Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 225 - El Dorado

El Dorado (1967) directed by Howard Hawks

El Dorado undoubtedly draws comparison to Rio Bravo for obvious reasons. Both are westerns that star John Wayne and are directed by Howard Hawks. They are also somewhat similar in plot as well with the sheriff and company trying to protect a small town against the bad guys. Both are pretty darn good movies.

 I'm so tired right now, I have zero interest in rehashing the plot so I'll just mention a few observations. This is one of the few posts where I am outright admitting to half assing it. I think I'm allowed to have one of these every now and then just like how I know 90% of so-called vegetarians have a secret stash of bacon somewhere for their moments of weakness.

- There is a scene that is completely lifted and westernized from the ending of another Hawks film The Big Sleep. In that film Bogart's character confronts the bad guy in the house with a group of the bad guy's men waiting outside. Bogart knows that as soon as he steps out the door they will shoot him so he cooly points the gun at the bad guy and tells him to go outside basically sentencing him to death. Naturally the bad guy doesn't want to go outside so Bogart gives him a little encouragement in the form of gunshots at his feet forcing him to finally step out that door. There's basically the same exact scene in El Dorado except with cowboy hats. This scene got me to thinking just how awful these characters are. John Wayne sadistically shoots at the guy's leg and shoulder kind of like how those sick kids that pull off the legs of a spider one by one. Finally the guy has no choice but to go outside to get shot by his own men. There are other scenes where they could have easily taken in a guy alive but instead shoot them almost in cold blood. It's a take no prisoner's kind of attitude I guess.

- James Caan does one of the most racist impressions I've ever seen on film, perhaps less offensive than Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's, but no less shocking. Basically out of nowhere Caan's character has the bright idea of disguising himself as a Chinese guy to sneak up on a guard. The whole scene, obviously meant to be humorous, is so unnecessary not to mention kind of a stupid idea to begin with. I'm sure they could have found half a dozen other ideas to take out that guard. If you asked me about this film five years from now, this scene would probably be the only thing I'd remember.

- The more I see of John Wayne the more I'm convinced he wasn't a very good actor. He just looks so uptight on screen and has very limited range. Just keeping it real! He's still an icon though.

- I've eaten half a jumbo sized bag of gummy Coke bottles. They are quite delicious though can be quite sickening once you've had too many which I have. That is a sign to wrap this up.

Grade: B

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