AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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El Dorado
Director: Howard Hawks (Dir)
Release Date:   1967
Premiere Information:   Denver opening: 7 Jun 1967
Duration (in mins):   126
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Cast:   John Wayne (Cole Thornton)  
    Robert Mitchum (J. P. Harrah)  
    James Caan (Mississippi [Alan Bourdillon Traherne])  
    Charlene Holt (Maudie)  
    Arthur Hunnicutt (Bull Harris [Bull Thomas?])  
    Michele Carey (Joey MacDonald)  
    R. G. Armstrong (Kevin MacDonald)  
    Edward Asner (Bart Jason)  
    Paul Fix (Doc Miller)  
    Christopher George (Nelse McLeod)  
    Marina Ghane (Maria)  
    John Gabriel (Pedro)  
    Robert Rothwell (Saul MacDonald)  
    Robert Donner (Milt)  
    Adam Roarke (Matt MacDonald)  
    Chuck Courtney (Jared MacDonald)  
    Victoria George (Jared's wife)  
    Jim Davis (Jason's foreman)  
    Anne Newman (Saul's wife)  
    Diane Strom (Matt's wife)  
    Johnny Crawford (Luke MacDonald)  
    Olaf Wieghorst (Swedish gunsmith)  
    Anthony Rogers (Dr. Donovan)  
    Dean Smith (Charlie Hagan)  
    Chuck Roberson    

Summary: Gunfighter Cole Thornton rides into the frontier town of El Dorado and is reunited with J. P. Harrah, an old friend who is now the local sheriff. Thornton has been sent for by cattle baron Bart Jason, but he refuses to work for the man when J. P. informs him that his job will be to drive the MacDonald family off their land, which Jason needs for water. When Cole is ambushed while riding back from the Jason ranch, he wounds one of Kevin MacDonald's four sons, who shoots himself to escape the pain. Before Cole can explain the incident to MacDonald's hoydenish daughter, Joey, the young woman shoots him. The bullet lodges itself close to Cole's spine, and old "Doc" Miller feels unqualified to remove it and suggests he see a more equipped surgeon. Sometime later, at a cantina near the Mexican border, Cole strikes up a friendship with a young drifter named Mississippi. He also meets Jason's new hired gunman, Nelse McLeod, and learns that J. P. has been drunk ever since being jilted by a dancehall girl. Accompanied by Mississippi, Cole rides back to El Dorado and attempts to sober up J. P. with a liquid concoction laced with gunpowder. An effort to restore peace by jailing Jason and driving McLeod out of town is temporarily successful, but they return, capture Cole, and then trade him for Jason. As the inevitable showdown nears, Cole's right hand becomes partially paralyzed because of the bullet near his spine; and J. P. is forced to hobble around on crutches because of a leg wound. Aided by J. P.'s wizened arrow-shooting deputy, Bull Harris, and the fiery Joey, they manage to kill Jason, McLeod, and the entire gang. With peace restored, Mississippi decides to settle down with Joey; Cole resumes his longtime courtship of Maudie, El Dorado's saloon proprietress; and the now-sober J. P. basks in his renewed self respect. 

Production Company: Laurel Productions  
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures  
Director: Howard Hawks (Dir)
  Andrew J. Durkus (Asst dir)
  William R. Poole (Asst dir)
Producer: Howard Hawks (Pres)
  Howard Hawks (Prod)
  Paul Helmick (Assoc prod)
Writer: Leigh Brackett (Scr)
Photography: Harold Rosson (Cine)
Art Direction: Hal Pereira (Art dir)
  Carl Anderson (Art dir)
Film Editor: John Woodcock (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Ray Moyer (Set dec)
  Robert R. Benton (Set dec)
Costumes: Edith Head (Cost)
  Forrest T. Butler (Ward)
  Glenita Dineen (Ward)
Music: Nelson Riddle (Mus score & cond)
  The Mellomen (Accomp)
  Gil Grau (Orch)
Sound: John Carter (Sd)
  Charles Grenzbach (Sd)
Special Effects: Paul K. Lerpae (Spec photog eff)
  Farciot Edouart (Process photog)
  David Koehler (Spec eff)
Make Up: Wally Westmore (Makeup)
  Nellie Manley (Hairstyles)
Production Misc: John Coonan (Prod mgr)
  Charlsie Bryant (Scr supv)
  Rodd Redwing (Adv)
  Earl Olin (Prop)
  Olaf Wieghorst (Original title paintings)
Country: United States

Songs: "El Dorado," words and mysic by Nelson |a Riddle and John Gabriel.
Composer: John Gabriel
  Nelson Riddle
Source Text: Based on the novel The Stars in Their Courses by Harry Peter M'Nab Brown (New York, 1960).
Authors: Harry Peter M'Nab Brown

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Laurel Productions 31/12/1966 dd/mm/yyyy LP34528

Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd:

 
Genre: Western
 
Subjects (Major): Cattlemen
  Drunkenness
  Gunfighters
  Mexican-American border region
  Paralysis
  Physicians
  Ranchers
  Saloon keepers
  Sheriffs
  Suicide
  Water-rights

Note: Location scenes filmed in Arizona. 

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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