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Tag: Nelson Riddle

QuickView: El Dorado (1966)

El Dorado

“I’m looking at a tin star with a drunk pinned on it.”


Howard Hawks’ penultimate film was a western marketed on starring both John Wayne and Robert Mitchum. Wayne’s honourable hired gunslinger is the real lead, burdened by a bullet received early in the film that provides tension through the ever-present threat of incapacitation despite his skill. Mitchum’s sheriff demands greater range as a proud man lost to drink and desperate to re-earn the respect of the town he serves. The smart script’s dry wit works better than attempts at broader comedy, particularly one character performing a grotesque (but thankfully brief) Chinese caricature. Although El Dorado is prime material for Hawks, it suffers a little from the comparison demanded by its striking similarities to Hawks’ earlier masterpiece in Rio Bravo, with its lawman turned to drink and a gunslinger defending the town jail against a gang trying to release a prisoner. Despite being a variation on the same theme, the fact that El Dorado nevertheless stands on its own is a testament to Hawks and his deft use of the altered friendship between aging lead characters, with an underlying sense of regret lending gravitas.


QuickView: Lolita (1962)

“I haven’t missed you. In fact, I’ve been revoltingly unfaithful to you.”

Lolita Haze

The tagline was “How did they ever make a movie of Lolita?” and the answer is that they didn’t. With slightly altered ages we still follow middle-aged college professor Humbert as he becomes infatuated with a 14-year-old “nymphet”, played wonderfully by Sue Lyon. Yet, despite Nabokov receiving a screenwriting credit, we lose the lyrical language that elevated his novel, along with any real access to Humbert’s mind. The movie may still have been scandalous but it has lost any edge over time. To Kubrick’s credit, he does still allow the viewer to find a paedophile sympathetic (and later simply pathetic) while spending almost two and a half hours in his company.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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