Posted by Peter W. Schramm
Allen Barra writes a footnote, even an imperfect footnote, to a very large theme of westerns, by asking the question why this movie is still popular (and hip). I do like this: Quentin Tarantino, whose "Pulp Fiction" was also both popular and hip, told an audience at a 2007 Cannes screening of "Rio Bravo" that he always tested a new girlfriend "by taking her to see ’Rio Bravo’ -- and she’d better like it!"
10:29 PM / March 27, 2009
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Interesting. Rio Bravo as both popular and hip. It also has mainatined this status. Pulp Fiction was both at the time of its release, but is it either these days? And does anyone really like Godard?--though being French I suppose he's still hip in certain circles.
Apart from your conversations with Marini, who do you recommend to read (if anyone) on the "very large theme of westerns"? Probably not Kael, and definitely not Robin Wood whose "Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan" is a polemical rant posing as film criticism.
That movie is hip because it is one long wink at the audience. It has charm, since, with all of its self-conciousness, we can still be engaged with the characters and the story. I had not thought of it in relation to "High Noon" until I read that article, yesterday. I have been thinking about it (among other things) while doing my house-puttering.
Ricky Nelson was terrible, but it doesn't matter. Hawks had a knack for using stiff actors pretty well. Walter Brennan was wonderful.
John, don't bother with books. Just watch the movies. If you must read about them, the best is to find the old interviews with the directors, if you can. A collection of those is out there. Here, like this one or this.
The reason for the loyalty of viewers of this great movie is,,,,Good Guys & Bad Guys. There is sin and redemption. Dean Martin's soul is saved. John Wayne's spirits are revived by the sumptious body of Angie Dickinson. The Bad guys get there desserts. What better story could anybody write.