I'm pretty sure I spoiled any potential appeal of John Wayne by watching most of Eastwood's westerns already. From what little I've seen there's no charisma whatsoever, surprising for such an icon. The singing scene was great though.
I'm not a big fan of westerns from this period, but I find this one pretty enjoyable. To me, a cast of John Wayne, Dean Martin & Ricky Nelson is not cause for optimism but Hawks makes it all work -- Wayne's performance seems more relaxed and his character more credible than usual; Nelson turns a rather wooden performance into a real asset, and even the Martin/Nelson vanity musical interlude is a high point.
Just a great film in pretty much every respect. Everything just works- the dialogue, the music, and especially the tension that surrounds the plot and the sexual tension that comes from the acting and dialogue. The only thing that keeps this from possibly being the definitive Western is the lack of epic outdoor photography, but the claustrophobic indoor scenes work just as well.
Even though he still had 20 years' worth of consummations left in his career, this should be seen as the ultimate self-reflexive Wayne - stodgy, weatherbeaten and sad-eyed, but still tough as hell when he needs to be. Bonus points for gay antics with Walter Brennan.
This is not exactly the West, but Illyria, or paradise. Time is there for the Dude to make his slow recovery from booze, for Colorado to act cool, for Feathers to talk John T. Chance into the ground, and so that Stumpy can grow old. So, it is 1959 and that dazzling moment when you can see Hollywood breaking up like old concrete, with beautiful new flowers creeping through the cracks. And this is Howard Hawks's last great film. Of course, Hawks's trick is to make it look easy, too.
This was a very family-friendly kind of western. There are a few shootouts, but maybe 3 people get shot in the entire movie, with barely a drop of blood to be seen. But it's definitely more about the story than the spectacle, and it does get that element right, even if it's carried out in a very reserved way.