At times in director Howard Hawk's last film, Rio Lobo, it almost seems as if he is tempting the Hollywood idols. Except for the dozens of brilliantly comic one-liners of Brackett's script, the story is a shaggy dog tale without any "fur" to it. And it's hard to imagine a cast of less convincing actors than the Mexican heartthrob Jorge Rivero (whom Wayne addresses as "Frenchy" throughout), Brazilian actress Jennifer O'Neill (Rio Lobo was clearly the best movie of her career), and future studio director, Sherry Lansing! Publisher George Plimpton plays the 4th Gunman. Even Jack Elam (standing in for Walter Brennan and Arthur Hunnicutt) and John Wayne, at his most laconic (in one of his first lines of the film Wayne reports to his soldier friend, "Ned, your neck's broken."), have seen better days. At one point, as the Rebels try to carry Wayne to his horse, they report what is obvious to all: "He's heavier than a baby whale!"
[Shasta wakes up in Cordona's bed after fainting]
Shasta: What am I doing here?
Cord McNally: Well, you fainted after you shot Whitey, so we put you
Shasta: Wait a minute! Where are my clothes? Which one of you took my
Cordona: I did.
Cordona: Well, we flipped a coin and I won?
Shasta: Where are your pants?
Cordona: You're sleeping on them.
Brackett, in my estimation, should have won an award just for those lines!
Los Angeles, April 18, 2009