121 of 129 people found the following review helpful
Director Howard Hawks and John Wayne would essentially remake the same story three times: first as RIO BRAVO in 1959, then as EL DORADO in 1967, and finally as RIO LOBO in 1970. Caught between the popularity of the first and the dismal failure of the third, EL DORADO is something of a neglected film--but for my money, it is easily the best of the three.
The story is the stuff that Western myths are made of. Aging gun-slinger John Wayne is offered a job as hired gun in a range war, but he discovers that acceptance of the job would place him on the wrong side of the law--which in this case is old friend and small town sheriff Robert Mitchum, who has made himself a laughing stock by drinking his way to the bottom of every bottle he can find. Wayne accordingly drifts into town, whips Mitchum into shape, and with the assistance of crotchety deputy Arthur Hunnicutt and youngster James Caan they set about cleaning up the town.
Although EL DORADO has a leisurely tone, but it never feels in the least slow--largely due to an unexpectedly witty script that crackles with memorable dialogue (at one point when Mitchum asks Wayne what he's looking at, Wayne responds "A tin star with a drunk pinned to it") and unexpected situations (such as Caan's unfortunate way with a shotgun.) The entire cast handles both humor and old-west action with equal skill, and both Wayne and Mitchum offer some the best work of their impressive careers here; James Caan (in his first major success), Arthur Hunnicutt, Charlene Holt, and Michele Carey are equally memorable.
There are a great many westerns more critically acclaimed than EL DORADO--RED RIVER, THE SEARCHERS, and STAGE COACH to name but a few. And I enjoy them. But EL DORADO is like meeting an old friend whose company you always enjoy. Strongly recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
I want to be clear as Amazon.com is mixing reviews for all of the editions of the movie of EL DORADO on DVD. This review is for the latest (2009) 2 DVD set Centennial Collection. Being an owner of the previous releases and a huge fan of the movie (probably in the minority who favor it to Rio Bravo)as far as the movie goes it looks stunning! The picture is crisp, the contrast brilliant and the color well saturated. If I didn't know better I'd think it was a VistaVision. The Second disc has some very entertaining and educational featurettes which kept me amused for over an hour themselves. James Caan is great in the film, Mitchum is ....Mitchum ..which is superb and Ed Asner brings a gravitas to his character. Oh...John Wayne is terrific and this is just a lot of fun.
UPDATE 3/8/14 The BLU RAY is even better, goodness this film is breath taking in BR and I have to admit I've just watched it back to back. I picked up the "import" version without the extras but have the domestic one on order, I hear scuttle butt the import may have a slightly better picture in that the domestic may be a tad over processed for the super picky, I'll update after an AB test. Every frame of this film is so beautiful it could be printed and hung on a wall, and the fact that so much is shot at night enables the cinematographer (Rosson) to do beautiful work and make it look like each scene is lit with found lighting, not your TV lighting at all! For me I prefer this to Rio Bravo as I believe Mitchum clearly outclasses Dean Martin and James Caan is far superior to Ricky Nelson ...they've kept the major bonus feature from the 2 DVD set so unlike many re releases on BR we get all the goodies.. a great movie in my collection just moved from Gold to Diamond for me!!
81 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2001
I'm 53 years old and have loved John Wayne since first seeing him at the movies as "Hondo" as a boy. I loved Rio Bravo, but have to give the edge to this remake. As good as the original was, El Dorado is more enjoyable and convincing to me. The Duke is as good as he ever was in his usual role as the hired gun with a conscience whose reputation alone strikes fear into the hearts of the bad guys. Few western actresses could match the young Angie Dickinson in Rio Bravo, but the male supporting cast is better in El Dorado. Mitchum is excellent, young James Caan adds charm and humor and Arthur Hunnicutt nearly steals the show in the Walter Brennan role as Mitchum's loyal, but crusty deputy, Bull. For my money, Hunnicutt is one of the great homespun character actors of all time and this is certainly one of his very best performances. Most don't know his name like they do the great Walter Brennan's but he's just as good or better. A then noname Ed Asner and Christopher George (TV's The Rat Patrol) are excellent as the main bad guys. George is actually somewhat likeable as a man willing to sell his gun to the most odious of crooks, but still possessed of a sense of fair play. Jim Davis (Jock Ewing of TV's Dallas) plays one of Asner's henchmen. This is just a great cast telling a great old west story.
