Rio Lobo (1970)

G | 114 mins | Western | 16 December 1970

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HISTORY

Rio Lobo was the last theatrically released feature film made by producer-director Howard Hawks before his death in 1977. The project was announced in a 23 Apr 1969 Var brief, which stated that John Wayne would star and co-produce through his Batjac Productions. As noted in a 24 May 1970 LAT article, the film marked Howard Hawks’s fifth collaboration with John Wayne, after Red River (1948, see entry), Rio Bravo (1959, see entry), Hatari! (1962, see entry), and El Dorado (1967, see entry).
       The 14 Oct 1969 DV reported that filming would start in Feb 1970 at Churubusco Studios in Mexico City, Mexico. Production was slightly delayed, and the 17 Feb 1970 DV noted that principal photography was now set to begin in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on 16 Mar 1970. The budget was estimated to be between $4 and $5 million in items in the 26 Nov 1969 and 2 Jun 1970 DV.
       The picture was briefly re-titled San Timoteo by Cinema Center Films, as stated in the 6 Mar 1970 DV. Ten days later, the 16 Mar 1970 DV referred to the project as Rio Lobo when announcing the casting of Chris Mitchum, and confirming the start of production that day. In an interview in the 24 May 1970 LAT, Hawks claimed that Cinema Center had initially rejected Mitchum and had insisted on casting someone else. When he received the news, Hawks was on location preparing for the shoot. Disapproving of the actor Cinema Center had chosen, ... More Less

