For Reel

El Dorado (1967)
August 13, 2017, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Howard Hawks
3.5 Stars
El DoradoThe second in a loose trilogy of late Howard Hawks films pitting a crusty sheriff against outlaws, El Dorado is a bizarrely languid western—according to TCM, when Robert Mitchum asked Hawks what the story would be, Hawks replied that the story is simply that he and John Wayne are cowboys. Indeed, that’s largely what the film amounts to, however the cast of characters is engaging enough that their interactions are consistently appealing. As is typical of Hawks, the film is about the professionalism and efficiency of its men, with James Caan’s shortcomings as a marksman being overcome with a sawed-off shotgun so as to not interfere with his heroism. Wayne’s dealings with Mitchum’s drunken behavior similarly rests on a sense of duty—the hangover concoction given to Mitchum is not so much a tool to ease his vice, but rather one to allow him to perform. The comedy is often too broad, including a shamefully outdated scene of Caan doing an impression of a Chinese man, but nonetheless the film reveals Hawks’ continued mastery of the “male bonding” genre.

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