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The John Wayne Western John Carpenter Loves So Much, He Remade It Twice

SUMMARY

 John Carpenter loves Westerns and cites director Howard Hawks as a major influence.
 Many of Carpenter’s movies are Westerns in disguise because the genre was dying when he entered the movie business during the ’70s.
 Carpenter remade John Wayne’s Rio Bravo in two different movies, Assault on Precinct 13 and Ghosts of Mars, incorporating similar siege setups but adding his own unique style.

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There’s one John Wayne Western that director John Carpenter adores so much, he remade it twice himself. During a 2011 chat with Rotten Tomatoes, Carpenter namechecked several movies he called his “emotional favorites,” meaning they were the films he fell in love with as a child and inspired his love of movies. Among this list was Forbidden Planet, X: The Unknown and The Thing from Another World; he eventually remade the latter as 1982’s The Thing. He also states he got into the movie business to make Westerns as he “Loved Westerns… Loved them. I mean, huge love.”

The tragedy is, that by the time Carpenter entered the movie business during the ’70s, the Western genre was all but dead. That’s why so many John Carpenter movies – including Escape From New York and Vampires – are Westerns in disguise. In the aforementioned interview, he also declares his love for director Howard Hawks, who he believes is the only filmmaker to make a great film in every genre. Hawks also collaborated with Western movie icon John Wayne many times.

A composite image of John Wayne in various John Ford movies

John Carpenter Remade John Wayne’s Rio Bravo With 2 Different Movies
Assault on Precinct 13 and Ghosts of Mars remixed Rio Bravo into different genres
Carpenter has cited Wayne’s Rio Bravo as a personal favorite, telling Rotten Tomatoes “Oh, I’ve watched it too many times.” This 1959 Western cast Wayne as a sheriff tasked with holding onto a dangerous prisoner in a small town jail, with a gang of killers circling to break him out. Both Carpenter and Quentin Tarantino adore Rio Bravo, with the latter even once claiming to have shown the movie to prospective girlfriends; if they didn’t like it, he would break off the romance.
It’s possible to see many of the themes Carpenter would bring to his later work in Wayne’s film, including outsiders having to work together against a largely faceless threat. Carpenter would essentially remake Rio Bravo’s siege setup with Assault on Precinct 13 and Ghosts of Mars. The former was released in 1976 and was Carpenter’s second film. This sees a cop and a criminal having to defend an isolated L.A. precinct from a street gang, and there are plenty of Hawkian’s homages throughout, including an overt life from the “dripping blood” scene.

Rio Bravo is currently streaming on FuboTV

Carpenter also edited Assault on Precinct 13 using the pseudonym “John T. Chance,” which is the name of Wayne’s Rio Bravo character. He later remixed the film again with his 2001 sci-fi actioner Ghosts of Mars, where a cop (Natasha Henstridge) and criminal (Ice Cube) have to defend a police station on Mars from miners possessed by alien spirits. In a sense, Ghosts of Mars combines themes from much of Carpenter’s own filmography, including The Thing, though Ghosts is often cited as one of Carpenter’s weaker outings. Ghosts of Mars was Jason Statham’s first action movie too.

Why John Carpenter Loves Rio Bravo So Much
Rio Bravo is Carpenter’s favorite movie

john carpenter dean martin ricky nelson in rio bravo 1959

There’s also an unofficial Rio Bravo trilogy too, since Hawks and Wayne remade their own movie twice. They first reteamed for 1966’s El Dorado, where Wayne works with Robert Mitchum’s drunken sheriff to take on an evil rancher, while Hawks’ last film Rio Lobo was another loose remake. Carpenter has admitted to taking pieces from the latter two films, with the final scene in Ghosts of Mars with the two gun-totting heroes mirroring El Dorado’s ending. Of course, Rio Bravo is Carpenter’s favorite of the three, and over the years he’s given many interviews and even provided an audio commentary for it.
There’s not much about the Wayne Western the filmmaker doesn’t seem to like. He loves the group dynamic between Wayne and his drunken deputy (Dean Martin), he loves the music, the banter, the bizarre singing scene and much more. Carpenter related to the siege element of the story too, and has spoken about feeling “under siege” in the town he grew up in, as he felt out of place there. The siege motif is present in nearly all of Carpenter’s work, including Prince of Darkness.

