El Dorado (1967)

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    Plot Summary
    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

    Full Cast
    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)

    Writing Credits
    Harry Brown (novel The Stars in Their Courses)
    Leigh Brackett (screenplay)

    Original Music
    Nelson Riddle

    Harold Rosson

    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.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Kanab, Utah, USA
    Old Tucson - 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Tucson, Arizona, USA

    Watch this Clip

    El Dorado

    Previous Discussion:-

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 10 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • El Dorado is a 1967 western movie starring John Wayne and Robert Mitchum,
    directed by Howard Hawks, and released by Paramount Pictures.
    The screenplay was written by Leigh Brackett and based on the novel
    The Stars in Their Courses by Harry Brown.
    Nelson Riddle wrote the musical score.
    The film was shot in Technicolor and ran 126 minutes.
    The paintings in the credits are by Olaf Wieghorst, who plays Swede Larsen in the film.

    The supporting cast includes James Caan, Arthur Hunnicutt, Charlene Holt,
    Ed Asner, Christopher George, Michele Carey, R. G. Armstrong,
    Paul Fix, Johnny Crawford, Adam Roarke
    , and Jim Davis.

    The movie is the second film in a trilogy directed by Hawks
    varying the idea of a sheriff defending his office against
    belligerent outlaw elements in the town:
    the other two films are Rio Bravo (1959) and Rio Lobo (1970),
    both also starring Duke
    The plotlines of all three films are similar enough
    to almost qualify El Dorado and Rio Lobo as remakes

    I thought this was a good fun movie, and very enjoyable.
    Part 2, of Hawk's trilogy, but not quite as strong as Rio Bravo.
    The similarities between the 3 movies, is mentioned in another thread.
    Duke, once again settling into his more mature roles,
    with comfort and ease.
    Mitch, was his usual brilliant self, and acted well with Duke,
    and there was some chemistry, between them.
    James Caan, who was in awe of Duke, acquitted himself well,
    and when watching the review, and was supprised, to find how funny he was!!
    He did his job well, even though he kept listening to Duke, and getting into trouble
    with Hawks!!
    Surrounded by lots of familiar friends, wranglers, and stunt men,
    Duke felt at ease.
    Reviewers, found the film, not spectacular., but a crisp diversion,
    with some amusing moments.

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 5 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • On The Cutting Room Floor

    1.Duke,Charlene Holt, Mitch, and Paul Fix, having a good time.
    This sequence occurs before Duke leaves El Dorado after being shot
    by Michele Carey.

    2,The scene where Michele Carey, is holding the rifle, she shot Duke with.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Hi EE

    Thank you for including information about deleted scenes, but I thought the scene in which there is a party before Duke left El Dorado after getting shot was left in.

    I know there was another scene deleted from the movie in which Joey apologises to Duke for shooting him.

    El dorado is however a great movie and works really well, its one of my favourite John Wayne westerns.



  • After Joey and Mississippi return to the jail after the wrestling match in the barn.As Joey is leaving,Mississippi says I believe she would have shot me.Cole states"She shot me.
    I don't remember the exact words that Kevin McDonald says after Cole brings Luke home.But Kevin says I guess you're telling the truth.Thank you for bringing him home.Cole looks down and says"It don't help much.
    This is one of my favorite movies.

  • Hi,
    I have been researching all the threads, back to the start of the JWMB,
    looking for previous discussion, relating to the movies.
    I have found the following, comments, and have copied them here,
    so that they are now under one forum:-

    If you are interested, please click on the link:-

    El Dorado, Not as bad as I Thought

    Here's a link that compares,

    Rio Bravo, El Dorado, Rio Lobo,the Similarities

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Quote

    I thought this was a good fun movie, and very enjoyable. ...
    Reviewers, found the film, not spectacular., but a crisp diversion,
    with some amusing moments.

    That's a smart way of putting it.

    I'll post a couple questions here:

    1) According to the Internet Movie Database, El Dorado debuted in Japan in December 1966, six months before it premiered in America in June 1967.


    Is that true, and if so, why?

    2) It seems as if the daytime shots of and in "El Dorado" occurred in a different place from the nighttime sequences, which comprise the majority of the film and, frankly, appear to have been shot on the studio back-lot. Has anyone else noticed that?

  • ***SPOILERS*** for El Dorado

    I don't think that El Dorado (1967) is a terribly substantial film or a significant Western in the history of the genre. The movie is obviously derivative of director Howard Hawks' previous Western with John Wayne, Rio Bravo (1959), and its treatment of violence is lightweight, lacking the gravity of Hawks' austere and often grave Red River (1948). Surely, certain thematic explorations about the flippant resort to violence in the Old West and the mercenary nature of gunfighting go untapped in El Dorado. In a sense, Hawks was just coasting by this late point in his career.

