Jack Elam and Jennifer O’Neill co-star in Howard Hawks’ 1970 western.
Free for you to view on YouTube: Rio Lobo, the final collaboration of superstar John Wayne and veteran filmmaker Howard Hawks.
The 1970 western — Hawks’ swan song as a director — showcases Wayne as Cord McNally, a Civil War veteran who joins forces with two former Confederate enemies (Jorge Rivero, Christopher Mitchum) to battle land-grabbing varmints in the Texas town of Rio Lobo. Co-stars include Jack Elam, Jennifer O’Neill — and Sherry Lansing, who would later become the first woman ever to head a major Hollywood studio (20th Century Fox).
If the plot of Rio Lobo seems a tad familiar, well, that’s because it is. As critic Roger Ebert noted: “We go to a classic John Wayne western not to see anything new, but to see the old done again, done well, so that we can sink into the genre and feel confident we won't be betrayed. To some degree Wayne movies are rituals, and so it is fitting that they resemble each other. El Dorado was a remake of Hawks’ Rio Bravo (1958), and Rio Lobo draws from both of them. (It is said that when Hawks called Wayne and offered to send over the script, Wayne replied, ‘Why bother? I've already made the movie twice.’)”