Saturday, December 10, 2016

Movie Spotlight: Rio Bravo (1959)

I almost didn’t do this review. I wanted it to be easy I guess... for every word to rush with the perfection of a mountain stream. Then it came - who said it was comfortable for a mountain stream? If water had feelings wouldn’t it be a bit painful for the water to be jounced around like that? Yet that is what makes it so madly beautiful. I’m not saying this review will be in rounded beauty of form, but it is here because I really want to share it with you!

And yet, with all that tangle of emotions Rio Bravo as a story, is in fact, almost glaringly simple.

The Big Bad Guy is trying to intimidate the Good Guy into releasing the other Bad Guy.

The End.

Really on paper that’s it and once you see that the Good Guy is John Wayne, farewell to any doubt that he will give in, but in truth that is just the beginning.

It doesn’t say anything about the tough love of Chance (John Wayne) in driving his friend to crack out of the well of self-pity. Not really throwing his weight around too obnoxiously he just does it and does it right and if that steps on a few people's toes so be it.

Next is Stumpy, the rather nutty old man who is loyal to the backbone.

Then there is Colorado Ryan who feels like a breath of cool air in all the dusty strain that goes on in the rest of the movie. Chill to his fingertips with an easy smile and quips that leave people thinking, he owns his classic role of cowboy. However, with his gleam of humor and the way he can hold himself passionless about the situation and yet totally be with it, he plays the role with a stunning, unique turn of hand.

And then… then, there is Dude. Words fail me people, they really do. His character and everything about him is superbly shown. Some girl broke his heart and he’s lonely and betrayed and it’s just so sad. So he sinks to the depths, only held from drowning completely by the loyal hand of Chance. There is his struggle against the weight pulling him down, which is powerful and inspiring and frankly really tough to watch sometimes as you hear all the misery he’s known. Finally he comes out and is able to look back across his pain. Then suddenly he becomes the balancer, the straight thinking one, his smile is back and his eyes aren’t quite so tragic. He can relax and it is all so beautiful. Yes, you could say I like him and his story just a bit. :)

The music - Dimitri Tiomkins wrote the theme song (anyone else hearing echoes of High Noon?) and Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson both sing, ‘nuf said.

Leaving me with a smile, a warm grand feeling inside, and maybe just a few tears, it ranks right up there with High Noon  (yes, it's that high!). This story definitely worked its way into my heart.

I could not post this without a shout-out to my terrific sister Arwen who introduced me to this, (and hundreds of other great stories), and is my general "Did-I-get-this-right?" person. Thanks old thing.

And…. This is my second post for The John Wayne Blogathon hosted by Hamlette of Hamlette's Soliloquy and Quiggy of The Midnite Drive-In. Thank you SO MUCH for giving me the impetus to revel in some of my Favorite Sort of Things. :)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Movie Spotlight: The Big Trail (1930)

Google names this film as an "epic western", which is rather surprising perhaps as it was made in 1930, but is.... it... EVER! In fact so greatly laid on is the epicness that it is almost overwhelming. Imagine it as a history of the pioneers come alive. Floods, blizzards, the perils of the desert; each of the dangers the pioneers faced are shown in gritty frankness; not spoken of but shown, and as such it is a very impressive work indeed. And the people - ! They all look exactly like an old photo come to life. Yes, this film is worthy of being watched for the detail alone.

Now for my favorite parts - because though the above may be very educational there are other things to it as well...

Catching a glimpse of a young, rather lumberjack looking Ward Bond - he isn't even credited, but the few glimpses one can get of him made the film for me. :)

The heroine... and her siblings - You don't get to see any really close-ups of her brother and sister, but I absolutely love the interactions of the trio. Throw John Wayne in the mix, and you just wish you could see more of them all as a family.

Catch the name in the last sentence (and on the movie cover and all these screenshots)? Yes, my friend, this film stars the great and honorable John Wayne in one of his first big picture starring roles. This was before his image was really developed in the film we all know and love known as Stagecoach (1939) and he is still very much his twinkly boyish self and I love that a lot. From start to finish his character is just fun to watch... besides which his outfit is pretty neat. :)

Honestly, John Wayne as Breck Coleman, embodies this film with an energy that is as thrilling and marvelous as the rest of it is, and it is in that, I think, in which lives its epicness.

Posted as part of The John Wayne Blogathon hosted by Hamlette of Hamlette's Soliloquy and Quiggy of The Midnite Drive-In. Thank you SO MUCH for giving me the impetus to revel in some of my Favorite Sort of Things. :)

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