    All that said, it's nearly undeniable that El Dorado makes for pleasant and enjoyable Western entertainment. Hawks' usual sense of pacing—fluid yet never rushed—is evident, as is his canny sense of comedy, his witty dialogue, his delightful sets and landscapes, and his richly drawn sense of character. The action set-pieces are nifty and nimble (if unrealistic), and the use of montage is striking and dramatic. Hawks' compositions also carry a certain sense of irony, placing characters in unexpected and compromising positions (an injured Wayne temporarily laid out in front of a door, a bathing Robert Mitchum embarrassed in the presence of attractive women going in-and-out of the sheriff's office). Best of all, the director takes his two great macho stars, Wayne and Mitchum, and renders them vulnerable. When Wayne eventually re-encounters the 48-year old Mitchum after some six or seven months on the trail, he finds a grubby, pathetic drunkard. Mitchum's face is unshaven, his hair is lank, plastered, and greasy, and his mind is desperately focused on alcohol and nothing else, so sorry are his sorrows over a woman who broke his heart. He isn't even properly clothed, wearing a filthy, dirt-stained undergarment over his sweaty torso, his sheriff's badge now serving as a tacky joke rather than a jewel of justice. He's a man who has basically washed away his life, his once noble position as the formerly respected sheriff of El Dorado, and his once feared reputation as an awesome gunslinger. Then you have the 58-year old Wayne, still a powerful and legendary gunfighter, but clearly vulnerable, too, toppling from his horse and complaining about a bullet that's lodged in his back and that periodically causes numbness in his hand and ultimately, temporary paralysis in his side. The Duke's paunch is thick and glaring and he looks slightly weary, a little wayworn if still a strong man to be respected.

    Together, these two straggling stars will rely on one another to succeed, subverting their machismo even as they affirm it in ironic ways. With villainy on the horizon, the focused Wayne arrives in town and begins the stumbling process of sobering up the disgraced and wallowing Mitchum. Eventually, through quite a bit of trial and error, Mitchum is warmed by the camaraderie of his old friend, and gradually, almost imperceptibly, he reverses course. Late in the film, we see Mitchum clean-shaven and wearing a flattering black hat and his sheriff's badge attached to a crisp, handsome maroon shirt. It's a startling epiphany, and yet one that had been coming for some time. As for Wayne, he's taken hostage late in the film and finds his shooting arm paralyzed, and yet still manages to use his savvy to outwit the opposition. Combined with a young sidekick, an old one, and a couple of Howard Hawks' typically pretty yet sporty women, these ill-fitting yet vigorous individuals rub each other the right way and use their brains and teamwork to best the brawnier villains.

    In a sense, it's classic Hawks, with male bonding and bantering women and triumphs against the odds. The characters are vulnerable and in varying sorts of pain, but they fit together as part of a cross-woven quilt to form the fabric of American society. Indeed, Hawks may not have been as self-consciously democratic as his rival John Ford, but his basic thrust represented the best of the American ideal. In his universe, El Dorado included, heterogeneous individuals bond together to compensate for personal and professional shortcomings, belie outward appearances, and form an unbroken circle of trust and mutual reliance. In the process, they overcome seemingly daunting odds, redeem one another, and protect their society from hostile, hegemonic, homogenous, and anti-democratic forces. El Dorado epitomizes all that and memorably captures Hawks' unfailing spirit, especially in its final shot, which shows Wayne and Mitchum limping down the street of El Dorado together, each wobbling with the help of a crutch, neither man omnipotent and yet neither man waylaid. Both men are suffering from bullet wounds, and yet both men are resilient and forever bantering. And so if El Dorado is not a significant or original Western, it can be forgiven, for it's entertaining and enlivening in the best democratic spirit that America has to offer. As one of the characters says, Hawks’ world revolves around an unpretentious "host of friends."

  • Quote

    Originally posted by joekiddlouischama@Aug 23 2006, 11:00 AM
    ***SPOILERS*** for El Dorado

    I don't think that El Dorado (1967) is a terribly substantial film or a significant Western in the history of the genre. The movie is obviously derivative of director Howard Hawks' previous Western with John Wayne, Rio Bravo (1959), and its treatment of violence is lightweight, lacking the gravity of Hawks' austere and often grave Red River (1948). Surely, certain thematic explorations about the flippant resort to violence in the Old West and the mercenary nature of gunfighting go untapped in El Dorado. In a sense, Hawks was just coasting by this late point in his career.

    Hi Joe

    Surely this was the point of El Dorado, when Leone was catering for a certain audiences with his portrayal of gritty violence, Hawks was offering a refreshing alternative. A movie that includes violence but in a more lightweight manner this is something which many people craved due to the cold war, vietnam or even the spagetti westerns and thats one reason why El dorado is so popular even in 2006.



  • Robbie, that's true. In 1967, the Leone Westerns were hitting America for the first time and attracting a certain audience with their newfangled violence, amoral anti-heroism, and surrealistic nihilism. At the same time, there was another (more traditional) audience out there that sought comfort in such time-honored values as male bonding, communal protection, honor, optimism, and redemption. And by exquisitely fulfilling those values, El Dorado indeed proved comforting, as evidenced by its strong domestic theatrical rentals earnings of $6M.


    By 1966, some Hollywood Westerns, such as Duel at Diablo (Ralph Nelson, 1966) and The Appaloosa (Sidney J. Furie, 1966), were starting to reflect the bloodthirsty grimness then raging in European Westerns across the Atlantic. Howard Hawks and John Wayne, however, remained true to their values and continued to craft Westerns in the lighter, romantic mold that they believed in. We can be grateful for that decision, because the different types of Westerns across the spectrum are what makes the genre rich and multifaceted.

  • Hi Keith you have used a picture from 'The Sons of Kaite Elder' for this thread, the picture depicts both Dean Martin and John Wayne.

    I agree with the posted above the 'unknown' is defently James Cann.



  • Hi Robbie,

    Thanks, this has happened a couple of times,
    I don't know whether it was to do with the change over, or what!
    as the picture clearly states, where it's from,

    Ah well it will sort it self out!

    I agree James Caan, also!

    Best Wishes
    London- England