Wednesday, 9 September 2015
El Dorado (1966)
You may remember that I reviewed Rio Bravo about a month ago. At the time I said I would hunt down a copy of this film, and here it is.
El Dorado reunites star John Wayne and director Howard Hawks to take a second stab at the earlier film's core premise: a sheriff and his small band of helpers against the power of the region's wealthiest man. It changes up many of the details of course - some for the worse, in my opinion - but there's a huge amount of overlap. We've got the hero who's crawling out of the bottle after a woman done him wrong. We've got the handsome young stranger (played here by a freakishly baby-faced James Caan). We've got the irreverent, wise-cracking old deputy. We've got the love interest who's twenty years younger than The Duke.
This is a solid film: it has a strong cast and some strong action scenes. That's why I have given it a qualified recommendation, even though on the whole I don't think it's as good as Rio Bravo. The one area in which it does improve on things is an important one - the final confrontation between good guys and bad - but it's a less focused, more patchy film before that. Its attempts at humour generally don't work, and several of the story development scenes feel like they're rather didactic and heavy-handed in their presentation. Plot points on the whole feel pretty telegraphed and obvious.
I will admit I've never seen a spinal injury be Chekov's gun before though.
Overall I guess if you get a chance to see this, I'd say it is worth your time, but if you were given the option of this or Rio Bravo, go with the latter.