe Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
Gary Combs .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Courtney .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
Robert 'Buzz' Henry .... stunts (uncredited)
Walt La Rue .... stunts (uncredited)
Terry Leonard .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Raymond .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
Danny Sands .... stunts (uncredited)
Dean Smith .... stunts (uncredited)
Neil Summers .... stunts (uncredited)
George P. Wilbur .... stunts (uncredited)
John Wayne starred in Rio Bravo (1959), and after reading the script for "El Dorado" he asked to play J.P. Hara, but the part went to Robert Mitchum.
The opening credits feature a montage of original paintings that depict various scenes of cowboy life in the Old West. The artist was Olaf Wieghorst, who appears in the film as the Gunsmith, Swede Larsen.
The poem recited by Mississippi is an actual poem called "El Dorado" by Edgar Allan Poe.
Robert Mitchum revealed in an interview that when Howard Hawks asked him to be in the film, Mitchum asked what was the story of the film. Hawks reportedly replied that the story didn't matter because the film had some "great characters".
Robert Mitchum's character was wounded and needed to use a crutch, but Mitchum would switch which arm he used with the crutch throughout shooting. The continuity was so poor that John Wayne (who actually worked continuity in silents while a star college football player, a method used by Hollywood fans to slip players some spending money) had his character mention it in one of the last scenes. Director Howard Hawks enjoyed it so much he left it in the movie. Mitchum's version of this story is that he objected but Hawks had him switch sides with the crutch based on what looked best in that scene. When Hawks saw how bad it looked in the dailies, Mitchum suggested the additional dialogue between his character and Wayne's to cover the gaffe.
The bartender that Robert Mitchum's character shoots in the saloon is played by his brother, actor/writer John Mitchum.
Shooting started in late 1965. The movie was trade screened to exhibitors on 15 November 1966 but not released until June 1967.
The poem "El Dorado" has four verses. James Caan's character recites three, omitting the second, which laments the aging knight's failure to locate El Dorado. He recites the first verse and part of the fourth riding with John Wayne after they meet for the first time, the third when Wayne is about to ride out for the final gunfight, and the complete fourth when he himself takes up the second wagon's reins.
The ingredients that Mississippi recites for Johnny Diamond's recipe to sober up J. P. Hara are: cayenne pepper, hot mustard powder, ipecac, asafoetida, and croton oil. Ipecac is a strong emetic, asafoetida is a spice known for its strong sulfurous odor, and croton oil is a potent purgative. Anyone who administered this combination in real life would likely be shot a day or two later when the patient could finally leave the outhouse, assuming the unfortunate victim had not died of dehydration from the violent fluid diarrhea croton oil causes.
The rifle that Bull uses is an 1850 Colt Revolving rifle.
Arch-conservative John Wayne did not get along with actor Edward Asner, whose politics were quite liberal, during filming, and constantly referred to Asner as "that New York actor".
Howard Hawks had a joke about the 58-year-old John Wayne's age by showing him getting to know a girl (played by Charlene Holt), as opposed to romancing the girl played by Angie Dickinson in Rio Bravo (1959).
Harry Brown wanted his novel, "The Stars in their Courses", removed from the opening credits because the film bore little resemblance to his book.
Most of the scenes showing John Wayne running were performed by a double.
The scenes of the town during daytime were filmed on location, but all the nighttime scenes were filmed in the studio.
According to James Caan, during a break he and John Wayne got into an altercation over a game of chess. Caan accused Wayne of cheating. Robert Mitchum intervened and cooled things down.
A belt buckle that John Wayne sports in many scenes features the Red River D brand, an homage to his first collaboration with Howard Hawks, Red River (1948).
The movie is more or less a remake of Rio Bravo (1959), although Howard Hawks always denied this.
John Wayne was disappointed that the movie was released at the same time as his next movie, The War Wagon (1967). However, despite this film receiving generally poor reviews and being seen as old-fashioned and out of tune with the times, both movies proved to be hugely successful at the box office.
Though John Wayne was playing an older character he declined to wear a gray toupee in the film. He would not be seen with gray hair until True Grit (1969).
Link this trivia
The bathtub scene was largely Robert Mitchum's invention. Members of the crew were laughing while it was being filmed at the idea of Mitchum being embarrassed in front of a woman.
* Revealing mistakes: Obvious mannequin inserted into scene to replace Mississippi just before the horses jump over him.
* Continuity: When J.P. Hara returns from Jason's bar and enters the jail, the brim of his hat is up/down/up between shots.
* Continuity: When Mississippi throws a chair against the saloon window, the chair breaks the glass and bounces back to the porch when seen from the outside, but goes all the way through the glass and pulls the drapes down with it when seen from the inside. Also, the outside shots show there are shades covering the upper parts of the windows, but there are no shades visible when seen from the inside.
* Continuity: After Cole shoots Luke MacDonald he rides across the stream, which gets the front of his trousers wet. When he climbs off his horse only seconds later, his trousers are dry.
* Continuity: The sheriff got shot in the right leg and used a crutch, limping with his right leg. Later in the movie, he moved the crutch to the left leg and limped on that leg (see also trivia).
* Continuity: The opening shot - J.P. Harrah walking down the street - is done as three separate shots; each shot is obviously at a different time of day (as denoted by the shadows).