Rio Lobo was the last theatrically released feature film made by producer-director Howard Hawks before his death in 1977. The project was announced in a 23 Apr 1969 Var brief, which stated that John Wayne would star and co-produce through his Batjac Productions. As noted in a 24 May 1970 LAT article, the film marked Howard Hawks’s fifth collaboration with John Wayne, after Red River (1948, see entry), Rio Bravo (1959, see entry), Hatari! (1962, see entry), and El Dorado (1967, see entry).
       The 14 Oct 1969 DV reported that filming would start in Feb 1970 at Churubusco Studios in Mexico City, Mexico. Production was slightly delayed, and the 17 Feb 1970 DV noted that principal photography was now set to begin in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on 16 Mar 1970. The budget was estimated to be between $4 and $5 million in items in the 26 Nov 1969 and 2 Jun 1970 DV.
       The picture was briefly re-titled San Timoteo by Cinema Center Films, as stated in the 6 Mar 1970 DV. Ten days later, the 16 Mar 1970 DV referred to the project as Rio Lobo when announcing the casting of Chris Mitchum, and confirming the start of production that day. In an interview in the 24 May 1970 LAT, Hawks claimed that Cinema Center had initially rejected Mitchum and had insisted on casting someone else. When he received the news, Hawks was on location preparing for the shoot. Disapproving of the actor Cinema Center had chosen, he threatened to shut down production unless they cast Mitchum. The 27 Mar 1970 DV stated that Hawks had originally wanted Robert Mitchum, who was Chris Mitchum’s father and Wayne’s former co-star in El Dorado, to play “Capt. Pierre Cordona,” but his salary demands proved to be too high.
       After only one day of filming, John Wayne’s mother, Mary A. Preen, died “following an operation and a long illness,” according to her 19 Mar 1970 DV obituary. Wayne took a short leave to attend her funeral in Long Beach, CA. He also left the set in early Apr 1970 to attend the 42nd Annual Academy Awards, where he won Best Actor for the role of “Rooster Cogburn” in True Grit (1969, see entry). Soon after, an item in the 23 Apr 1970 DV reported that Wayne would receive another honor, the Golden Saddleman Award of the Western Writers of America, at a ceremony in North Platte, NE, on 18 Jun 1970. The award was said to acknowledge Wayne as “the man who has contributed most to the history and legend of the west.”
       While shooting was underway in Cuernavaca, an accident took place on 26 Mar 1970, during the filming of a railroad scene which Hawks was directing from the back of a speeding train. The 27 Mar 1970 DV noted that an engineer had had to stop abruptly to avoid an automobile crossing the railroad tracks, at which point Hawks was thrown against the camera platform, suffering a deep gash in his leg that required stitches. The director was treated at nearby Social Security Hospital.
       Mexico filming infused the local economy with $1.3 million, as stated in the 27 Mar 1970 DV, and was completed by 31 Mar 1970, when cast and crew moved to Old Tucson Studios, “a complex of film sound stages and outdoor shooting sets 11 miles north of Tucson,” the 14 Apr 1970 DV noted. A news brief in the 30 Apr 1970 DV pointed out that Wayne owned stock in Old Tucson, as well as Rolly Harper Catering, which was used on set. Twenty-five days of filming in Tucson were set to be followed by six days of shooting in Nogales, AZ, and, finally, twenty-two days in Los Angeles, CA. Producer-director Michael Winner, who was filming his western, Lawman (1971, see entry), around the same time, claimed in a 28 Jun 1970 LAT interview that he had fought Hawks over the use of Western sets in Durango, Mexico, which resulted in Hawks using Old Tucson, instead. A 2 Jun 1970 DV item stated that filming would conclude on schedule, on 8 Jun 1970. Re-shoots involving Wayne and Jorge Rivero took place in Tucson on 28 and 29 Aug 1970, the 31 Aug 1970 DV reported.
       A preview screening was set to mark the opening of National General Pictures Corporation’s new South Coast Plaza Theatre in Costa Mesa, CA, on 10 Nov 1970, according to the 8 Nov 1970 LAT. The event was organized as a fundraiser for an “American heritage seminar” for U.S. teachers. A later notice in the 23 Nov 1970 LAT stated that the screening had been moved to 24 Nov 1970. On the same night, another benefit screening was scheduled to take place at the Loyola Theatre in Los Angeles, with proceeds going to the Westchester Mental Health Clinic. The film opened in Los Angeles the following month, on 30 Dec 1970. Critical reception was mixed. By 3 May 1972, the picture had grossed only $954,401, according to that day’s Var.
       Actor and journalist George Plimpton, who played the small role of “Whitey’s henchman,” was featured in a sixty-minute television special titled Plimpton! Shoot Out at Rio Lobo, which was part of a series in which Plimpton tried out various vocations. The program was set to be one of two produced by David L. Wolper Productions and sponsored by DuPont for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). It aired on 9 Dec 1970, as noted in that day’s LAT, and the 23 Dec 1970 Var review described it as “basically ‘behind the scenes’ material” that incorporated clips of other Hawks films, footage from Wayne’s early pictures, and some “bloopers” involving actors and stuntmen Dean Smith, Mike Henry, and Danny Sands.
       According to the 11 May 1970 DV, theater actor Milton Rheubottom was supposed to make his feature film debut in Rio Lobo, under the stage name “Clinton Roberts.” The picture marked the theatrical motion picture debut of Peter Jason. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Oct 1969
p. 6.
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1969
p. 10.
Daily Variety
17 Feb 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Mar 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
16 Mar 1970
p. 10.
Daily Variety
18 Mar 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
19 Mar 1970
p. 24.
Daily Variety
25 Mar 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1970
p. 6.
Daily Variety
31 Mar 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Apr 1970
p. 1, 12.
Daily Variety
23 Apr 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
30 Apr 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
11 May 1970.
---
Daily Variety
2 Jun 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
31 Aug 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 Oct 1970
p. 6.
Daily Variety
27 Nov 1970
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
30 Apr 1970
Section G, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
24 May 1970
Section S, p. 1, 46.
Los Angeles Times
21 Jun 1970
Section Q, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
28 Jun 1970
Section P, p. 26.
Los Angeles Times
8 Nov 1970
Section K, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
15 Nov 1970
Section CS, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
23 Nov 1970
Section E, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
9 Dec 1970.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Dec 1970
Section I, p. 1, 9.
Los Angeles Times
30 Dec 1970
Section I, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
27 Dec 1977
Section A, p. 1.
New York Times
7 Feb 1971
Section D, p. 1, 36.
New York Times
11 Feb 1971
p. 55.
Variety
23 Apr 1969
p. 28.
Variety
23 Dec 1970
p. 24.
Variety
23 Dec 1970
p. 32.
Variety
3 May 1972
p. 32.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Howard Hawks Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2nd unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's cost
MUSIC
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Music ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Exteriors coordinator
Tech adv for train seq
Prop master
Gaffer
Key grip
Constr coordinator
Main titles
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
San Timoteo
Release Date:
16 December 1970
Premiere Information:
Chicago opening: 16 December 1970
Los Angeles opening: 30 December 1970
New York opening: 11 February 1971
Production Date:
16 March--8 June 1970
re-shoots late August 1970
Copyright Claimant:
Malabar Productions
Copyright Date:
6 November 1970
Copyright Number:
LP39047
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
114
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22689
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As the Civil War nears its end, a band of Confederate guerrillas led by Capt. Pierre Cordona and his scout, Tuscarora, steal a shipment of gold from a Union train. Although they also capture Union Col. Cord McNally, he eventually outwits them and retrieves the gold. When the war ends and the men meet again, McNally asks Cordona for the names of the traitors who informed the Confederates of the gold shipments, but Cordona replies that he never knew their names. Shortly thereafter, McNally rides into a Texas town and aids Shasta, a young woman whose medicine show partner has been murdered by a sheriff's deputy from nearby Rio Lobo. Cordona is also in town, and he tells McNally that the Union traitors have taken over Rio Lobo. Accompanied by Shasta, the two former enemies ride into Rio Lobo and learn that Deputy Ketcham and Sheriff Hendricks have confiscated land from the people, with the exception of old man Phillips, Tuscarora's grandfather. To force the issue, Hendricks arrests Tuscarora on trumped-up charges and throws him in jail, but McNally, Cordona, and Phillips take Ketcham hostage, force him to sign back the stolen land, and make him order Hendricks to release Tuscarora. They then barricade themselves inside the jail while Cordona goes to the nearest Army post for help. He is captured, however, by Hendricks' men and brought back to Rio Lobo; Hendricks then demands that Ketcham be exchanged for Cordona. Forced to comply, McNally releases his hostage but informs Hendricks that his partner signed back all the stolen land. Enraged, Hendricks shoots Ketcham and starts a massive gunfight. Hendricks is killed by his former mistress, and McNally's forces emerge ... +


