“Rio Bravo” and the Communitas Felix

Rio Bravo (1959)

Rio Bravo (1959) Courtesy of www.moviescreenshots.blogspot.com

“Rio Bravo” (1959) is one of my favorite movies. The cast—John Wayne, Dean Martin, Walter Brennan, Angie Dickinson, Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez and Rickie Nelson–is as unusual and fun as the ragtag bunch of misfits they play, united to contain a lawless power they seem to be no match for. The flawed characters, the good ones and the bad ones, are what drive this story, not ideology, as in the sanctimoniously rigid “High Noon.”

I watched “Rio Bravo” last night, and though I’ve seen it a dozen times across the years, I still found myself cringing and recoiling, laughing and singing and cheering along with the action as it unwound in its now-familiar way. And then I realized something: my novel, Ike Duckworth and the Alienation of Casa Hector, has a similar collection of misfits banding together to weather the slings and arrows of outrageous corporate life. Of course, as my tale is a bit of a lampoon, it’s not as strictly logical as a Western needs to be, but I’m still happy to discover in it a parallel to a favorite story-telling trope.

Communitas Felix indeed!

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