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…