El Dorado

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Overview

Having struck pay dirt with his 1958 western Rio Bravo, Howard Hawks more or less remade the picture twice in the 1960s. The first of these rehashes was El Dorado, with Rio Bravo star John Wayne back for more. Wayne plays a gunfighter who rides into El Dorado to link up with his old pal, sheriff Robert Mitchum "It's the big one with the big two!" declared the film's advertisements. Wayne has turned down a job with evil land baron Ed Asner, who'd hoped to drive a family off the land that he needed for its water. ...
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Overview

Having struck pay dirt with his 1958 western Rio Bravo, Howard Hawks more or less remade the picture twice in the 1960s. The first of these rehashes was El Dorado, with Rio Bravo star John Wayne back for more. Wayne plays a gunfighter who rides into El Dorado to link up with his old pal, sheriff Robert Mitchum "It's the big one with the big two!" declared the film's advertisements. Wayne has turned down a job with evil land baron Ed Asner, who'd hoped to drive a family off the land that he needed for its water. That family, headed by R.G. Armstrong, is convinced that Wayne is working with Asner; when Armstrong's son Johnny Crawford dies, Wayne is held responsible, earning him a bullet in the spine from Crawford's sister Michele Carey. A year passes: Wayne returns to El Dorado, in the company of his new saddle pal James Caan. They find that Asner is still up to his old tricks, and that Mitchum has descended into alcoholism. Several plot twists and power shifts ensue, leading to the slam-bang climax, with the partially paralyzed Wayne, the newly crippled Mitchum on crutches, and the concussion-suffering Caan battling together to stave off Asner's minions. The final long-shot, of Wayne and Mitchum limping off together arm-in-arm, is one of the most enduring images in the entire Hawks canon. If they loved it twice they'll love it thrice: in 1969, John Wayne and Howard Hawks teamed up for a third Rio Bravo derivation, Rio Lobo--which, like the first two films, was scripted by Leigh Brackett. Incidentally, that's famed artist Olaf Weighorst whose paintings appear in the title sequence in a cameo as the gunsmith.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Essentially the same plot that Hawks had previously used in Rio Bravo (1959) and would return to in Rio Lobo (1970), El Dorado deals with his characteristic themes of friendship and professionalism. John Wayne plays aging, wounded gunfighter Cole Thornton, who joins forces with his old friend J.P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum), a sheriff turned alcoholic, and young knife-thrower Mississippi (James Caan), to fight off cattle baron Bart Jason (Ed Asner). Much more a film about relationships than it is an action piece, like Rio Bravo it focuses on Wayne's efforts to help his buddy overcome his drinking problem and restore his self-respect. Hawks also implies the depredations of age, intimating that, although this might not be their last stand, these two are approaching the end of their journey, and now need help from younger people. Yet, as always with Hawks, these themes are stated with humor, using the oblique "three-cushion" dialogue he claimed to have learned from Hemingway. The film's best scenes take place in the jail where the two friends, along with Caan and the deputy (Arthur Hunnicut), exchange insults -- the only way that they, and Hawks, know how to express love. Since, for the veterans, these parts virtually play themselves, it's Caan who gives the best performance as an intense young stud trying to get a handle on these old guys. Made when the director was nearly 70, El Dorado may not stand with the best of his work, but it remains a solid, entertaining Western.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/19/1997
  • UPC: 097360662535
  • Original Release: 1967
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Wayne Cole Thornton
Robert Mitchum Sheriff J.B. Harrah
James Caan Alan Bourdillon Trehearne (Mississippi)
Charlene Holt Maudie
Michele Carey Joey MacDonald
Paul Fix Doc Miller
Ed Asner Bart Jason
Arthur Hunnicutt Bull Harris
R.G. Armstrong Kevin MacDonald
Christopher George Nelse McLeod
Marina Ghane Maria
John Gabriel Pedro
Robert Rothwell Saul MacDonald
Robert Donner Milt
Adam Roarke Matt MacDonald
Victoria George Jared's Wife
Anne Newman Saul MacDonald's Wife
Johnny Crawford Luke MacDonald
Olaf Wieghorst Gunsmith
Anthony Rogers Dr. Donovan
Charlita
Don Collier Deputy Joe Braddock
Chuck Courtney Jared MacDonald
Linda Dangcil
Jim Davis Jim Purvis
Nacho Galindo Mexican Saloonkeeper
Betty Jane Graham
William Henry Sheriff Tod Draper (uncredited)
Buzz Henry
Riley Hill
Rodolfo Hoyos Jr.
Frank Leyva
John Mitchum Jason's Bartender
Ruben Moreno
Lee Powell
Lee Powell
Chuck Roberson Jason's Gunman
Danny Sands
Dean Smith Charlie Hagan
Rosa Turich Rosa
Ralph Volkie
Christopher West
Technical Credits
Howard Hawks Director, Producer
Carl Anderson Art Director
Robert R. Benton Set Decoration/Design
Leigh Brackett Screenwriter
John R. Carter Sound/Sound Designer
Farciot Edouart Cinematographer
Charles Grenzbach Sound/Sound Designer
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Paul Helmick Producer
Paul K. Lerpae Special Effects
Ray Moyer Set Decoration/Design
Hal Pereira Art Director
Nelson Riddle Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Harold Hal Rosson Cinematographer
Wally Westmore Makeup
John M. Woodcock Editor
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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