A recent biography of director Howard Hawks points out that Hawks badly needed a hit late in his career when El Dorado was put together. His effort is evident. Even the opening credits are great--a series of beautiful western paintings by Olaf Wieghorst, who also appears as the gunsmith, "The Swede." The title song by George Alexander is memorable as well.
BTW, the poem Caan keeps quoting, which serves as the foundation for the title song, was Edgar Alan Poe's last poem--"El Dorado", of course. The movie was filmed just west of Tucson, AZ in what is today Old Tucson--a must tour for anyone interested in westerns. Westerns are still filmed there. Movies filmed there include Rio Bravo, El Dorado, McClintock, and Rio Lobo by Wayne, as well as many others such as Joe Kidd, Tombstone and even The Three Amigos.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I love John Wayne movies, and I love Amazon's dedication to offer the most for your dollar, so this Exclusive, to me, is the best of both worlds! While several 'signature' Wayne films (the Ford 'Cavalry' trilogy, in particular), are absent, and other 'classics' can be purchased individually, or in other boxed sets, this John Wayne DVD collection offers 10 of the Duke's most memorable films of the 60s and 70s...at less than $10, each! Talk about getting your money's worth!
The titles include:
"El Dorado" and "Rio Lobo": Howard Hawks' two variations of his classic, "Rio Bravo", all starring Wayne. "El Dorado", in particular, is a most worthy 'remake', offering Robert Mitchum in a wonderful comic send-up of the Dean Martin role, James Caan more entertaining than Ricky Nelson, and Arthur Hunnicutt, complete with bugle, filling Walter Brennan's shoes. Add Ed Asner as the villain, and Duke, standing tall (even while carrying a bullet inside him), and you have a first-rate actioner. While "Rio Lobo" is a disappointment (both Wayne and Hawks were sadly showing their years), it does offer the gorgeous (if wooden) Jennifer O'Neill, future studio boss Sherry Lansing, and Mitchum's son, Chris (along with an unbilled appearance by Wayne's youngest son, Ethan), in support.
"Hatari!": One of the BEST Hawks/Wayne teamings, this vastly entertaining African comedy/adventure may be the longest 'Buddy' film ever made, at 157 minutes, but Wayne, with all-star support including Hardy Krüger, Elsa Martinelli, and Red Buttons, makes capturing wild animals for zoos and circuses an irresistable experience!
"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance": John Ford's last 'Classic' western, a deconstruction of the mythic West that he and Wayne helped create. Equal parts comedy and tragedy, with a healthy dose of old-fashioned politics, as Jimmy Stewart achieves national acclaim by shooting town bully Lee Marvin...an act actually done by Wayne! "When people prefer the myth to the truth, print the myth" is a credo Ford believed in, and this film is it's purest embodiment. A MUST!
"Donovan's Reef": Ford and Wayne, teamed again with Lee Marvin, in a delightful South Seas romp, as prim Elizabeth Allen learns to 'loosen up' under Wayne's brawny charms (forget the 27-year age difference!) Brawling fun, with Jack Warden, Cesar Romero, and saronged Dorothy Lamour in support.
"The Sons of Katie Elder": Most significant as being Wayne's triumphant return to the screen after losing a lung to cancer, this sprawling Henry Hathaway-directed western reteams Duke with Dean Martin (as BROTHERS?), in an entertaining tale of four brothers' vengeance; with a flavorful Elmer Bernstein score.
"True Grit": Hathaway directs Wayne to an Oscar, as one-eyed Rooster Cogburn. An underappreciated gem (Duke playing an old, fat reprobate upset many fans), but he has a ball in the role, and few of his films captured the 'feel' of the period, better!
