Saturday, May 09, 2009

Rio Bravo; Desideratum

An outstanding movie review of Rio Bravo, by Leo Grin in Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood. It's a movie I've never watched, b/c I assumed it would be somewhat boring. Now, I've got to watch it. Grin:
Howard Hawks’ masterpiece stemmed from his disgust with the joyless anti-heroics of uptight, melodramatic westerns like Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon (1952) and Delmer Daves’ 3:10 to Yuma (1957) — dark “message movies” that seemed to revel in smugly depicting small-town Americans as cynics and cowards.
“I made Rio Bravo,” he later told an interviewer, “because I didn’t like High Noon. Neither did Duke. I didn’t think a good town marshal was going to run around town like a chicken with his head cut off asking everyone to help. And who saves him? His Quaker wife. That isn’t my idea of a good western.”

In his now-famous 1971 Playboy interview, John Wayne recalled his own loathing for the film:
Everyone says High Noon was a great picture because [Dmitri] Tiomkin wrote some great music for it and because Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly were in it. In the picture, four guys come in to gun down the sheriff. He goes to church and asks for help and the guys go, “Oh well, oh gee.” And the women stand up and say, “You rats, you rats.” So Cooper goes out alone. It’s the most un-American thing I ever saw in my whole life. The last thing in the picture is ole Coop putting the United States marshal’s badge under his foot and stepping on it.
Grin uses this noun: desideratum, i.e. "something desired as essential".
"What they missed — the desideratum of Hawks’ personality and artistry — can be sensed within every frame of Rio Bravo."
Nice. I like language. I did not know this word.

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