Some revisionist historians might have you believe that Hawks’ picture looked like a film out of its time at the time. In fact, it was a pretty big hit—the twelfth biggest picture of the year, according to [Hawks’ biographer Todd] McCarthy. And today, unmoored from any zeitgeist, it merely looks like one for the ages.
We were taught El Dorado at school (Little Ilford Comprehensive, Film Studies and Photography Dept), largely I think because Hawks was the prototypical auteur but also because we had an anamorphic 16mm print of El Dorado that we could watch over and over again. At the time it was considered (and we were told) that El Dorado was a weak, colour imitation of Rio Bravo so it’s nice to see it get its due.
Here’s a 10 minute clip:
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