"In Harm's Way": Otto Preminger and Wayne made a great team, in the director's HUGE saga of Pearl Harbor, and the early days of the Pacific war. No superhuman heroics, here, just a dedicated Naval officer (Wayne), his relationships (with Patricia Neal, Brandon De Wilde, and a superb Kirk Douglas), and his part in helping turn the tide of the war.
"Big Jake": Violent, but engrossing late western, as Duke's grandson (played by son Ethan) is kidnapped by Richard Boone's gang, and his estranged wife (radiant Maureen O'Hara, in her last teaming), depends on him to recover the boy. Featuring another Wayne son, Patrick, Robert Mitchum's son, Chris, and MANY of the old John Ford 'stock company' in support; at times quite brutal, but still one of Wayne's best 'late' films.
"The Shootist": Wayne's swansong is a loving tribute, despite the many difficulties his declining health caused. A legendary gunfighter must choose between dying from cancer or in a blaze of glory; from the wonderful opening montage of Wayne clips from several of his most popular westerns, to the bittersweet conclusion, a fitting film finale, with several 'old friends' in supporting roles.
Bravo, Amazon! You've done it right!
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2009
This is a review of the 2009 2-disc Centennial Edition. If you're a fan of this movie (as I am), you probably already own the previous release (as I do), so the real question is: should you upgrade? The answer is unconditionally YES! The image quality of the new transfer is miles beyond the earlier version, and with an upconverting DVD player, it really looks fantastic. The bonus disk is enjoyable as well. Kudos to Paramount for doing a first rate job on this one. Although the movie itself may not qualify for classic status, it's great entertainment and, for my money, a better picture than its previous incarnation as "Rio Bravo." The easy camaraderie between John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, and the fun the director has with James Caan's character equals one good time!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2007
Yes, El Dorado has a similar plot as Rio Bravo, and it stars the "Duke" and is directed by the same director.
But, El Dorado has a much tighter and leaner script, and doesn't contain any dreaded "filler" like Rio Bravo, nor does it have the woefully miscast Ricky Nelson. (It's still a superior western though)
El Dorado co-stars the much more effective James Caan, and the incomparable Robert Mitchum in a spectacular performance.
A great story, a wonderful and superb cast, lots of great action and masterful direction make this a "must-see" western. (that "splinters in the hand" scene has to be seen to be believed ! )
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2007
This movie would be easy to confuse with the movie "Rio Bravo" bacause both movies carry a plot thread involving a drunken lawman who must be sobered up in order to keep him alive, but don't be deceived. These are two different movies with entirely different story lines. I have both titles in my collection and am glad to have both.
In this one James Mitchum gives an outstanding performance as the drunken marshal with John Wayne coming to his aid. John Wayne and James Caan sober him up with a witches brew of which, thank the Lord, we don't have to watch, or smell, the effects.
Mitchum is trying to protect a family of ranchers from the schemes of a land grabbing cattle baron played to cynical perfection by Ed Asner. (this was before he bacame beloved as Lou Grant on tv.) Before the movie is over the plot twists and turns like a coyote covered with fire ants, but everything comes out all right in the end. (except for Ed Asner, He's dead.)
In all a good action adventure, with some violence. It is interesting to note that John Wayne is shot early in the film and is still suffering life threatening effects at the end. A relief from so many movies of the period where the hero suffers major wounds and a couple of days later shoots down a herd of villains and whips the bad guy in a fist fight.
It is also worth noting that while this movie takes some humor from devices to sober up the co-star, neither this movie or "Rio Bravo" treat alcoholism as a humorous condition. In both movies, it is treated as a life-threatening and humiliating condition, with lingering and painful side-effects.