* Continuity: When Mississippi tackles Joey McDonald in the barn, his hat falls off of his head, and can be clearly seen lying next to him and Joey as they have their conversation. When they both stand up, the hat is still on the floor of the barn. Then, as Mississippi and Joey brush the straw off of themselves, Mississippi simply leans forward slightly and is able to pick his hat up from where it lies at his feet.
* Continuity: When Cole Thornton arrives at Kevin MacDonald's farm, pulling the horse with Luke MacDonald's body, the shadow is on his right side. So, for a while, the shadow appears on his left side. Afterwards, it's on the right side again.
* Continuity: When Cole rides near the river and get shot by Josephine MacDonald, the shadow is projected to the opposite side of the river. Soon after, when Josephine rides ahead to Cole, the shadow is in the river side.
* Continuity: After Sheriff J.P. Harra hits Jason with his rifle, he works the cocking lever to chamber a round. But no empty cartridge is ejected, even though he fired the rifle at the bartender moments before.
* Continuity: When Cole is heading back to El Dorado after meeting Mississippi, and falls off his horse, he braces his fall with his paralyzed right arm.
* Continuity: The morning after Cole and Mississippi arrive in El Dorado, they are walking back to the Sheriff's office. When they approach the jail, Cole stops at the bottom of the steps and yells out to Bull that they are "coming in". When the camera changes to the inside you can see the shadow of someone walking up to the door. When the camera changes back to the outside, Cole and Missisippi are still standing at the bottom of the steps to the jail.
* Audio/visual unsynchronized: After Mississippi dives under the horses, you can clearly see Cole's lips moving, but he isn't saying anything.
* Continuity: As Cole and Mississippi shoot at the men on horseback, we see J.P. getting ready to come out of the jail on the right side of the screen with a cowboy hat on his head. In the next shot, no cowboy hat is seen.
* Continuity: Bull's position changes between shots as Cole loads J.P.'s gun and the group gets ready to confront Jason in the saloon.
* Continuity: When they are getting ready to confront Jason in his Saloon, not only does Bull's position change between shots, but the position of the guns he is holding changes as well.
* Continuity: At the end, when Cole goes looking for Maudie, JP has his leg propped up on the desk. A spot appears and then disappears on the bottom of his boot.
* Continuity: Whan JP is sitting at his desk after being shot, he grabs his injured leg, lifts it up, and turns to face Cole. When the camera angle changes, he is facing away from Cole looking back over his shoulder, and then once again he lifts his leg up, and turns to face Cole.
* Continuity: After the men ride through town shooting, and JP gets shot in the leg, he collapses to his knee. In the next shot as Cole gets to him, he is still standing.
* Miscellaneous: On the VHS case, Cole Thorton (John Wayne) is shown having brown eyes, as J.P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum) is shown having blue eyes. In reality, this is reversed.
* Continuity: After Cole shoots the gun out of Milt's hand and tells him to "Pick it up and try again", the gun is about a foot from the front of the cabinet. When Milt and Pedro reach down to pick up their guns a moment later, Milt's gun is now several feet from the front of the cabinet.
* Continuity: When Mississippi test fires his sawed-off shotgun he is enveloped in a plume of gunpowder smoke. When the shot cuts to another camera there is no smoke at all.
* Revealing mistakes: The bugle that Bull plays is a 4 note horn, which in reality cannot play some of the songs that Bull plays on it throughout the movie.
* Factual errors: Cole was shot in the lower back and the bullet lodged near the lower spine. The nerves controlling the arms are located in the upper spine, the neck area, so the injury from the bullet wound could not affect Cole's gun hand.
* Continuity: At the end, when Cole goes looking for Maudie, the position of JP's crutch, leaning on the end of the desk, changes back and forth between camera angles.
* Revealing mistakes: When the 4 men on horses rush Cole and Mississippi with their gun firing, Mississippi dives in front of the horses and one of the horses steps on his back and he does not even move or flinch because it is obviously just a dummy.
* Continuity: When Maudie, dressed in her lingerie, invited Cole into her room, they leave Mississippi right outside the door with the two horses. When Cole later opens the door to leave, the horses and Mississippi are not anywhere in sight from the doorway. When they cut outside of the room, Mississipi is right in front of the door with the two horses again.
* Revealing mistakes: When Mississippi test fires the shotgun it changes from an outdoor (on location) shot to a movie studio background plate on James Caan's close up of shooting the gun and back to location for the wide angle. Also, in the close up of the shot of Mississippi shooting the gun, it appears as though an animated gun flash has been added.
* Continuity: When Joey shoots Cole he is quartering towards her. The camera angle is from where Joey is positioned. Later when the Dr. is discussing Cole's wound the path of the bullet entered in Cole's back, impossible from where Joey was positioned.
* Continuity: When Cole shoots the gun out of Milt's hand in the cantina, the gun flies over the little cabinet by the door, and even makes the trumpet player jump out of the way to avoid the flying gun. When Milt picks it back up, it is now on the ground, a few feet in front of the cabinet.
* Continuity: (At 01:21) When Cole and Mississippi leave Sheriff JP in the jail, he has 3-4 days' worth of stubble. When he catches up with them in the street moments later, he is clean-shaven.
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Old Tucson - 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Tucson, Arizona, USA
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