John Wayne And John Carpenter Almost Made Their Own Western Together
They nearly teamed up for Western drama Blood River

john-wayne-rio-bravo-assault-on-precinct-13-john-carpenter

While the genre was waning in the ’70s, Carpenter still tried to mount his own Westerns, which included penning an epic adventure dubbed El Diablo. He also wrote a screenplay called Blood River, where a young gunfighter would be mentored by an old trapper. Wayne became interested in the latter role and Carpenter developed Blood River for him, but the actor’s ill health during this time killed the project. Wayne’s last film would be 1976’s The Shootist, with the star passing away three years later. Blood River itself became a TV movie starring Wilford Brimley in 1991.
Assault on Precinct 13 and Ghosts of Mars might riff on Rio Bravo, but Carpenter still brings his own personality to them. They pay due respect to Hawks and John Wayne’s adventure, but neither film is a xerox of Rio Bravo either. They have a lot more action and scenes of horror, while Carpenter’s characters are more pessimistic and hard-boiled – though they learn they can only survive by working with others, another recurring element from Hawks’ output.

Clint Eastwood

The actor Sergio Leone wanted instead of Clint Eastwood for ‘A Fistful of Dollars’

Hollywood’s most decorated living legend, Clint Eastwood, broke through in the late 1950s and ‘60s as one of many western stars riding the genre’s concurrent wave of popularity. Having established a tough, squinting outlaw image in the foundational TV series Rawhide and mastering it in Sergio Leone’s legendary Dollars Trilogy, the handsome gunslinger consolidated his status as the iconic anti-hero cop Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry franchise.
Throughout his six-decade stint under the Hollywood limelight, Eastwood expanded his skillset to become a leading producer and director, earning four Academy Awards and four Golden Globes for his duties behind the camera. Remarkably, Eastwood is still active today at 93 years of age and is currently working on his final movie, Juror #2.
However, the nonagenarian may not sit atop such a humbling mountain of success as an actor and filmmaker if Leone hadn’t given him his big movie break in the 1960s. The Dollars Trilogy finished most memorably with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in 1966 but set off with A Fistful of Dollars two years before.
Although joining the cast would turn out to be one of the most important steps in Eastwood’s career, he wasn’t enthusiastic about the project at first. “I was doing Rawhide, and I was coming to a hiatus,” Eastwood once recalled in a BBC documentary. “I took three months off, usually around February, March and April every year, and my agent in Los Angeles called me up and asked me if I’d like to go to Europe and make an Italian, German, Spanish co-production of a remake of a Japanese film [Yojimbo] in the plains of Spain.”
“I said, ‘Not particularly,’” Eastwood recalled with a smile.
Another hurdle to Eastwood’s unseen future was the fact that Leone didn’t really want Eastwood for the role initially. “I really wanted James Coburn, but he was too expensive,” Leone told the BBC. “The Italian cinema is very poor. We got Clint for $15,000, Coburn wanted $25,000.”
Continuing, the Italian director explained why he was initially wary of Eastwood’s style. “I didn’t see any character in Rawhide, only a physical figure,” he said. “What struck me most about Clint was his indolent way of moving; it seemed to me Clint closely resembled a cat.”
Eastwood recalled becoming more intrigued by the project after reading the uniquely constructed script. “The script was in English, very strange English because it had been written by an Italian group of people who didn’t speak English that well – especially English with what you’d call the western kind of slang,” he explained. “It was like an Italian concert of what a western slang would be.”
“So, a lot of the dialogue was a little bit on the shaky side,” Eastwood continued. “I liked it, though, and I felt that maybe a European approach would give the western new flavour because I thought it had been in a very stagnant period at that point.”
Ultimately, Leone settled for Eastwood, and Eastwood settled for $15,000 from a total movie budget of approximately $200,000. Although the movie was released in mainland Europe in 1964, it wouldn’t receive its theatrical debut in the US until 1967. Taking $19.9 million at the box office, the movie was a monumental commercial and critical success as the progenitor of the spaghetti western genre.
Watch the trailer for the A Fistful of Dollars 4K restoration below.

 
 

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Clint Eastwood

“I don’t like it when it’s dumb”: Yellowstone Star Kevin Costner Revealed He Hates Western Genre Despite Sharing Clint Eastwood’s Rare Record In Hollywood

