This is my favourite film. I wrote about the movie in the 'My favourite film' season in the Guardian. My conclusion was: 'Over the course of Rio Bravo we are treated to an entertainment masterclass, a high watermark of Hollywood cinema in its heyday. I may not go as far as Quentin Tarantino, who declared that he would show the film to any new girlfriend and end the relationship if she did not declare her undying love for Hawks's classic, but it is the movie I return to again and again, to revisit old friends and remind myself what form optimism takes in a work of art.' If you get the chance get along to see this highlight of the Prince Charles Western Wednesdays season.
Chicago Reader review:
Howard Hawks's finest western (1959), and perhaps his finest film—but who wants to quibble on this level? John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Walter Brennan hole up in a sheriff's office, there to protect a prisoner from a band of hired guns outside. But the subtly stylized setting soon becomes an arena for a moral battle, as the characters discover and test their resources of trust, skill, and courage, values poised against encroaching chaos. It's American filmmaking at its finest—clean, clear, and direct—and it's also the most optimistic masterpiece on film, valiantly shoring fragments against human ruin. Superb in every respect, from Wayne's performance to Russell Harlan's brilliant night photography. With Angie Dickinson.
Here (and above) is the trailer.
No2: Salt of the Earth (Biberman, 1954): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm
This unique film was written by Michael Wilson, directed by Herbert J. Biberman, and produced by Paul Jarrico, all of whom had been blacklisted by the Hollywood establishment due to their alleged Communist sympathies. Produced in collaboration with the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, it tracks the progress of a long, hard strike (based on the 1951 strike against the Empire Zinc Company in Grant County, New Mexico) in a strikingly Neo-Realist style.
Employing actual miners and their families as actors in the film, Biberman and his crew faced unprecedented pressures on all fronts in production of this deeply humane and socially radical work, pioneering in its understanding of the role played by women both in the struggle, and for their own greater emancipation. Acutely relevant more than half a century later, it is a rousing call for ongoing non-violent resistance and solidarity in the face of capital and corporate power.
The screening is followed by a discussion with Sophie Mayer, writer, activist and critical biographer of Sally Potter, hosted by Gareth Evans, Film Curator Whitechapel Gallery.
Here (and above) is the opening.