This is considered Howard Hawks' "most personal film" and also his "most influential". This brief look at the film's development more than adequately covers why it is both and why John Carpenter says of all the great Westerns, this one "has everything".
What is interesting to me is that before making this film, Hawks looked at television and saw that the appeal of TV was the characters or actors, not the plot. And this is absolutely true -- although television has become more long-form, it used to be a very character-driven 30 minutes each week. Could this be translated to a movie?
I also like how the film was a response to "High Noon", which Hawks felt violated an ethical principle by having non-gunfighters be recruited to defend the town. What is the political message -- collectivism versus individualism? Taking responsibility for yourself and doing your job? Hard to say.
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