El Dorado Cover

El Dorado has its considerable charms, not least for the partnership of the Duke and Robert Mitchum, plus the addition of a very young James Caan, as a roving gambler named Mississippi with irregular taste in headgear – who is also absolutely hopeless with firearms. (Ed Asner is also featured, as is Christopher George, as an ice-cold villain.) All of these characters are in service to a plot which generally was done over and over – and by Howard Hawks at least three times ( Rio Bravo and as Rio Lobo being the other two iterations.) It’s all very familiar, and as my daughter remarked, very much as if “Blazing Saddles” had thrown up all over “Silverado”. Two old pals, plus a young whippersnapper and a crusty sidekick, find themselves on one side of a range war, out of a sense of honor and obligation to old friends. This all takes place in the classic never-never land of the Old West, sometime during the indeterminate post-Civil War era, in a town with dusty streets, and wooden sidewalks shaded by the porches of plank-built businesses in Victorian style, where the sound of a rinky-dink upright piano spills out between the batwing swinging doors of a saloon. The women are feisty and fearless; in the case of one character, she goes the extra mile and wears trousers and shoots as well as any of her brothers. The dialog is snappy and character-driven; in one exchange, Robert Mitchum’s character asks “What in hell are you doin’ here?” and the Duke growls, “I’m lookin’ at a tin star with a drunk pinned on it.” El Dorado is basically your generic John Wayne Western – but it boasts a top-notch cast, all of whom seemed to be having a thoroughly marvelous time – and there are many much, much, much worse DVD movies out there to watch on a rainy Saturday evening.

There are the usual extravagant extras included in this release, of which only a vintage feature called the Artist and the American West is memorable. El Dorado is available on Wednesday, May 27th through Amazon.com and other commercial outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and contributes to the on-line literary magazine, The Deepening. Her current book project, “The Adelsverein Trilogy” is also available at Amazon.com and selected local outlets. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com.

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