Sorry, neither Dean Martin, Angie Dickinson, Rick Nelson, or Walter Brennan appear in this movie. It doesn't need them. If you want to see them, buy "Rio Bravo"
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
It may not have the stature--critically or in the popular mind--of the films the Duke made in his prime, like "Stagecoach," "The Searchers," or the Cavalry Trilogy, but this boisterous Western clearly shows why Wayne got away for so long with "playing himself." He and co-star Mitchum bring to the screen, if not the limber bodies of their youth, a presence and experience (between them they had more than six decades in film by the time they made this one) that we seldom see in today's stars. Very sensibly, they both play men of experience who are now slowing down a bit and beginning to think about the future they may not have anticipated having: Mitchum, as Sheriff JP Harrah, has settled down, and Wayne, as Cole Thornton, is picking his fights with care. Familiar faces abound in the supporting cast, and there's a nice mix of action, humor, and outstanding characters (Christopher George as villain Nelse McCloud is one of the samples of that species you "love to hate"). There's even a hint of romance, not only in the quirky relationship between James Caan as "Mississippi" Trehearne and Michele Carey as Joey MacDonald, but in the long history between Cole and saloonowner Maudie (Charlene Holt). I couldn't begin to guess how many times I've rewatched this movie, and I still enjoy it just as much.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2000
I first watched this movie when i was 8 and then watched it 50 or 60 times... Now i'm 29 and for 21 years i didn't watch a better one.I think it's the best western and also the best John Wayne and the best Robert Mitchum film that ever made.The music is incredible and also the atmosphere and the action... This is a must have western..It's worth to buy ... Simply The Best...
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
In 1966, popular director Harold Hawks (1932's "Scarface", 1938's "Bringing Up Baby" and 1940's "His Girl Friday") known for directing popular romantic comedies back in the 1930's and 1940's returned with his second western titled "El Dorado".
Although Hawks was not a specialist in the Western genre, his film "Rio Hondo" was critically acclaimed and so, when he created his second Western "EL DORADO" (as part of his Western trilogy) eventually, his second film would be known for the unique pairing of western greats John Wayne and Robert Mitchum. Two stars that would guarantee "EL DORADO" to become a box office hit.
The film also would feature actor James Caan, Ed Asner, Arthur Hunnicutt and actresses Charlene Holt and Michele Carey.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
If there is one thing to say about the Paramount "CENTENNIAL COLLECTION" releases, many of these classic films have all been digitally remastered and look absolutely magnificent. These films containing the "CENTENNIAL COLLECTION" moniker are the definitive versions to own as they tend to have more features added and overall, like how CRITERION COLLECTIONS have spotlighted on films worldwide and have given top treatment, Paramount has done the same with several of their classic films. With that being said, I can only wish that a Blu-ray high definition transfer is in the works for these classic films because if they have been through a process of remastering, one can only expect how phenomenal these will look via HD.
For now, "EL DORADO - CENTENNIAL COLLECTION" is only available via DVD but this new version is remastered, in widescreen and features Dolby Digital audio.
The picture quality for a DVD is actually quite clean for a film nearly 40-years-old. The film utilizes a good number of outdoor shots and video looks quite clean for an older film.
For audio, I tested the audio on my receiver set at "Dolby Digital Mono". What can I say....the gunshots really come alive in the sound department. Granted, the film is primarily dialogue-based but I realized how pronounced those gun and rifle shots sound on my home theater system.
Overall, "EL DORADO" has been given special treatment and fans of the film will not be disappointed.
"EL DORADO - CENTENNIAL COLLECTION" comes with two discs. Here is what to expect on both discs:
DISC 1: The first disc includes the original film but also contains two commentary tracks.
* Commentary by Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich - Peter Bogdanovich ("The Last Picture Show") was good friends with Director Howard Hawks and for this commentary, Bogdanovich who is very familiar with westerns, talks about the people on the set and any tidbits of the film which Howard Hawks have told him.
* Commentary by Critic and Film Historian Richard Schikel, actor Ed Asner and Author Todd McCarthy. - The men talk about Harold Hawks, the talent and their overall thoughts about the film.
