Sunday, August 25, 2013

1950 - RIO GRANDE, John Ford, John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, soldiers on horseback

John Ford's western film made before The Quiet Man is what would be called a "typical" John Ford western.  Ford as usual indulges himself with scenic compositions of soldiers on horseback, military honor and lots of unspoken domestic drama at an army post in the southwest.

John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara are the estranged husband and wife.  During the Civil War, Wayne's character Kirby York, (a continuation of his character from Fort Apache) burned down his wife's family plantation.  Throw in a subplot about fighting Indians who can escape to Mexico, which was an unsubtle reference to the cold war.  Oh yea forgot about The Sons of the Pioneers, a country group who show up occasionally to warble a song or two.

Ford as usual loaded the cast up with cronies from his previous film.  Victor McLaglen plays his usual boisterous Irish Sergeant.  Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr are also present for Ford to kick around.

Ford was one of the masters of scenic black and white compositions so the film looks very good.  Overall, this is a good if typically overindulgent John Ford western.

105 minutes.

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