No one better directs The Duke than Howard Hawks in 'Rio Lobo'

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    There are 7 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by ZS_Maverick.

    • No one better directs The Duke than Howard Hawks in 'Rio Lobo'

      Kevin added a new article:

      In 1970 the publicity machine was knocking itself dead, extolling Howard Hawks's "Rio Lobo" even before it was finished. Much was made of Hawks being reunited with saddle pard John Wayne, with whom he made classics such as "Red River" and "Rio Bravo," among other films.

      Journalist George Plimpton (who scored a cameo) did a TV documentary on "Rio Lobo" and Hawks, thus pushing expectations even closer to the stratosphere. Sadly, "Rio Lobo" was a huge disappointment, even to hardcore Wayne and Hawks fans like me. Critics savaged it and the film vanished. The Duke continued working but Hawks retired.

      I bought the two-DVD set of Westerns at a bargain basement price, one of the films indeed being "Rio Lobo," the other the far superior "Monte Walsh." Bad memories kept me from screening "Rio Lobo" for more than a month, but I finally gave in — and guess what? I had a pretty good time!

      The film's warts are still there, big and bold: Wayne surrounded by attractive youngsters who are wooden and stiff. His hunky co-star, Jorge Rivero, allegedly spoke little English, but learned his lines phonetically, thus making delivery almost robotic. The plan itself was a rehash, yet not warmed nearly enough.

      Hawks apparently knew the film was a failure even while shooting it on gorgeous locations in old Mexico. He reportedly was so disgusted he told his editors to cut out as much bad stuff as they could. The parent company, National General, was dying. I think they should have spent their…
      Kevin - Moderator/Administrator
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    • Nicely written. Although, I enjoyed Rio Lobo the first time I saw it and the few times since. As you wrote, the movie started great, slowed down through the middle and then picked up at the end. John Wayne, as usual, and the few veteran character actors were great, but the new actors... I always wondered how they ever got the job.
    • Hello Barry, and welcome to the group. I often wondered, as well, how they got the job. I wonder if it bothered Duke any, the ultimate professional. I flinch a few times at Jennifer O'Neill and Jorge Rivera's delivery of lines. An enjoyable movie, but not on my often watched list.

      "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "
    • I thought Rio Lobo was bad in some of the same ways you guys wrote about. Stilted speaking, etc. However
      they aren't making any more John Wayne movies, so I don't judge it so harshly now.
      Couldn't the director have coaxed some better lines out of some of those people. Duke was still great in it. :)
      "A people that values their Privileges above it's Principles. Soon looses both." Dwight Eisenhower
    • @Hondo Apache I just watched it a couple of days ago. Overall I like the movie, but at points it seems to drag alittle.
      Kevin - Moderator/Administrator
      Official JWMB online store
    • Barry Peters. "I always wondered how they ever got the job."
      My opinion, but I believe Duke wanted the young people in
      his movies. It spread his appeal to another generation.
      I was so glad to see Ricky Nelsen in this movie. He sang also.
      In "North to Alaska," Fabian did an outstanding job of
      playing that part of being smitten with Capucine. Made the
      movie better for me. One of my favorite wayne movies.
      "A people that values their Privileges above it's Principles. Soon looses both." Dwight Eisenhower
    • "Rio Lobo" is one of those movies that reminds me of why I never listen to critics; I watched it again last night and enjoyed every minute of it!

      Sure, some of the acting is not that great, but I see that in a lot of movies made in the late 60's and through the 70's - even in big critically acclaimed movies; it's just a product of the times!

      Of course, two of my favorites will always be "Rio Bravo" and "El Dorado"; "Rio Lobo" may pale in comparison with those; but to me, it's still a lot of fun and a very enjoyable watch!

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