Wednesday Night at the Movies: El Dorado (1966)

If I have to go on movies that I have seen before while waiting on a new player(see previous post), there's none better than what qualifies as my favorite John Wayne movie and is tied with Blazing Saddles as my favorite movie of all time.

El Dorado was basically a remake of an earlier Howard Hawks film, Rio Bravo. In both the overriding theme is John Wayne helping out a buddy who is the sheriff, along with a stranger who comes to the aid of the good guys. And, in both, the sheriff has developed a drinking problem which hinders his ability to perform his duties.

The main reasons why I preferred El Dorado to Rio Bravo are two. The first is that I consider Robert Mitchum (J. P. Harrah) to be a superb actor, and who knows whether Dean Martin was acting or really was drunk in those scenes. The other is that, without an actor who has a singing career on the side, there was no need to put a ridiculous, pointless sing-a-long in the middle of El Dorado to highlight his (or her) vocal talent.

John Wayne has the role of Cole Thornton, a gunslinger for hire who is entreated by Ed Asner (Bart Jason) to help in a range war. Wayne ends up declining the job, but six months later finds himself back in El Dorado to help his friend, the sheriff, and the family on the other side of the range war, led by its patriarch, Kevin Macdonald (played by R. G. Armstrong).

James Caan, as Mississippi (real name Alan Bourdillion Traherne {"Lord amighty!}), is entertaining, as is Arthur Hunnicut (Bull), both in roles of comic relief. The action is prety much the same as any Wayne western, but the final shootout scene is still one of my favorites, rivalled only by the classic farmhouse rescue scene in Silverado. Hmm, maybe I'll review that one next week.

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