I was at my local Target and noticed that the copies of Rio Bravo were reduced in price. The two disc special edition was only $7.99. I had just seen it over at Joe's and I promised myself then if I saw it fairly cheap I'd pick one up. It was really pretty entertaining. I was interested in the commentary track that had John Carpenter on it. He shares the track with film historian/critic Richard Schickel. It turns out not to be that great a commentary. The two guys were recorded seperately and neither of them fills their half of the time. There are some gaps where they watch the movie. They have some interesting things to say when they do talk so it wasn't a complete waste of time. That's the DVD cover, two American posters and one from Yugoslavia.
That's Howard Hawks, the director, and Angie Dickenson. There's a nice 50 minute documentary on Hawks on the second disc, along with a 25 minute featurette on Old Tucson, the outdoor film studio where the movie was shot. Lots of other movies were shot there. There's also some trailers for other John Wayne movies and some nice large postcards of photos taken behind the scenes of the movie. Angie plays the love interest to John Wayne and you can see she's got the clothes for it. I was never an Angie fan but she's ok in the movie. The more interesting story dynamic is the main three guys who hold out against the baddies. I was telling one of the guys at work about Rio Bravo and encouraging him to add it to his Netflix queue. He wasn't to interested in seeing a western. I told him it's not that kind of movie. There are some good westerns out there and he shouldn't be turned off by the genre. John Carpenter used part of the story for Assault on Precinct 13. The movie takes place on one street in a half a dozen buildings. There isn't even much horse riding. It's a pretty modern western.
That's Dean Martin as Dude. He's got a drinking problem when we meet him. He gets better and even shoots a guy or two. That's Walter Brennan in the middle of the second picture. Some older people might remember him from The Real McCoys, which ran from 1957 to 1963, and then in reruns for years after. He started his career in 1925 and when he died in 1974 he still had a movie in the can. He plays the crusty old coot everybody loves. He ties the two guys together. As Schickel and Carpenter said it's a movie with more than one love story. There's the love of these men for each other. John Wayne might be a tough guy and one who will stand up to the villian but he's got a tender side. He's a good man with a good moral code who doesn't have to prove anything to anyone.
A few weeks back I picked this DVD set up at Walmart for 5 bucks. That's US Dollars 5. For 25 movies on 4 discs. Hummm. Not many discs and they are single sided discs too. That's can't be good. They've got to be some of the most packed discs I've ever bought. About 7 hours each. I checked the times of the movies as I went along and these times are pretty close. Discs 1-4 have 426, 424, 458 and 418 minutes for a total of 1726 minutes. That's 28 and 3/4 hours of video. Most of it is watchable. Sometimes when there's a scene with a lot of action, or a fast pan, the picture breaks up into blocks. You can still see what's going on, it's just super pixilated. Most of the talking scenes are ok. Most of the movies are B&W. Films from the early years of John Wayne's career. The oldest are a couple of serials done up in movie form from 1932. Then there are a series of short 50 minute long westerns that run through 1937. Angel and the Badman from 1941 is one of the few feature length films at 100 minutes. It's much better than most of the movies on the discs. Most of this stuff I'm sure I had never seen before. Only McClintock and The American West of John Ford are in color. The serials aren't that great but watchable enough. The Shadow of the Eagle is set in a circus and John is a flyer in a stunt show. There's some guy who stole some secret device from his boss who also used to be an ex-flyer and plane builder. Now he runs a broken down circus that isn't making any money. Oh, if only they had some of the money that he was cheated out of. 208 minutes later there's a happy ending. It has a science fiction element. The device is a remote control for airplanes that lets you completely control a plane with a knob. You can do anything an on board pilot could do with out any visual contact. That's got to be worth something, huh. Certainly enough to save the circus. Most of the short westerns are simple stories. John comes to a town and fights the bad guy. There's a lot of gunfights and horse riding. Most of them are pretty formula but if you don't see that many they aren't so awful you can't watch them. It's almost as interesting to see them as a curiosity of the time. Certainly a great bargin for a 5 spot the set is also on Amazon for $13. Still not a bad price 52 cents a movie.