Saturday, May 20, 2017, 1:30 p.m.
Dir. Howard Hawks. 1966. 126 mins. DCP. With John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Edward Asner. For his penultimate film, Howard Hawks recruited longtime collaborator John Wayne to star as a wizened gunslinger who teams up with an alcoholic sheriff, self-effacing played by Robert Mitchum, to defend a town against a greedy rancher and his hired guns. Not only does Hawks gives a young James Caan his first major Hollywood role, he is also given a star entrance—in a saloon, wearing a black hat, hurling a knife to the chest of a smirking bad guy. While Hawks, legendary DP Harold Rosson (Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz) and writer Leigh Brackett (Rio Bravo, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), devise swirling, emotionally intricate set pieces, Caan manages to steal a measure of limelight from titans Wayne and Mitchum, adding a modern, low-key energy to the mix, and flashing his pearly grin as a deadly weapon.
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