Taking a look at the rear-view mirror in the journey of Hollywood, everyone remembers the good old days when Western films dominated not just the US, but the entire world. And leading that charge was the legendary Clint Eastwood, along with stars like Kevin Costner following close behind. To this day, the effect of those classic pieces of cinema can be felt.
Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner
In fact, when we take a look at Costner’s career in the industry, many will realize that it was the 1985 Western classic Silverado that brought him to the spotlight. In the later stage of his career, he won two Academy Awards for his film Dances with Wolves, something that Eastwood has also managed to achieve. But despite leaving an everlasting impression, it seems like he doesn’t love the genre for being dumb.
Kevin Costner Reveals That He Doesn’t Love The Western Genre Because It’s Dumb
Kevin Costner in a still from Dances with Wolves Kevin Costner in a still from Dances with Wolves
While he may have been forgotten for a while in the changing landscape of Hollywood, the fans of the classic Western genre of films will never forget the impact Kevin Costner made with his films in the category. Going toe-to-toe in this genre with the face of old-school Western films Clint Eastwood himself, the actor and director has proved why he’s a genius in this department.
But despite achieving the extremely rare accolade of directing one of the only four Western films to receive the Oscars, also including Unforgiven by the Dirty Harry star, Costner reveals that this genre may not be his favorite.
In a past interview with Good Morning America, the former Yellowstone star talked about how he was not a big fan of the Western genre, the reason being that most of the films produced in it are dumb and illogical. He says that there’s too much of a straight divide between good and bad without any substantial form of moral complexity.
On top of that, he calls out the genre for being somewhat illiterate but has the potential to become so much more than just an illustrious piece of history. He said:
“[western] have to be literate. It’s too much black hat, white hat…I won’t tolerate bad language, meaning literacy of a western on TV or in film. I hate it. I don’t like it when it’s dumb because there’s such great opportunity because the architecture of a western should be to actually frighten you sitting in the dark, watching something. ‘That could have just happened to me. And I don’t know what I would’ve done’”
Thus, his new and unique outlook on the filmmaking of a Western film is what drives him to only make the best that the genre has ever seen.
What Was Dances With Wolves About?
A still from Dances with Wolves A still from Dances with Wolves
Widely considered to be one of the best films in the history of this genre, recognized by being awarded two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director for Costner, Dances with Wolves may be Western filmmaking done right.
The film tells the tale of Civil War soldier Lieutenant John J. Dunbar, a man who is posted at Fort Hays, where he meets and develops a relationship with the native Lakota Indian tribe. Mesmerized by their lifestyle and simple outlook on the world, he soon finds himself being welcomed into their clan. But when Union Army soldiers come to their land with the agenda of uprooting the tribe, Dunbar has to choose a side.
Dances with Wolves, streaming on Prime Video.

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Clint Eastwood

“He was too expensive”: Clint Eastwood Starred in ‘Dollars Trilogy’ After Director Couldn’t Afford Another Oscar Winning Actor With $15000 Salary

In today’s day and age, Clint Eastwood’s name is one that echoes with terms such as legendary and brilliant. His ability to be expressive as an actor without having to say too many dialogues was one admired by many. Not only his skills as an actor, but being a talented director helped build his reputation in the best way possible.
Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
During his days as an actor, there were many films offered to him. Some he let go of, others he grabbed as soon as he could. One of his most iconic works is the Dollars Trilogy with director Sergio Leone. Despite the massive amount of fame that he got from it, there was an unfortunate yet slight chance that Eastwood would have lost out on the role because Leone wanted another actor altogether.
Sergio Leone’s Initial Choice for His Trilogy was not Clint Eastwood
One of Clint Eastwood’s biggest movie trilogies, the Dollars trilogy was something that came along his career, giving him a boost the actor never knew he needed. The year 1964 saw a rise in his fame from then on. However, as per BBC (via Farout Magazine), Eastwood was not Sergio Leone’s first choice for the film.
James Coburn
“I really wanted James Coburn, but he was too expensive,” Leone stated. “The Italian cinema is very poor. We got Clint for $15,000, Coburn wanted $25,000.”
The director revealed that because of the budgetary limitations that they had, there was no way possible for him to get James Coburn for the role. The actor wanted $10,000 more than what Eastwood had settled on, making it an absolutely impossible choice for them to hire Coburn. He elaborated on how being in the Italian cinema at that time did not give him flexibility with the budget. Due to this, Eastwood became his ideal choice and that in turn benefitted his career.
Clint Eastwood Almost did not Join Sergio Leone
Clint Eastwood’s career has been a rising climb for decades now. One of the reasons for this is his credible fame because of the Dollars trilogy. However, there was a slight chance that the actor would have given up on the role. According to a BBC documentary (via Farout Magazine), the actor was hesitant about saying yes.
Clint EastwoodClint Eastwood
 “I was doing Rawhide, and I was coming to a hiatus,” Eastwood remembered. “I took three months off, usually around February, March and April every year, and my agent in Los Angeles called me up and asked me if I’d like to go to Europe and make an Italian, German, Spanish co-production of a remake of a Japanese film [Yojimbo] in the plains of Spain.”
The actor/director stated that he was asked to make a film in a rather peculiar setting right after he was coming back from a three-month-long break. His reply to the same had been a rejection. In the end, he warmed up to the idea.

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