As the Civil War nears its end, a band of Confederate guerrillas led by Capt. Pierre Cordona and his scout, Tuscarora, steal a shipment of gold from a Union train. Although they also capture Union Col. Cord McNally, he eventually outwits them and retrieves the gold. When the war ends and the men meet again, McNally asks Cordona for the names of the traitors who informed the Confederates of the gold shipments, but Cordona replies that he never knew their names. Shortly thereafter, McNally rides into a Texas town and aids Shasta, a young woman whose medicine show partner has been murdered by a sheriff's deputy from nearby Rio Lobo. Cordona is also in town, and he tells McNally that the Union traitors have taken over Rio Lobo. Accompanied by Shasta, the two former enemies ride into Rio Lobo and learn that Deputy Ketcham and Sheriff Hendricks have confiscated land from the people, with the exception of old man Phillips, Tuscarora's grandfather. To force the issue, Hendricks arrests Tuscarora on trumped-up charges and throws him in jail, but McNally, Cordona, and Phillips take Ketcham hostage, force him to sign back the stolen land, and make him order Hendricks to release Tuscarora. They then barricade themselves inside the jail while Cordona goes to the nearest Army post for help. He is captured, however, by Hendricks' men and brought back to Rio Lobo; Hendricks then demands that Ketcham be exchanged for Cordona. Forced to comply, McNally releases his hostage but informs Hendricks that his partner signed back all the stolen land. Enraged, Hendricks shoots Ketcham and starts a massive gunfight. Hendricks is killed by his former mistress, and McNally's forces emerge victorious as the timid townspeople rally to defeat their common enemy. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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