DISC 2: This second disc contains the special features
* Ride, Boldly Ride: The Journey to El Dorado 7-Part Featurette - (total run time: 41:50) This special feature is quite lengthy and focuses on Howard Hawks, the talents of "El Dorado" and much more. The documentary is broken up into seven parts:
- CHAPTER 1: THE PARADIGM OF AN ENTERTAINER - (5:32) A featurette discussing how unique Howard Hawks was. How he has had a constant run of smash hits durin ghte 30's and 40's and has an adversarial role with the movie studios.
- CHAPTER 2: STEALING FROM HIMSELF - (5:18) This chapter talks about how "EL DORADO" was somewhat a remake of "RIO HONDO". How "EL DORADO" Borrowed heavily, the Western elements of "RIO HONDO".
- CHAPTER 3: A TACITURN MAN - (4:15) People who knew Howard Hawks, his friends talked about how he was taciturn and self-contained.
- CHAPTER 4: PROFESSIONAL COURTESY - (11:39) This film features interviews about Howard Hawks, John Wayne and Robert Mitchum and those who worked with the men.
- CHAPTER 5: SPOTLIGHT - JAMES CAAN - (5:02) James Caan worked previously on a Howard Hawks film titled "Red Line 7000' and was later casted for a Western with John Wayne. Interview with James Caan and
- CHAPTER 6: THE DUKE, THE GREY FOX AND PAPPY - (6:58) Howard Hawks and John Wayne working together. Also, Howard Hawks having to say goodbye to John Ford.
- CHAPTER 7: AN OLD-AGE MASTERPIECE - (3:37) How "El Dorado" was filmed in 1965 and came out in 1967 and the challenges of media behind-the-scenes.
* The Artist and the American West (1967) - Vintage Featurette - (5:28) a classic (and very aged) featurette about the American West and also some commentary on the film "EL DORADO".
* Behind the Gates: A.C. Lyles Remembers John Wayne - (5:32) A.C. Lyles (a movie producer for Paramount, especially the Westerns that were in theaters during the 1950's and 1960's) talks about his friend John Wayne and offers us behind-the-scenes of a variety of films that the Duke has worked on. From the winning of his award to his earlier and later career.
* Theatrical Trailer - (3:05) The original 1996 theatrical trailer.
* Galleries: These photo galleries contain Lobby Cards and Production
Included with the set is an 8-page guide about the talent in the film.
"EL DORADO" is rather a fun, action film that knows when to balance its seriousness with its humor. On one side of the spectrum, you get movie greats John Wayne and Robert Mitchum together. But on the other side, it's about character development which "EL DORADO" is very much strong in showcasing.
The film features two legendary actors in their own right but then you start adding more talent such as James Caan as Mississippi, a character that brings the comedic element to the film. And then you have two beautiful women, Charlene Holt (Maudie) and Michele Carey (Joey MacDonald) who are women that are not weak, in fact they are independent thinkers who do things on their own. Considering that women were not exactly featured in equal footing, to see these women as strong and independent, this was quite rare in a film created at that time, especially for a Western.
Overall, "EL DORADO" was an entertaining, humorous but really enjoyable Western. I absolutely enjoyed the scene as Cole and Mississippi make a concoction to help the sheriff sober up and then you have scenes where Mississippi goes to check on a shooter that is hiding near the sheriff's station (which turns out to be Joey) and he tries to apprehend her. And of course, the natural banter between Wayne and Mitchum that seem natural and real.
This is the first Western release for the "CENTENNIAL COLLECTION" and is #9 in the series. The DVD actually provides some interesting tidbits as Director Peter Bogdanovich who was good friends with Hawk, was at the set during the filming and is able to give his personal insight about Hawks and the various talent for the film. So, Western fans will definitely find some enjoyment with what is included on the two discs. There is a good number of special features that will definitely keep the viewer busy for a few hours.
Overall, "EL DORADO" is an enjoyable Western. Definitely not as superb as "RIO HONDO" but because the film manages to effectively use the talents of John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan and Charlene Holt effectively, made this film quite appealing. If you are a John Wayne or Robert Mitchum fan or even a fan of this classic 1966 film, definitely check out "EL DORADO - CENTENNIAL COLLECTION". This is the definitive version to own on DVD!