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Rio Bravo (BFI Film Classics) Paperback – January 22, 2008
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Yet there are flaws. There is a passage that compares Howard Hawks to Jean Paul Sartre that just didn't work for me. Likewise, Wood's discovery of a gay context between Dude and Colorado failed to convince. However, my biggest gripe is that Wood goes on and on about how Feathers is the most vulnerable and touching of Hawks' heroines, and he never mentions the fact that "Rio Bravo" was co-written by Leigh Brackett, who was a woman! Indeed, Wood seems supremely uninterested in the circumstances of how the film was made, which bothered me. It was as if everything just sprang from Hawks' forehead.
However, this didn't take away from the fun of the book, which reflects the fun of the movie.
When the author can manage to stay on topic, the essay is pretty good. He puts it in the context of other Hawks movies, some of which I've seen and some not, and analyzes the film scene by scene showing how the character relationships and plot points develop the theme of self-respect in the film, which is obviously a major part of John Wayne's star persona. I can't wait to watch the movie again and look for elements that he points out.
Cut the garbage and get over yourself, Robin Wood.