John Wayne (1907 - 1979), US actor wearing a tan leather waistcoat, a pink shirt and a white neckerchief, in a studio portrait, against a light blue background, circa 1970. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Rio Bravo's Success Pushed John Wayne And Howard Hawks To Copy Themselves
No filmmaker loved ripping off their own work more than Howard Hawks, and his most egregious act of self-theft has its roots in “Rio Bravo,” widely considered one of the finest Westerns ever made. Scriptwriter Leigh Brackett shared that Hawks' predilection for repetition wasn't just a big-picture practice, as he loved to recycle effective action beats as well.
Brackett shared, “I have been at swords' points with [Hawks] many a time because I don't like doing a thing over again, and he does. I remember one day he and John Wayne and I were sitting in the office, and he said we'll do such and such a thing. I said: 'But Howard, you did it in 'Rio Bravo.' You don't want to do this over again.' He said: 'Why not?'”
According to Brackett, Wayne agreed with Hawks, but this repetition worked much better for the two of them in the solid “El Dorado” than it did in the wholly unnecessary “Rio Lobo.” While Hawks made more than a few bad movies post "Rio Bravo," they're still agreeable, as Hawks was still a great director, and it’s always enjoyable to watch greatness at work.