Cool Water / Walter Brennan
Dean Martin Westerns / Rio Bravo /1959
4 years after his split with Jerry Lewis, Dean made his second Western:
Rio Bravo – Western Classic.
I’ve covered Rio Bravo somewhat, so I’m just gonna show a couple of images and move on. Good images though.
In 1958 Dean Martin was 41 years old.
James Cagney, John Cassavetes, Edmond O’Brien, Rod Steiger, Richard Widmark, John Ireland, Tony Curtis, Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, William Holden, Van Johnson, Burt Lancaster, Ray Milland, Spencer Tracy and Robert Mitchum were considered for Dude. Howard Hawks also supposedly negotiated for Frank Sinatra for the role.
(MFW: Good grief !!! I woulda hired most any of these guys on the spot.
But Dean was great.)
Montgomery Clift, who was bisexual and a liberal Democrat, turned down the role of Dude, because he didn’t want to work again with John Wayne and Walter Brennan who were both strongly conservative Republicans. They had previously worked together in Red River (1948). Clift suggested his The Young Lions (1958) co-star Dean Martin for the role of Dude, and so Martin’s agent immediately approached Howard Hawks with the idea.
Hawks agreed to meet with Martin at 9:30 the next morning. When Hawks learned that Martin had done a show in Las Vegas until midnight, and hired a plane to fly him to the meeting, Hawks was so impressed that he simply sent Martin to get a costume and told him he had the part.
Cast as an alcoholic battling inner demons, Dean turned to his friend Marlon Brando for advice about playing the role.
Mostly due to Dean’s Italian background, the film was a huge success in Italy, laying the groundwork for the following decade’s Spaghetti Western boom.
Dean later admitted that he found the part of Dude very difficult to play.
(MFW: It doesn’t show. Nice job Dean.)
The movie was filmed at the famous Old Tucson Studios. Many Westerns Films and TV Westerns have been shot here – including the great Western Classic Gunfight at OK Corral (1957). Filming outdoors was often a chore due to the 120-degree heat and an invasion of grasshoppers that fried on the hot lights and littered the sets.
In 2014, Rio Bravo was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.