Rio Bravo [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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The Blu Ray version is disappointing print wise for the opening credits - there's blocking, speckles on the print etc, but thankfully it doesn't stay that way for long. Although there are other weak points in the transfer later on in the movie, for about 90 % of the time I'd say it looks really good - not great - but certainly better than any other version of it that I've ever seen.
There's a night time sequence where one of the bad guys hiding out in a barn near the prison tries to shoot John Wayne - it cuts to Dutch outside worried about his friend inside - the clarity of sweat and dirt on Dean Martin is wonderful to see - and startling. When John Wayne stops Angie Dickenson at her bedroom door suspected of card shark tricks in the saloon she's just left below, her face and clothing look sensational too (what a beautiful woman she was). But then in other places there's a disappointing feeling of the focus being slightly off or the print's vibrancy being washed out.
It might just be that in 1959 the colour process was not quite there yet, but you can't help but feel that if this negative had been given real care and effort - the print would have been a genuine joy to look at - rather than being something that just elicits the word 'good' out of you every now and then.
"Rio Bravo" is a very good transfer to Blu Ray, but like so many oldies that aren't treated to proper restoration, you can't help but feel that an opportunity was missed here - because it's a Western that's stood the test of time.
If you're a fan of the movie, no doubt you've already made up your mind and ordered this disc; if you've never seen RIO BRAVO before and are considering ordering the DVD, please do so--you won't regret it, and you'll see how one of the best examples of how movies used to be made, and perhaps more importantly how more modern movies should be made.
This is ostensibly John Wayne's film, as he's the star, but the film's main character is really Dean Martin's drunken ex-deputy. His efforts to regain his pride and lost standing, both in his own mind and in the eyes of his friend (Wayne) make up the backbone of the story. Dean Martin, who was never taken seriously as an actor, here gives a terrific performance. His sweaty, humiliated 'Dude' is touching without ever being sentimental. Dude's eventual redemption, when he pursues a wounded gun-man into a bar crowded with men who'd previously laughed at him, is thrilling.
The film nicely undermines Wayne's iconic masculinity. In several scenes, the sheriff finds himself gently mocked by Angie Dickinson's attractive gambler (the one person in the film he can't get the better of). It's also the only film I can think of in which John Wayne kisses another man (a slight peck on the top of Walter Brennan's bald head).
Leading them all is Wayne in one of his most relaxed, iconic performances. He is as straight as a arrow and uncorruptable. What really makes this fun though is his growing romance with Angie Dickinson's saloon moll. Wayne and Dickinson do the usual Hollywood dance, but with enough sassy dialogue and feeling to make one wonder why they didn't appear more together on celluloid. Add to this great action scenes and it all adds up to a great movie.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is my favourite western. I went to the premier showing in Great Yarmouth and sat it round again.Published 29 days ago by CHIPPY42
I have large collection of John Wayne films my previous one got badly scratched when the DVD drive on my computer broke, so it had to be replaced, Angie Dickinson at her best, very... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Roger L