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Watched both of these Westerns for the first time within the past couple of days. I understand why Rio Bravo was a hit when it came out, and it’s fun, but why it’s still considered great is beyond me. The characters are little better than cardboard cutouts, and none of the actors does much to allay that, save for Dino (and to a lesser extent Angie Dickinson). Ricky Nelson is pretty but that’s about it, and Brennan seems to be playing a caricature of himself. Wayne is fine, but when you compare his performance with his earlier turn in Hawks’s Red River, or McCrea and Scott in Ride the High Country, his steady blandness gets pretty boring. Ride the High Country is monumental, with not one but TWO stars delivering prime performances in the autumn of their careers, complicated interpersonal relationships, and gorgeous music and cinematography. It takes the win easily in my books.
Rio Bravo could literally be 100 times the better movie.