Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 89: Thu Mar 30

Rio Bravo (Hawks, 1959): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.20pm

This Howard Hawks masterpiece is my favourite film. Indeed, 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.'

The movie forms part of the Big Screen Classics strand (highlighting films in the Greatest of All-Time Poll) and also screens on April 9th and 21st. Full details here.

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.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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